Disney has invested a lot of money in promoting their new, expansive, multiplatform video game experience, and now they're hoping devoted fans of the Mouse (and their parents) will respond in kind.
"Disney Infinity" hits stores Sunday, Aug. 18, on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and Wii U, and brings the company's iconic characters together in one game -- but getting access to all those characters isn't as simple as buying one piece of software.
Seemingly modeled after the popular "Skylanders" series, "Disney Infinity" is a collector's dream: If your child wants to drive around Radiator Springs as Lightning McQueen, the star of Pixar's "Cars," then he or she must own a "Disney Infinity" Lightning McQueen figurine that syncs to the game console. Figurines available at launch include characters from "Pirates of the Caribbean," "The Incredibles," "Monsters University," "Cars" and "The Lone Ranger." (Something tells me those Ranger and Tonto figures won't be flying off the shelves.)
The "Disney Infinity" starter pack comes with the software and three playable characters: Capt. Jack Sparrow, Mr. Incredible and Sulley the monster. That will cost you $74.99. Individual characters cost $12.99 to $13.99, bundled play sets cost $34.99 to $39.99, and a pack of Power Discs -- add-ons that give your characters more abilities in the video game -- costs $5.99.
No matter how you slice it, "Disney Infinity" is an expensive proposition. Will it be any fun? The potential is certainly there. The Toy Box mode lets you build and create your own games and settings, and would theoretically bring together all the worlds of Disney and Pixar. If you want to see who would win a battle of villainy between squid-faced Davy Jones and hero-wannabe Syndrome, or stage a Wild West shootout between The Lone Ranger and Sheriff Woody, "Infinity" can settle the score.
This rabid Disney fan is intrigued, but admittedly intimidated by the price. Show me an EPCOT Center play set (circa 1989) and characters from "TRON: Legacy," then we're talkin'.
It's not Disney, but ...
The generically titled animated epic "Epic" was a modest hit with audiences and critics this summer, and it comes to Blu-ray, DVD and VOD this coming Tuesday. Directed by Chris Wedge ("Ice Age"), this forest-bound adventure boasts a mostly encouraging voice cast: "SNL" castoff Jason Sudeikis, Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, Colin Farrell and Amanda Seyfried headline a list that also includes the varied talents (interpret that word as you will) of Beyoncé Knowles, Steven Tyler and Pitbull.
The "Epic" Blu-ray comes with kid-friendly features and activities, including a "Coloring and Storybook Builder" feature that lets you create a story using an Android or iOS device that can then be displayed on your television.
What about Mom and Dad?
I know, this column has been nothing but kids' stuff. So howzabout a notoriously depressing movie?
"Amour," which won last year's Oscar for best foreign language film and was nominated for best picture, is Austrian writer/director Michael Haneke's tale of two octogenarians who come to grips with their mortality after the wife, played by Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva, suffers a stroke.
The highly acclaimed film debuts Tuesday on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD.
Also available on home media Aug. 20: The latest seasons of "Boardwalk Empire," "The Good Wife," "NCIS," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "Parenthood" and "Revenge"; the De Niro/Travolta thriller "Killing Season"; and "Scary Movie 5." (Yes, those last two actually exist.)
• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald copy editor, a tireless consumer of pop culture and a hopeless nerd. He writes about television and digital entertainment every Friday.