Lost: The Complete and Final Season – Blu-ray review

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click to purchase

With the LOST television series now only a fond memory, ABC has assembled all sixteen episodes of Season Six into nice five-disc Blu-ray set that offers lovely widescreen transfers, with the usual options for sound (5.1 stereo, 2.0 stereo) and subtitles (English, English for the hearing impaired, etc). With its lush location shooting and elaborate production values, each episode feels like a mini-movie – an experienced enhanced by the Blu-ray medium.
For such a final farewell, the bonus material is a bit thin; fortunately, what’s here is very good. Most of the interesting features are on the final disc, with Discs 1 through 4 featuring one audio commentary each, for the episodes “LAX,” “Dr. Linus,” “Ab Aerterno,” and “Across the Sea,” respectively. Each commentary comes with a warning that the participants discuss plot spoilers for future episodes; viewers are recommended to watch the series first, then go back and listen to the commentaries.
One eccentricity of the Blu-ray discs is that clicking on “Features” or “Set Up” does not take you to a new menu. Instead, the options appear in a horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen, requiring you to use the arrows on your remote to scroll through the choices. There is a welcome simplicity to this approach (you do not have to wait for a new set of dizzying computer graphics to load each time you click), but it is not always obvious which buttons you need to press to navigate through the options, especially when the screen becomes cluttered with the spoiler alert for the audio commentaries.
Disc 1 (which, inevitably, begins with promos for ABC shows on DVD) does include one other, absolutely essential bonus feature: the hilarious montage “LOST in 8:15 – A Crash Course,” which sums up all you need to know before watching the sixth season episodes. With its dead-pan narration (“Wow,” says the female voice, without inflection, while revealing some new plot twist), “A Crash Course” serves equally well as a recapitulation for the fan, an introduction for the uninitiated, and a dry parody of the series’ labyrinthine plotting.
LOST: New Man in Charge
LOST: New Man in Charge

Disc 5 contains the majority of the bonus material, including “New Man in Charge,” a new 12-minute LOST chapter, which offers a look at what Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and Ben (Michael Emerson) do as the new Island overseers. In the grand tradition of the SEINFELD box sets, LOST: THE COMPLETE AND FINAL SEASON offers a variety features that provide both an overview of the season and a closer examination of individual episodes.
Crafting the Final Season” is in the former category – a lengthy documentary about the pressure of paying off after five years of teasing viewers. Featuring interviews with the cast and crew, this feature is a bit self-congratulatory, but it is not a typical promotional puff piece; it plays much better as a retrospective look back at the final season, with the writers talking about recapitulating ideas from the first season and the actors joking about whose character will be killed off.
A Hero’s Journey“: Here, the staff of LOST go Joseph Cambell on us (by way of STAR WARS, of course). Interview snippets about turning the characters into heroes (even the unlikely, somewhat selfish ones) are intercut with printed quotes from Campbell’s work, describing the nature of the archetypal hero that appears in stories, times, and cultures from around the world.
See You in Another Life, Brotha” offers a look at the “flash sideways” into a parallel timeline that allowed the writers to explore the characters in a different context.
Lost on Location” provides a behind-the-scenes look at the technical challenges involved in specific episodes. Unlike the other bonus material, which focuses on the show’s themes and ambitions, these segments examine the nuts and bolts of getting the shows in the camera:

  • “LAX” examines construction of the indoor-outdoor temple set
  • “The Substitute” features stunts on a cliff overlooking the ocean
  • “Recon” is a fun look at filming cops-and-robbers scenes in the alternate timeline
  • “Ab Aeterno” depicts the trials and tribulations of filming in a claustrophobic set for the hold of a wooden ship, along with a live pig that refuses to perform on cue, necessitating a prop substitute.
  • “Happily Ever After” documents a tricky location stunt with a car plunging off a pier into a harbor, followed by on-set filming of the car underwater in a studio tank.
  • “The Candidate” offers more underwater filming, this time on a submarine set

Lost Bloopers” is a snappily edited montage that jumps around quickly to different bits and pieces – sometimes so fast that the blooper is not obviously apparent. Some funny stuff, nonetheless.
Deleted Scenes” includes nine sequences.
Lost University: Masters Program” is a BD Live-enabled feature that requires a broadband connection to your Blu-ray player in order to gain access to additional material delving into the minutia of LOST.
Overall, the bonus features are insightful and interesting. Despite the occasional air of pretension (understandable after six years of pop culture success and stardom), the featurettes and other material will appeal not only to hardcore fans but also to more general viewers who want to learn a little bit more about the LOST phenomenon. In short, you don’t have to be a dedicated insider to enjoy this Blu-ray set, and if you’re feeling that you missed the boat on some or all of the episodes, this is a great way to catch up.

