Film Lover's Gift Guide
DVDs, Already Boxed
The 10 best boxed sets of 2010
If you’ve got a film lover in your life, then you might appreciate a little guidance on what to get them this holiday season. The year 2010 was a banner annum for hot DVD/Blu-ray packs. Whatever your cinephile loves, you’re sure to find something to suit his or her taste amid the following suggestions. And if you stumble across something that you might like to bug Santa for yourself, that’s OK too.
Avatar Three-Disc Extended Collector’s Edition ($34.98, 20th Century Fox ) Three discs and you still can’t watch it in 3D? Bummer! (The 3D Blu-ray version of Avatar is packaged exclusively with select Panasonic 3D TVs and is fetching upwards of $400 on eBay.) Oh well, fans of James Cameron’s Avatar will still be in heaven (or Pandora, as the case may be) with this set featuring the film’s original theatrical cut, the special-edition re-release and a new extended cut with even more blue people on dragons. There’s no extra ephemera packed in with the discs (No blue body paint? No hippie beads?), but there is more than three hours’ worth of bonus material and 45 minutes of deleted scenes.
Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years ($179.98, Warner Home Video) Clint Eastwood’s long association with Warner Brothers is celebrated with this testosterone-scented collection. It starts with 1968’s Where Eagles Dare and ends with Eastwood’s 2009 directing effort Invictus. In between are classics like Dirty Harry, Every Which Way But Loose, Pale Rider, Unforgiven, Space Cowboys and more. Bonus material includes a 2009 documentary titled The Eastwood Factor. What red-blooded American dad wouldn’t want to see this under the Christmas tree?
ESPN Films 30 for 30 Gift Set Collection, Vol. 1 ($74.95, TeamMarketing) For its 30th anniversary, ESPN commissioned 30 documentary films—just the sort of thing to make the sports fanatic on your list do a one-man stadium wave. Notable filmmakers from Barry Levinson to Peter Berg to Ice Cube (Sure, why not?) contribute deeply personal films on a range of athletic topics. Subjects include Muhammad Ali, Jimmy the Greek, Reggie Miller, the trial of Allen Iverson, the death of the USFL and more. And this 15-film set is just Volume 1!
Fox 75th Anniversary Collection ($499.98, 20th Century Fox) It’s 76 discs long and spans from 1933 (the Academy Award-winning film Cavalcade) to 2009 (Avatar, of course). In between, you get more box-office blockbusters than you can wave a remote at: Slumdog Millionaire, Juno, Die Hard, Independence Day, Big, Raising Arizona, Star Wars, The French Connection, Planet of the Apes, The King and I, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Grapes of Wrath. It comes with a book too, chronicling the legendary studio’s storied history.
“Golden Girls” 25th Anniversary Complete Collection ($149. 99, Buena Vista Home Entertainment) Your grandma loved this TV sitcom about four fun-loving seniors. Help her relive the laughs with this whopping 21-disc boxed set, appropriately housed inside a replica of Sophia’s (Estelle Getty) trademark wicker granny purse. There’s also a set of character-themed playing cards, perfect for some contract bridge around the retirement village.
“Lost”: The Complete Collection ($229.99, ABC Studios) This massive set allows viewers to relive all six years of the pop-culture-dominating series. Amid the 38 (!) discs, there are three hours of never-before-seen bonus material (including the post-series epilogue with Hurley and Ben). But it’s the non-video elements that rule here. You get a complete “senet” game (the one Jacob and the Man in Black play during the series). There’s also a map of the island, recovered Black Rock journal entries and an ankh containing a “secret message” from Jacob. And it all comes packed in a 3D pyramid thingie.
The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story, Deluxe Edition ( $119.98, Columbia) Any music lover worth his or her salt would die for this three-DVD / three-CD collection recounting the creation of Bruce Springsteen’s landmark 1975 album. Six hours of concert/documentary film, two hours of audio recordings and an 80-page notebook containing facsimiles of The Boss’ original notes make this an indispensable piece of music history. Not only does it contain a copy of Darkness on CD (digitally remastered for the first time), but it includes 21 never-before-released tracks from the recording sessions!
“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” The Complete Series ($79.98, Warner Home Video) You can argue all day over whether the original 41 episodes of “Scooby-Doo” were goofy or a hallmark of animated entertainment. But how can you not lust after a DVD boxed set that comes housed inside a scaled-down Mystery Machine? That’s just too groovy. Kids and adults will also enjoy bonus material like fashion featurettes, a mini-documentary about ultimate fans and a trivia challenge.
“Thundarr The Barbarian”: The Complete Series ($29.95, Warner Archive Collection) Warner Bros. has been releasing some of its more obscure titles as exclusive print-on-demand-type DVDs. These are only available online through WBshop.com. Among the lost treasures is this awesome, early-’80s animated series about a high-tech barbarian battling his way across postapocalyptic America. To hell with “Thundercats” or “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.” This is a major score for the nostalgia-minded nerd in your family.
Toy Story Trilogy ($100, Walt Disney Video) This 10-disc DVD / Blu-ray / digital copy combo comes housed in a replica stagecoach and includes a mind-boggling amount of behind-the-scenes extras (especially on the Blu-ray discs). Of course, we’d expect no less from the technical wizards at Pixar.