Written PostThe Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2012!

The Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2012!

And so, at last, we arrive at my final Best of 2012 list!  I hope you enjoyed the rest of my lists.  You can follow these links to see my Top 15 Movies of 2012: click here for part one, here for part two, and here for part three.  Click here for part one of my Top 15 Comic Book Series of 2012, and here for part two.  And finally, you can click here for part one of my Top 10 Episodes of TV of 2012, and here for part two.

And now, my final list: the Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2012!

10. Great documentaries for not-so-great films: Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises Both of these films disappointed me when I saw them.  The Dark Knight is an extremely well-made film and a great super-hero epic, but it’s a big let-down after the magnificence that was The Dark Knight.  And Prometheus was just a catastrophe.  Nevertheless, the blu-rays of both films contained terrific feature-length documentaries.  Prometheus’ special features are particularly compelling — the 220-minute documentary “Furious Gods: The Making of Prometheus” (directed by Charles de Lauzirika) is extraordinary.  Is it crazy to be so interested in the behind-the-scenes stories of two films that ultimately disappointed me?  Maybe, but I loved these glimpses behind the curtains.

9. Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Tea-Bagging in the UK Every few years, Kevin Smith releases a DVD collection of some of his Q&A  sessions, and I always gobble them up.  None have topped the original An Evening With Kevin Smith DVD from 2002, but Mr. Smith’s skill as a spinner-of-yarns is unparalleled, and I adore listening to his lengthy, raunchy, hilarious answers to the audience’s questions about his life, his film-making, and all sorts of other details of his personal life.  (I even saw Mr. Smith live, in Boston, a few years ago!)  This latest DVD is a recording of some of the “Smodcast” podcasts that Mr. Smith recorded with his “hetero life-mate” Jason Mewes, on tour in England.  These shows are nowhere near as great as some of the previous Q&A DVDs — I like Jason Mewes, but I think Mr. Smith is much funnier solo — but these shows are still a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the frank, friendly interplay between Mr. Smith and Mr. Mewes.

8. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 — This animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s seminal comic book from 1986 is one of the best of Bruce Timm’s recent direct-to-DVD animated films.  With solid (though not spectacular) animation and a phenomenal voice cast, I was very impressed by this extremely faithful adaptation of Mr. Miller’s work.  I applaud Mr. Timm and co. for bringing this animated project to the screen without having to edit out too many of the original story’s rough edges.  This is one of the greatest Batman stories ever told, and it’s a thrill to see it brought to life.  (Click here for my original review.)  Can’t wait for part 2.

7. Parks and Recreation Season 4 — Season three was probably Parks and Rec’s greatest season, but season four was still pretty darn spectacular.  Parks and Rec is my favorite network comedy these days — it’s just so funny and I love every single one of the characters so much.  The season 4 DVD set was great as always, filled with a treasure trove of deleted scenes and extended cuts of many of the episodes.  I don’t really feel I’ve watched a season until I have made it through the DVD set.

6. Criterion Collection blu-ray editions of Brazil and Broadcast News I am still making my way through both of these blu-rays, but I have seen enough to be able to sing the praises of these phenomenal Criterion Collection editions of these two phenomenal films — one (Broadcast News) that I have seen countless times, and the other (Brazil) that believe it or not I had never before seen.  Just the pristine versions of the two movies on blu-ray would be enough, but augmented by a wonderful array of special features and beautiful, informative accompanying booklets (so rare in DVDs/Blu-rays these days), these are proud editions to my collection.  I’ll have more to say about both of these films soon.

5. Universal 100th Anniversary blu-ray editions of The Deer Hunter and Born on the Fourth of July I’ve only picked up a few of Universal’s special 100th Anniversary blu-ray editions of their seminal films, but I thoroughly enjoyed these two films, both focusing on the Vietnam War.  I had seen Born on the Fourth of July, but I’d never before seen The Deer Hunter.  The two films are very different from one another, but I found both to be extremely powerful, moving experiences to watch.  Both are epic, sweeping films, and both films look phenomenal on blu-ray.  The visual presentation of the two films was absolutely superb.  Great job, Universal.  (I just wish there had been more substantial special features for these two significant films.)  (Click here for my review of The Deer Hunter, and click here for my review of Born on the Fourth of July.)

