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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy Complete DVD collection is one of the top 10 DVDs of 2005

Wednesday 4 January 2006, by Webmaster

Though some of my colleagues here at DVDActive might disagree with me on this, I thought that 2005 was another great year for DVD. What with plenty of TV box sets and special edition releases hitting the shelves, as well as a bucket-load of big blockbuster releases, consumers and DVD fanatics alike had plenty of choice this year. I am not quite sure how many films and TV shows I have sat though over the last twelve months, but I know it has been a lot - much to the dissatisfaction and annoyance of my social life. But there can only be ten that make the final cut, right? I’ll be honest with you; I actually had a hard time selecting ten DVDs to appear on this list, not though lack of choice, but from too much of it. With so many DVDs coming out these days with overly solid extras and slick presentation, it is getting to the point where the format can go no further. So, let’s get right to it - what, in the opinion of this critic, are the top-ten DVDs of 2005?

10. 24: Season 4 (R2)

The first DVD on the list, and perhaps an obvious choice, is the awesome fourth season of 24. I don’t think there is a person alive who hasn’t heard of this show, and its fourth outing was brilliant from end to end. Suspense was as edgy as ever, and Jack Bauer’s character went though so much emotional turmoil that he’ll be lucky to make it though another one of these traumatic days. The DVD presentation was also truly spectacular. From its vast array of special features to fantastic video and audio qualities, this box set was an easy choice for the top-ten list and a must-have for anyone who considers themselves a fan.

9. Lost: The Complete First Season (R1)

Ah, Lost - possibly the greatest new television show on the air right now, and a show that has almost single-handedly revived the genre in which it is based. My confession is that I never actually saw this show when it first aired, but it was though this DVD that I have become a huge fan. Now in its second season, and enjoying the kind of ratings that most would kill for, Lost looks certain to dominate for at least the next couple of years - if its concept can hold up that is. The DVD also blew me away, with its crystal clear video and surprisingly robust audio and plentiful special features. The show is cinematic, so too is the DVD - what more could you ask for?

8. Batman Begins: Special Edition (R2)

Chris Nolan’s name was propelled into the short list of truly great directors this summer, when his re-invention of the infamous Batman franchise became not just the best Batman flick, but one of the definitive summer blockbusters of all time. Batman Begins was the film that pushed all the right buttons, turned in all the right directions and finally ridded the horrid stench a certain Joel Schumacher left after his heinous efforts. But what makes Batman Begins so great is its starting back at square one. It was made as if all other Batman films had never been made, and it is this fresh approach that really gives way for a torrent of possibilities for the film and its certain sequels. Gone are the overly gothic set pieces of Tim Burton’s Batman, gone is the soap-opera-like tedium and neon-lit Gotham of Schumacher’s take, and in their place rests an unexpected realism that becomes the backbone of Nolan’s Batman. But despite the intense grounding of his film, Nolan has ensured that none of the on-screen magic and elegance has been lost in the translation. In short, Batman Begins was an action film done right. The DVD wasn’t too shabby either.

7. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (R2)

Will this be the last ever Star Wars release? Absolutely not! In fact it wouldn’t at all surprise me if Lucas goes back to re-treat the prequel trilogy in the same manner as his original films. The good news this time is that he couldn’t exactly make these prequels any worse could he? Still, whatever your feelings towards Mr. Lucas’s constant modifying and adjustments, Revenge of the Sith was a more or less solid and entertaining flick that acts as a nice bridge between the prequels and the much older, much better originals. This DVD was also one of the highlights of the year in terms of audio and video quality. The image was almost flawless, and the sound - while sadly missing Ben Burtt’s awesome Seismic Charge sound effect from Episode II - was equally as stunning. In fact, of all the DVDs released in 2005, this is easily the best all-around demo disc. You’re going to want to show off you’re A/V system’s capabilities to your rather envious friends with this one, but just remember that sound-proofing does not come cheap.

