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2010 DISCussion: The Year’s Best on DVD/Blu-ray

Another year has ended and I am sure many of you have added more DVDs and Blu-rays to your collection. Seeing that DVD sales remain one of the big sectors within the film industry, we decided to take a look back at the year in discs.
The Big Releases

Films such as Avatar and Inception were big blockbuster smashes in the cinema this year (though Avatar was released in 2009). People flocked to see them and they obviously loved them so much that they bought the DVD and Blu-ray in bulk. Inception shows that audiences are prepared to pay for quality and because it is a film that demands multiple viewings, made it a must-buy for film fans. Avatar is the highest-grossing film of all time and it has already been released twice on DVD this year, the original theatrical cut and an extended cut: a director’s cut is also on the cards.


A Chance for a Second Life

The invention of DVDs has been a God-send for some films and TV programmes and has saved some series. Family Guy was saved twice on the strength of DVDs sales and the sales of Hellboy convinced Universal to make a sequel. Two films that failed to perform in the box-office were Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Both were very entertaining comic book adaptations and they have already earned a cult following. If you want to see a sequel to those films, buy the DVDs (though “Kick-Ass 2” has been set in motion already). Remember, Blade Runner was a box-office flop but VHS and television gave that film a second life.

Boxsets

Many Boxsets were released this year and with Blu-ray growing it gives studios a chance to re-release some of their best series. We have seen the Alien Anthology, the Back to the Future trilogy and The Man With No Name trilogy come to Blu-ray. The Alien and Back to the Future boxsets are filled with so many extras that it will prevent fans of the films from going to work or school for weeks. If you and your family are looking for something a little more modern there is fun to be had with the Toy Story trilogy.


The Indie Hits

There are so many films and there is so little time. Going to the cinema is expensive at times and your cinematic options are limited, so DVDs are give you the chance to watch a film you would have missed the first time round. Some highlights of 2010 from the indie circuit were Winter’s Bone, Precious and Restrepo: all of them winning over critics and award bodies. Plus you can save money by buying the DVD because the features are same as the Blu-ray version.

World Cinema

Like Indie cinema, your chances of seeing world cinema offerings is limited and it is easy to miss what can be some of the best films of year. But again, DVDs can allow you to catch up. Two of the biggest releases of the year were the first two parts of posthumous bestseller Stieg Larsson’s  “Millennium Trilogy,” though if you wait till next year you can buy the trilogy boxset, so instead check out these offerings from France, Germany and Argentina. A Prophet, The White Ribbon and The Secret in Their Eyes were popular films in the art-house crowd and all three won a number of awards, so will make find additions to your collection.


Straight-to-DVD Highlights

The straight-to-DVD has been a massive segment within the DVD market and a good way for film studios to make a quick buck. Uwe Boll has developed a cult fanbase (i.e. people who enjoy bad cinema) from it. One film that I can recommend is the British film Cemetery Junction, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s 1970s dramedy that was released early in the year in the U.K. It’s a film that shows Gervais can take a different approach to what he normally does. For superhero fans one of the best offerings was from Warner Home Video, Batman: Under the Red Hood. Based on the “A Death in the Family” and “Under the Hood” storylines, the Batman fan community really enjoyed this animated film.

The Big Re-Releases

Since DVDs changed the entertainment industry, studios have constantly been re-releasing their back catalogues of films. 2010 saw films like Se7en and The Bridge Over the River Kwai honored with Blu-ray re-releases. Three of the biggest re-releases were Apocalypse Now, Beauty and the Beast and Seven Samurai: three classic films that everyone should see. All three Blu-rays have filled with extras on two or three discs (depending which Blu-ray you buy). With the Apocalypse Now Blu-ray you are rewarded with three discs and both versions of the film.

What we want to see next

Many DVDs and Blu-rays are set to be released in the year, ranging from The Social Network, Raging Bull, Network, Let Me In … the list is long: but one DVD/Blu-ray I would really want to see is a Director’s Cut of The Lovely Bones. There is no word yet if this is likely to happen, but many people would like to see it. Peter Jackson in the past made the fantastic Extended Editions to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and he filmed key scenes that did not make it into final version of the supernatural thriller. If you read the screenplay for The Lovely Bones, Jackson and co did set out to make a darker film and there were key elements from the book were in the script. It might improve the reputation of that film like the director’s cut did to Blade Runner.

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