Laserblast, August 24: Lost The Final Season & Lost The Complete Collection


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click to purchase THE FINAL SEASON on DVD

Tuesday, August 24 is a big day for horror, fantasy, and science fiction on home video, with numerous titles ranging from cult films to classics, from traditional horror to cannibalistic zombie mayhem, from television to theatres to direct-to-video. Of course, the titles  likely to make it onto most viewers’ lists of “what to have if lost on a desert island” are LOST: THE COMPLETE SIXTH AND FINAL SEASON and LOST: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION, both of which are available on DVD and Blu-ray.
With the LOST television series now only a fond memory, ABC has assembled all sixteen episodes of Season Six into nice five-disc set, available in either DVD or Blu-ray, that offers lovely widescreen transfers, 5.1 stereo sound, and some informative bonus features:

  • A new 12-minute LOST chapter called “New Man In Charge,” which offers a look at what Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and Ben (Michael Emerson) do as the new Island overseers
  • The End: Crafting A Final Season – Join the LOST team along with other producers of some of television’s longest running shows as they examine the challenges of ending a landmark series
  • A Hero’s Journey – What makes a hero? Which survivors of Oceanic 815 are true heroes? These questions and more are explored
  • See You In Another Life, Brotha – Unlock the mysteries of this season’s intriguing flash sideways
  • Bloopers
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Lost University: The Masters Program is a Blu-ray exclusive, BD Live-enabled feature that requires a broadband connection to your Blu-ray player.

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click to purchase LOST THE COMPLETE COLLECTION on Blu-ray

LOST: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION is a massive set (36-disc Blu-ray discs or 38-DVDs) that contains over 84 hours of material (5,074 minutes to be exact), including “New Man In Charge.” Other bonus features on the COMPLETE COLLECTION:

  • One full disc of never-before-seen content
  • Special edition collectible Senet game as seen in Season 6
  • Custom LOST island replica
  • Exclusive episode guide
  • Collectible ankh
  • Black light
  • Plus all episodes and 30+ hours of bonus from Seasons 1-6

As if that were not enough to keep rapacious fans of cinefantastique satsified, this week also sees the Blu-ray debut of TIME BANDITS, the wonderfully comic time-travel fantasy from director Terry Gilliam. Despite the Monty Pythonish humor, TIME BANDITS works as an elaborate fantasy film, filled with memorable images that deserve to be experienced with the clarity that Blu-ray can bring to the home video experience.
American fans of the classic approach to the horror genre may be interested in DORIAN GRAY, a 2009 adaptation of of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Starring Ben Barnes as Dorian, with Colin Firth as Lord Henry, the British film was released to theatres in its native land but never scored a stateside theatrical release. Writing for Cinefantastique Online, our own Deborah Louis Robinson called DORIAN GRAY a “well-directed” effort in the style of “old Hammer Horror films.” The film is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
George A. Romero’s SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD arrives on home video after a VOD debut and limited theatrical distribution earlier this year. The film is not up to par by the standards of Romero’s previous work (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD, DAY OF THE DEAD, LAND OF THE DEAD, DIARY OF THE DEAD), but fans may be interested in checking out the few new wrinkles he adds to his familiar cannibal zombies. The film is available in three forms: single-disc DVD, a two-disc “Ultimate Undead Edition” DVD, and Blu-ray.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the weird artsy animation experiment NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED also arrives on DVD this week. For this film, various animators were asked to recreate scenes from Romero’s 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, each in a different style. Worth checking out for curiosity if nothing else.
As for the rest:

  • Synergy offers two of their DVDTee discs, which consist of old movies packaged with T-shirts featuring recreations of original poster artwork. This week’s titles are KING OF THE ZOMBIES (1941) and ASSIGNMENT: OUTER SPACE (1960). The later was recently reviewed as part of Cinefantastique’s 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction Films of 1960.
  • Plus a handful of direct-to-video titles: HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (with Joe Mantegna), METAMORPHOSIS (with Christopher Lambert), THE HAUNTING OF SORORITY ROW, DEVIL’S DIARY, NINJA VS. ZOMBIES, and DIENER (GET IT?).