6. King Kong: Collector’s Edition (1933) (R1)

With Peter Jackson’s epic masterpiece of the same name currently lording it over the box office, this magnificent original has been given the treatment it deserves for the digital platform. Though I prefer Jackson’s retelling of the story more than even this classic monochrome original, you still can’t beat the nostalgia and age-old charm this film has. Who can forget those brilliant special effects - still excellent for their age - and the haunting moment Kong snatches Ms. Darrow from her bindings. King Kong is a true American cinema classic and one of the greatest films of its kind ever. This DVD preserves the film in all its glory, offering an amazing transfer (complete with enough grain to last you a lifetime) and hours of extra features, including Peter Jackson’s recreation of the Spider Pit - a very cool homage indeed.

5. The Incredibles (R2)

Pixar are now six for six in their filmic undertakings. They have scored six major blockbusters, all of which have become equally critically acclaimed and successful. The Incredibles is their latest, and perhaps greatest - no easy feat, but it might just be true. Some have even said that this film could be the greatest animated film of all time, or at the very least, one of the top three. I find myself having to agree with this statement. For me, The Incredibles is a true masterpiece and cinematic classic. It has a great, well-told and thoroughly witty story; it has a superb cast of characters, and is fit for both adults and kids. Oh, and this was the biggest selling DVD of the year according to recent analyst reports. The disc was partly responsible for this popularity, offering fans numerous features and an ultra-wide anamorphic transfer that looks great on any setup. If you don’t own a copy of this film, what are you waiting for? This is one of the must own DVDs of all time, not just of this year.

4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete DVD Collection (R2)

Like it or loathe it, Buffy is one of those TV shows that will stick around for a long, long time. I became a fan only a few years ago (roughly around the fourth or fifth season), but since then I have lapped up just about everything Joss Whedon put into this phenomenally great show. It had it all; drama, comedy, horror, action - the works; and this seven season box set contains every episode ever aired in one very stylish collector’s set. Expensive, but worth every penny if you are even half the fan I am. You can buy each season individually, but having them all in one huge set just looks so much better. 3. Friends: The One with All 10 Seasons on DVD (R2)

The second greatest sitcom ever - after Frasier of course - Friends was one of the highlights of TV viewing in its day, and managed to capture the hearts of millions globally. It is quite fitting therefore to have every single episode ever produced in one complete box - something every fan ought to have. Just like the Buffy set above, this is an expensive buy, but once you see it amongst your DVD collection you won’t really care. It looks great as a box set, but it is naturally what is inside that makes it special. As DVDs they might not be brilliant, but the sheer quality of the episodic content will steal over you. I have based this top-ten list on quality of DVDs in their entirety, not just for A/V presentation. These DVDs are the weakest on the list for A/V, but possibly the best in terms of entertainment and quality of product. And one thing Friends can do in droves is entertain.

2. Frank Miller’s Sin City: The Recut & Extended Edition (R1)

You knew it had to be on here somewhere, and I cannot express enough how close it came to filling the top spot, but one other release this year apparently ousted it - but only just. Sin City is one of my favourite films ever, and its first DVD release (which I reviewed a while back) was lacking only one thing to make it a truly perfect disc - extra features. And on this huge double disc release, Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez have delivered all the goods and then some. Having a huge bundle of great features (including a recut and extended edition of the film on the second disc) was all we really wanted, but to come with the full graphic novel The Hard Goodbye was even better. Put it this way, the film is pure genius, and I am pleased to say that the DVD is equally as poignant. If you don’t own this disc, you really need to - DVDs just don’t come any better than this.

1. Titanic: Deluxe Collector’s Edition (R2)

And so, James Cameron must accept yet another accolade for his monstrously successful romantic drama about a famous ship that sinks somewhere in the freezing Atlantic Ocean. This four-disc collector’s edition sails away with a brilliant image transfer and an epic, sweeping audio soundtrack available in both Dolby Digital and DTS. On top of this, torrents of extra features over all four discs (including one of the greatest ever commentaries by James Cameron) cements that this is indeed the best DVD of 2005 - at least in the opinion of this critic.