This week, in addition to some new arrivals, we will be recalling some of the year’s most outstanding DVD collections and releases. Call it our Holiday Guide.
Bond 50 — Available now on DVD and Blu-ray.
Guaranteed to please any movie lover with a pulse is this collection celebrating 50 years of James Bond movies. All 22 films come in a boxed set along with an absurd 122 hours of bonus materials. Nine of the films make their Blu-ray debuts.
New featurettes “The World of Bond” and “Being Bond” examine, respectively, the signature Bond style and the six actors who have played Bond. The set also contains video blogs from the set of Skyfall.
The Robert Mitchum Film Collection — River of No Return; The Night of the Hunter; Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison; The Enemy Below; Thunder Road; The Hunters; The Longest Day; Man in the Middle; What a Way to Go!; The Way West. Available now on DVD
This personal favorite offers a fair representation from the rich, varied career of Robert Mitchum.
Twentieth Century Fox has assembled 10 movie-only discs into a single package, including action features (River of No Return with Marilyn Monroe), big-budget Hollywood films (The Longest Day, What a Way to Go!), and the sublime The Night of the Hunter, one of the creepiest movies ever made and the only film ever directed by Charles Laughton.
Mitchum’s co-stars include John Wayne, Deborah Kerr, Paul Newman, Shirley MacLaine, Kirk Douglas and even Mitchum’s son, Jim. Taken as a whole, the set shows why Mitchum enjoyed such a long career as a reliable actor who just happened to be a charismatic movie star.
Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, it might be time to experience why this fantastic franchise has been so popular with this complete collection of all eight Potter films on 31 discs, including bonus materials, with everything packaged in a handsome box.
In addition to previously released bonus materials, the DVD set, also available on Blu-ray and UltraViolet digital copy, contains enough new extras to total 37 hours’ worth of supplements.
But if you only want to catch the latest in the Harry Potter series, you might be more interested in this week’s release of the “Ultimate Edition” of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 and 2. This handsome package holds the series’ last two films along with more than six hours of new bonus materials, as well as a 48-page booklet filled with cast and crew photos, sketches, behind-the-scenes information and more.
The six-disc collection also includes a lenticular card, four limited-edition character cards, and UltraViolet standard definition digital copies of both theatrical versions.
The films come with deleted scenes, trailers, cast and crew interviews, along with a combined total of more than 20 featurettes touching on virtually every important aspect of the series. Most important are the final two chapters in the eight-hour documentary “Creating the World of Harry Potter.”
In these culminating chapters of Harry’s saga, he faces off against Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) to bring his quest, and the series, to an exhausting conclusion. Both films are rated PG-13. Part 1 clocks in at 146 minutes; Part 2, 130 minutes.
Prometheus (****) For anyone who missed it earlier in the year, either in the theaters or in its DVD release, now’s a good time to catch Ridley Scott’s magnificent sequel to his 1979 classic Alien.
In a plot similar to the original Alien, a spaceship ventures into outer space, where the intricate and sometimes diffuse story roars along, presenting multiple challenges for the space invaders and frights for the audience. The excellent cast includes Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender.
Rated R, 124 minutes. The DVD, available in Blu-ray, combo packs and various formats, offers two separate commentaries, the Peter Wayland Files, and deleted and alternate scenes.
The Dark Knight Trilogy Limited Edition Giftset Dec. 7 marks the arrival of this collection containing Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and the newly released The Dark Knight Rises. The set, available on DVD and Blu-ray, includes all the original special features along with a 64-page coffee-table book, The Art and Making of the Dark Knight Trilogy. The set will also offer the UltraViolet feature, which allows purchasers to download and stream the theatrical versions to various devices.
During the year, many other collections, special editions and notable releases have appeared. Following are some of the more noteworthy that may be of interest to movie-goers:
* Singin’ in the Rain: 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition, three discs filled with new bonus materials;
* Blade Runner: 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition, a four-disc set including five separate versions of Ridley Scott’s classic, as well as many other bonus goodies;
* Casablanca: 70th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition, three discs packaged in a gift box along with a book, poster, drink coasters and more;
* Arthur Christmas, a stop-motion animated Christmas tale in 3-D and in all formats from Aardman Animation; and
* The Lethal Weapon Collection, including all four entries in the Richard Donner-directed quartet starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as mismatched Los Angeles detectives.
This week, Disney releases a pair of timely new holiday arrivals:
Cinderella II: Dreams Come True and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time Disney has packaged in various forms and combo packs two selections from the studio’s popular Cinderella franchise. In Dreams Come True, new princess Cinderella faces an intimidating new life at the palace. To succeed, she needs the help of her animal friends and her fairy godmother.
Cinderella’s stepmother uses the fairy godmother’s magic wand and causes trouble for everyone in A Twist in Time. Before she knows it, Cinderella has lost her memory and only mice Jaq and Gus can bring her back.
Both films are rated G and run 74 minutes. The films also come in various formats, downloads and combo packs. Supplements on the disc include the featurette “Becoming a Princess,” in which a lucky girl attends “princess school,” the featurette “Musical Magic,” the music video “Put It Together” and more.
Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups When the four new golden retriever pups at the North Pole — Hope, Jingle, Charity and Noble — destroy Santa’s workshop, they repent and want to show their responsible side. Before long, they are granting wishes to the children of Pineville thanks to a magic crystal. But even this seemingly good deed brings about more mischief.
Rated G, 87 minutes. The DVD, in all formats, downloads and various combo packs, includes a music mash-up, bloopers and more.
An alternative gift consideration would be a membership in Disney’s D23, its official fan club. It offers additional selections for Disney followers, with a membership including the official magazine, an annual member’s gift, members-only events, access to the website, special discounts and more.
Also available Tuesday on DVD: The Expendables 2.