written by Mike Shea on 21 November 2002
Each year we are compelled to give each other presents in an effort to keep retail chains alive another 365 days. DVDs are a perfect universal adapter for holiday gifts. Everyone loves movies and now that DVD players are in wide acceptance, we can buy these $20 plates of silver and give someone else two hours to forget that they are just cattle in the giant slaughter house of life. This is a guide to nine of the best DVDs one might buy for a friend or loved-one (blegh!). Each of these titles are based upon quality of film, quality of presentation, and quality of features. Anyone of these DVDs will enrich someone's collection.
The Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Edition: If any mass market Hollywood movie deserves praise this year, it's Lord of the Rings. The Extended DVD contains four discs of film and extras including a high quality video transfer and excellent DTS 6.1 soundtrack. 18 hours of very entertaining background material and a far more complete version of the film make this the best dvd you can buy. The perfect gift.
True Romance: An older film gets a new transfer. While the subject matter may offend some people, True Romance is a love story for gangster lovers. Excellent detailed characters, great dialog, and a wonderful and touching story make this the gangster love story to keep. The new DVD release has a reference quality picture, sound, and extras.
Seven: A movie that delivers layer upon layer of new details to explore every time it's viewed. The non-mainstream plotline along with great characters and interaction build a dark and gritty film noir detective movie. The DVD was remastered from the original film print under the supervision of the director himself and also has one of the first six channel soundtracks available. A plethora of extras give you over 12 hours of material to play with. Probably the best DVD available.
The Royal Tenenbaums: A movie that spread the word "quirky" throughout every newspaper review. Wes Anderson's abstract character-driven movie creates a powerful and moving picture. The Criterion DVD includes all the extras you could want as well as a high quality video and sound transfer.
Moulin Rouge: Though you wouldn't want to give this to a guy unless you want an atomic wedgy, Moulin Rouge is not a bad film for women who want to see a modern musical and men who enjoy a high quality picture and great sound. Give it to a guy and you may get your ass kicked, but for a woman, its not a bad choice. This THX disc is a refernce quality disc that makes any system look great.
Titus: For the modern film snobs, Titus is a great gift. The Shakespearian dialog will turn away 90% of viewers but the other ten are treated to a horrifying drama and excellent surreal costumes, sets, and characters. The DVD is a reference quality disc with more extras than mortal man can take.
Pulp Fiction: The movie that redefined film for our generation on a reference quality dvd. Tarantino's cult classic breaks the molds of character dialog, linear storytelling, and "acceptable" subject matter. The DVD has an excellent picture, sound, and extras.
Amadeus: Directors Cut: Another movie for the cultural elite, but one that anyone can avoid if they don't realize it's about classical music. The chilling fictional tale of revenge told through the eyes of a retired demon, Saliari. This is a new directors cut with a 16x9 picture, DTS sound, and many extras.
Spiderman: Probably the one movie on this list that most anyone will enjoy. A mass marketed Hollywood blockbuster that didn't forget about story, characters, or the audience's intelligence. The DVD does great justice to the overdone special effects with a great picture, sound, and some great extras.
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