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DVD Shopping Bag: Top 5 and Worst 4 Blu-rays of 2010
By Robert T. Trate
December 28, 2010
Space 1999 Season 1 now on Blu-ray
© Bob Trate
The time has come to launch our end of the year lists. This year the DVD Shopping Bag is giving you its Top 5 and 4 Worst Blu-rays. Now of course we didn’t have the chance to review every single Blu-ray that was released this year. There were several Blu-rays we never even got our hands on, The Special Edition of Avatar and the brief case edition of Inception. Here is the best and worst that went into and out of the DVD Shopping Bag.
Top 5 Blu-rays of the Year
5. Space 1999
This classic science fiction series, starring Martin Landau, has been beautifully restored. To watch the first season on Blu-ray makes Star Trek the Next Generation look like the original Trek series. Every detail comes to life and despite the cheap special effects there is a realism to this series. Usually Blu-ray highlights the flaws of old special effects, here it does the complete opposite. Miniatures are clearly the way to go; a fact that Duncan Jones proved recently in his new sci-fi classic Moon. The only down side to this series is waiting for season 2.
4. Wolfman Unrated Director’s Cut
The hype for this movie, initially, was great. Then the film got delayed and pushed back. Those of us that went and saw it had to stomach the end result. A laughable mess is being kind, but it did not bode well for Joe Johnston and his Captain America. We took a shot on the Wolfman on Blu-ray for one reason: Director’s Cut (see review). The difference actually made us angry. Gone was the chance for a sequel or a franchise. Gone too was the chance to re-launch the Universal Horror franchise. A nice added bonus is the theatrical cut; a reassurance of just what a studio can do to screw up a great film.
3. The Exorcist
Normally older films get a half assed Blu-ray release. Warner has been raising the bar and this year they did it with The Exorcist. Here is a beautiful restoration to one of the great horror films of all time (see review). Each release is included in this version as well an incredible documentary. Watch as home movies from the set bring you closer to the making of this film than ever before. A perfect Blu-ray if ever there was one.
2. Toy Story Trilogy
Toy Story 1 and 2 were released in anticipation of the new film earlier in the year. (review of 1 and 2) Both films finally got the royal treatment of Blu-ray. The beauty of Blu-ray illustrated the painstaking details in which Pixar strived to bring these toys to life. The special features, both new and old, brought you into the magic in which these creators weave. Toy Story 3 (review of 3) rounded out this trilogy and gave us all what we wanted, yet another perfect film featuring our heroes Buzz and Woody.
1.Twilight Zone Season 1 and 2
This is a one -two punch for the greatest science fiction anthology series ever. Season 1 delivered us new special features, commentaries, isolated scores, and unreleased pilots (see review). Season 2 delivered the exact same thing while making it incredibly hard not to pick it up at a time of year when we should be spending our money on others (see review). Image Entertainment raised the bar on how TV series of this stature should be treated. Making them easily the best Blu-rays of the year.
Worst Blu-rays of the Year
4. Time Bandits
As good as Image Entertainment treated The Twilight Zone on Blu-ray, they dropped the ball on Terry Gilliam’s classic (see review). Criterion Collection had already made the definitive edition and this was Image’s one chance to out class them. They failed miserably with little to no special features and a transfer that was embarrassing.
3. Evil Dead
Here is a movie that many of us saw two or three times over. Now, we had the chance to own it on Blu-ray for the first time. The only new special feature is a boring commentary by Sam, Rob and Bruce that couldn’t even hold our attention (see review). Why not revitalize this film with a new commentary by the other co-stars in the film. In a film in which we all know the story so well, it would have been refreshing to hear someone else’s take on what went down at that cabin in the woods.
All right. This is not a knock on the film. We just found the original release to be a half assed release (see review). At one point, we even tried to stop someone from buying it at Best Buy. The argument being that another release was due in theaters and yet another edition would be released before the holidays. There wasn’t even a trailer for the extended version or the theatrical edition on this Blu-ray. What a huge waste.
1. The Lord of the Rings
They were not the extended editions. Let us say that again: they were not the extended editions. What was the point to put out the theatrical version on Blu-ray? After all, anyone with a Blu-ray player, at this point, is a die-hard movie fanatic who would want the extended editions. The transfer wasn’t even all that good as the line between reality and film was now easily visible (see review). I guess we have to wait for The Hobbit to get what we really want.
Top 3 Picks of the Week:
1. The American [Blu-ray]
2. Surf Nazis Must Die [Blu-ray]
3. Battlestar Galactica: Razor [Blu-ray]
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
The American Starring George Clooney, Thekla Reuten, Violante Placido
The American [Blu-ray]
And Soon the Darkness Starring Amber Heard, Odette Yustman, Karl Urban, and Gia Mantegna
And Soon the Darkness [Blu-ray]
Billy the Kid Double Feature Starring Buster Crabbe
Boy Next Door Starring Cory Monteith, Dina Meyer, and Crystal Lowe
Colorado Kid Starring Bob Steele
Cowboy G-Men 3 Starring Jackie Coogan and Russell Hayden
Derailed [Blu-ray] Starring Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel
Hamraaz Starring Sunil Dutt and Raaj Kumar
Haunting of Amelia Starring Chad Lindberg, Brendan Fehr, Tania Raymonde
Legacy Starring Idris Elba, Eamonn Walker, Richard Brake, and Mem Ferda
Legendary Assassin Starring Jacky Wu, Celina Jade, Kara Hui, and Zhan-Wen Keu
Pecos Kid Starring Fred Kohler
Range Busters: Underground Rustlers Starring Ray Corrigan
Surf Nazis Must Die [Blu-ray] Starring Robert Harden, Barry Brenner, Michael Sonye, and Joel Hile
Tex Ritter Collection 1 Starring Tex Ritter
Twelve Starring Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin
Wanted [Blu-ray] Starring Salman Khan, Prakash Raj, Vinon Khanna, and Inder Kumar
Baccano: The Complete Series (Viridian Collection) Starring J. Michael Tatum, Caitlin Glass, and Ian Sinclair
Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies Movie #1 Starring Saffron Henderson, Alec Willows, and Lalainia Lindbjerg
Dragonaut: The Resonance- The Complete Series Starring Colleen Clinkenbeard, Justin Pate
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Part 3 [Blu-ray] Starring Maxey Whitehead, Vic Mignogna, Caitlin Glass
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Part 3
Kaleido Star: Season Two with Bonus OVA Starring Jay Hickman, Cynthia Martinez, Sandra Krasa, and Hilary Haag
Kamui Gaiden: Movie [Blu-ray] Starring Robert McCollum, Stephanie Young, Kent Williams
Merantau [Blu-ray] Starring Iko Uwais
Charlie Brown Valentine
Cyborg Conquest Starring Stacey Dash and Paul Le Mat
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY
Battlestar Galactica: Razor [Blu-ray] Starring Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff
Cyborg Conquest Starring Stacey Dash and Paul Le Mat
The Killer Robots and the Battle for the Cosmic Potato Starring Charles Harris, Jenna Hellmuth, Mike McGowan
Resident Evil: Afterlife [Blu-ray 3D] Starring Milla Jovovich and Wentworth Miller
Resident Evil: Afterlife
Resident Evil: Afterlife [Blu-ray]
Archer: Season 1 Starring Rene Auberjonois, H. Jon Benjamin, George Coe
United States of Tara: Seasons One-Two Starring John Corbett and Keir Cilchrist