4. Criterion Collection blu-ray editions of David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Game The Criterion Collection gave a lot of love to David Fincher this year, releasing gorgeous blu-ray editions of two of his films.  As with Brazil and Broadcast News, which I discussed above, both of Mr. Fincher’s films are given, first-and-foremost, gorgeous visual presentations on blu-ray, as well as elaborate special features.  I could have included The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in the movies I listed at number 10, above: “great documentaries for not-so-great films.”  I quite like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, though I don’t think it’s anywhere near Mr. Fincher’s greatest works.  (Click here for my original review of the film.)  Still, I was engrossed by the exhaustive making-of documentaries.  I am still making my way through this edition of The Game, Mr. Fincher’s 1997 film, but I’ll have a lot more to say about it on this site soon.

3. Star Trek: The Next Generation season one and two on blu-ray — I can’t believe that these blu-rays actually exist.  When considering releasing Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD on blu-ray, Paramount and CBS Home Video were faced with a big problem.  While the series was shot on film, the show was edited on video, and all of the visual effects were done in standard definition.  Which means that the show would look pretty crappy in high definition.  To address this, Paramount and CBS Home Video have taken the astonishing, unprecedented step of re-editing the show from square one, episode-by-episode and scene-by-scene (working from all of the original master film elements, which have been in storage since the eighties/nineties) and re-compositing every single effects shot (again working from the original film elements and, where necessary, replacing and enhancing the effects with new computer effects shots, albeit ones designed to exactly mimic the original effects).  (Click here for more info on this huge restoration/reconstruction project.)  The result is a presentation of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which the show looks better than it has ever before looked, even when it was originally broadcast.  It is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and it’s incredible to see how well the sets, costumes, and visual effects from thirty years ago hold up today.  (While the new CGI effects are designed to exactly duplicate the old effects, rather than dropping in new, more-elaborate effects, there are nevertheless several instances of the new effects really improving on what came before — such as the new CGI Crystalline Entity in season one’s “Datalore.”)  Additionally, each season is accompanied by extraordinarily in-depth documentaries, by far the best special features that any Trek film or TV series has ever had on DVD/blu-ray.  These documentaries on the creation of the first two seasons of the show have rekindled my love for TNG.  This is an extraordinary achievement, and I can’t wait until they get until the seasons of TNG that were actually GOOD.  (And — hope hope pray pray — maybe someday Deep Space Nine???)

2. Steve Martin: The Television Stuff See below.

1. The Incredible Mel Brooks I am splitting hairs by giving the Mel Brooks collection the nod over the Steve Martin collection.  (I put the Mel Brooks collection at number one, by a nose, simply because at five discs (plus a bonus CD) versus Steve Martin’s three, it is the more comprehensive set.)  Both of these collections were put out my the magnificent Shout! Factory, and both are absolutely extraordinary, jaw-droppingly comprehensive assemblages of some of the forgotten television comedy of these two great comedic masters: Steve Martin and Mel Brooks.  It will be many months before I have watched everything on these DVDs, but even from what I have seen so far they are, without question, my favorite DVDs/blu-rays of the year.  Steve Martin: The Television Stuff contains a number of Mr. Martin’s stand-up shows and sketch comedy specials from the seventies and eighties, numerous SNL clips, as well as comedic bits he did on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Late Show with David Letterman, Mr. Martin’s Lifetime Achievement Acceptance Speech from The American Comedy Awards in 2000, as well as newly-recorded comments by Mr. Martin on all of the above, and lots more.  The Incredible Mel Brooks, meanwhile, contains clips from Mel’s appearances on The Dick Cavett Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, 60 Minutes, Mad About You, The Critic, The David Susskind Show, a 1996 look back at The Sid Caesar Show, a 2010 reunion with Dick Cavett for HBO, a 2012 look back at The 2000 Year Old Man, newly-recorded segments of Mel discussing all of his films, and so much more.  As with the Star Trek: The Next Generation blu-ray sets, it is frankly hard for me to believe that these collections actually exist, and I am so thankful that they do!  These two sets have already given me hours of entertainment, and I know there are still hours and hours of fun to come as I explore all the nooks and crannies of these voluminous collections.  Magnificent.

And with that, we bring to a close my look back at 2012!  I hope you’ve enjoyed all of my Best of 2012 lists.  Thank you all for continuing to visit MotionPicturesComics.com.

Onward to 2013…!