Blu-Ray Feature: 2010 High-Def Holiday Gift Guide

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CHICAGO – With hundreds of choices new and old, how can you possibly decide what to get the Blu-ray fan in your circle of gift-giving this holiday season? It’s that time of year — when we try to read the mental wish lists of our friends and family members and get them the perfect gift.

If you’re thinking about buying a Blu-ray for your significant other or even just for the office party grab bag, here’s the handy guide to the best of the season. Everything is available now except where noted. Films and television programs included are “Back to the Future,” “The Goonies,” “Avatar,” “Inception,” “Metropolis,” “The Night of the Hunter,” “Paths of Glory,” “24,” “Lost,” “The Pacific,” “Deadwood,” “Toy Story 3,” “Fantasia,” “Aliens,” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” and much more.

For ’80s Fans:

“Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy”

It’s rare to see a series of films and its fans treated as incredibly as Universal has with the 25th Anniversary edition of the “Back to the Future” trilogy. This is one of the most remarkable and impressive Blu-ray releases to date: a box set that not only features pristinely-restored versions of the three films but includes hours of spectacular special features. It’s a must-own and arguably the best release in a very good season for Blu-ray collectors. The film itself looks amazing in HD and the films are accompanied by hours of special features including an incredibly-detailed and lengthy documentary about the making of the film that features new interviews with ALL of the players, including Michael J. Fox and executive producer Steven Spielberg.

“The Goonies: 25th Anniversary Edition”

“The Goonies: 25th Anniversary Edition” would look pretty impressive under the Christmas tree given that it’s one of Warner Bros.’ massive sets crammed with collectibles. What’s in the big box? Of course, there’s the movie itself, a cherished adventure flick produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner at the height of this kind of action entertainment in the mid-’80s. “The Goonies” is a direct descendant of what Spielberg was trying to do with films like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and even the “Star Wars” trilogy in the way it tried to bring intense adventure to suburbia. The movie is great and all but this is a release about paper — the kind on which collectibles are printed. Buyers get a new board game, 10 collectible storyboard prints, a 64-page 1985 souvenir magazine, and a reprint of an Empire Magazine “Where Are They Now?” article from 2009. Read your magazines, decorate your room with the storyboard cards, and invite your friends over to play your new “Goonies” board game.

For Mind-Trippers:

“Avatar: Extended Blu-Ray Collector’s Edition”

We will get into this release in more depth this week with a full-length review but the 3-disc Blu-ray release of James Cameron’s “Avatar” is a stunner with three different versions of the film, perfect HD video and audio, and amazing special features. Yes, it sucks that “Avatar” has been released twice in one year on Blu-ray and that the version you spent your hard-earned money has already been made obsolete but this edition is so good and so interesting that not only is it a must-buy for fans of the film but could convert those of you that didn’t fall for Cameron’s vision the first time. And, yes, once again, just as with “Aliens” and “The Abyss,” there’s a James Cameron film with a version that’s better than what was released in theaters. We’ll get into more detail soon but don’t leave this one off your list.


Christopher Nolan’s mind-f*ck of a thriller holds up on repeat viewing as well as anything this year as is a masterpiece tailor-made for Blu-ray. Not only can you pause the movie to take a mental break, but you can get a glimpse into the making-of Nolan’s incredible film. Like “Avatar,” we will provide a more in-depth review soon, but the HD video and audio here are typically-strong for Warner Bros. and the second disc of special feature is impressive if not quite-as-revealing as you may hope. Don’t expect all the answers. But the questions are fascinating enough to ask them over and over again. (Will be released on December 7th, 2010.)

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