Now that a bit of the history of my collecting has been recounted, I want to share with you the collection itself. I’ll start with the DVDs – the last remaining greats of the Great DVD Purge.
ALIEN and ALIENS represent two top ten movies, that are also incredible special editions. I believe they were my introduction to the Fox collector’s series, numbered 10 and 11. I’m pretty sure ALIENS has been played a few dozen times throughout the past decade, until the Blu-ray hit.
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES was avidly watched when I was a child and would shape my interest and expectation for what Batman should be. I never picked up the fourth volume, one reason being that the show changed a bit and the edition was relatively difficult to find. It didn’t help that I wasn’t exactly going back to watch all of them, although I did for a brief stint when I would “do the treadmill” for a few weeks.
I saw BLACK HAWK DOWN in an old theatre when I was going to university, with a bunch of friends. The audio was either terrible or fantastic, depending on your mood: unlike a typical movie theatre, this theatre was designed with stage performances in mind (they simply drop a big screen down). The audio has a distinct echo, which really made this movie a different experience. I believe I had purchased the regular edition of it first, then grabbed this 3 disc set once it was released. I haven’t fully explored it, but it remains the definitive edition of this movie that most people either seem to love or hate.
FIGHT CLUB was long standing at the top of my favourite movies of all time, for good reason. I haven’t watched it in years, probably because it will be even more relatable and relevant now moreso than ever (having crossed the 30 threshold). As I mentioned before, it was a fantastic blind-buy: it was probably the first DVD I bought based in large part on the packaging, which remains one of my favourites. The blu-ray release is a bit disappointing in comparison, but still a welcome addition to the club.
GOJIRA, always a classic, gets a beautiful digibook release that I’ve cherished for quite a few years. It may have been a gift, but the second two in that series of editions were incredible finds at a local shop – priced at $5 each, I still haven’t removed them from the package and neither have I found the rest in the set. I have seen the complete boxed set in stores though, but it is expensive.
I don’t typically buy television on media, as it’s difficult to get around to rewatching, but INVADER ZIM was worth the purchase. Unfortunately, after I picked the complete set up (individually) they announced quite the special edition of the complete series. A great cartoon series though.
MASTER AND COMMANDER may be one of the best editions I have; it was a find on day of release and I had to have it without hesitation. This one is notable as well because we just added a subwoofer to our home theatre setup and this movie absolutely destroys it.
METROPOLIS is the only anime I have (save for AKIRA, recently). This is a novelty because the second disc containing special features is a mini-DVD, similar in size to a Gamecube disc – for those familiar. The movie itself is quite good, although it’s been half a decade since I watched it. I’m always keeping an eye out for it to arrive on Blu-ray, but haven’t seen it in stores yet.
PREDATOR. Easily one of Arnold’s best.
THE ROCK was my first Criterion and is a beautiful disc with great special features. My parents bought this for me for my birthday many years ago; I can honestly say I didn’t think they would because of the cost, but they did and it’s now one of the most memorable pieces in my collection.
My sister bought me Criterion edition of THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, which I have since upgraded to Blu but just can’t part with this original DVD. I’m not big into Wes Anderson films, but I foresee an effort in my future to obtain all his films as they are great Criterion releases.
SE7EN is a great edition, modeled after the notebooks they find within the movie. This also marks the film in which I declare David Fincher to be one of my favourite directors. I loved that he oversaw the transfer and they included features on how it was done. Oddly enough, I missed it in theatres (just like all of his films so far).
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was a thrilling experience in the theatre, and continues to be at home. This edition is made up to look like a box of ammo I suppose. It’s a bit oversized and has solid construction regardless. One of the more interesting editions.
That silver case is TERMINATOR 2, in its metal slipcase. The other spine has the title of the movie written on it but I like the clean, steel look. The sleeve is open on the one side and has actually mangled lesser, weaker cases that sit beside it. It’s also noteworthy that the inner case was too small for all the contents, as you have to squeeze it tightly to snap it shut. It contained a whole host of versions, which was quite impressive when it came out, and has been re-released with a cardboard/plastic sleeve (not sure honestly). The TERMINATOR series is definitely a run of films that has seen no end of different editions, so I keep this around as my definitive.
TOMBSTONE is the last Vista Series DVD I have kicking around. Not only is it a fantastic film and perhaps one of my favourite westerns, but it also features some nice packaging that is topped off by a neat map of the historical shootout depicted in the film.
Finally, we come to the small TRANSFORMERS section, which features the animated movie of the eighties, as well as the first volume in the original cartoon series. The television series was a difficult find: I anticipated its release for months, and when it came out, it was not to be found. I hit every single store that sold DVDs in the city that day, and left empty handed. It was very disappointing, and I believe it would be weeks if not months before I got it in my hands – I may have resorted to going online (which is now common practice). I eventually picked up the second volume (which contained half of season two) but never continued. They were pricey, and beyond my time as I was most familiar with the first season as a child. The movie is a great edition from Rhino, and after opening (and viewing) I quickly put it in protective plastic.
And there we have it, the modest but important DVD collection composed of movies that are meaningful to me on various levels. Since collecting Blu, I have often neglected the idea of buying DVD again; however, there are many releases that don’t seem to be coming to the new format, and I’m forced to consider the old. I can’t help but think where I would be if I continued buying them and forewent the Xbox 360. It’s a different landscape than when I began collecting: you can find great movies for bargain bin prices. Pawn shops are chock full of titles and special editions that went unnoticed years ago. Around 2002, I went straight to the mall with a fistful of freshly earned cash. I picked up four titles that night, including the Burton BATMAN films. The thrill of making the decision, bringing them home and inspecting the package, followed by putting one in the player and sorting them all into their homes in the collection is a prime feeling indeed. If you’re a collector you’ll have done the same thing: standing, or sitting – maybe on the floor – and admiring what you’ve built. You become lost in it all, as you stroll down memory lane thinking of each film, of each purchase.