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January 15, 2018 10:55 am  #1

Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

I love it when movies have great bonus materials (i. e. several intelligent commentaries, detailed making of, preferably factual historical information if the film is based on or inspired by real events) - but that's not a criteria I can search for on Amazon. So does anybody have recommendations for me?

The best one by far I've seen is Lord of the Rings Special Extended Edition and Black Hawk Down, with the Alian Quadrilogy,  The Ultimate Matrix Collection  and Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World 2-Disc Special Edition close runner-ups. None of them are among my favourite movies, but the extras are great.

I'm sure there must be other bonus materials worth seeing - but where?



January 15, 2018 11:06 am  #2

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

I was going to suggest LotR when I read the title of this thread. Best bonus material I've seen so far. The Hobbit is quite similar.

"We'll live on starlight and crime scenes" - wordstrings

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January 15, 2018 5:07 pm  #3

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

My Harry Potter DVDs have good behind the scenes special features. The Blu-rays probably have more (and special editions).
I think, generally speaking, Blu-rays have more special features than DVDs. I remember getting a Blu-Ray and DVD combo pack of The Help years ago and on the back of the case there are features on the Blu-ray disc that are not the DVD. My family only just got a Blu-ray player last month, so I still haven't had the chance to see those features.
Clueing for looks.

January 16, 2018 12:13 pm  #4

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

Unfortunately I'm getting the same feeling - too often special features seem to be reserved for Blu-ray nowadays, but I still don't have a Blu-ray player (my DVD player still works and the library only has DVDs anyway). Besides, I'd need a de-zoned one, which will be a bit of a nuisance to get. I suppose the DVDs I've listed came out before Blu-ray has become too omnipresent.

I suppose The Hobbit bonus material is similar (at least in style, if not content - though do they do another presentation of Tolkien's life for those viewers who haven't seen LOTR?) to the LOTR extras? Not sure if I need "more of the same", and unfortunately I didn't like the movies.

But maybe I should have a look at Harry Potter - at least the DVDs in the library... (though there again, I didn't even like the very first book when it came out and everybody was raving about it ).

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January 16, 2018 12:20 pm  #5

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

I personally found the HP bonus material a bit disappointing. Probably because I was so spoiled by LotR.

"We'll live on starlight and crime scenes" - wordstrings

Team Hudders!

January 16, 2018 3:05 pm  #6

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

Different editions had different amounts of features, I think. Then again, I also have never seen the Lord of the Rings DVDs since I was never all that interested in it.

I don't know if this is up your alley or not (and it's kind of the wrong time for it), but I just remembered that I spent hours as a kid on the bonus features of the two-disc DVD edition of the movie Elf. They had behind the scenes, commentary, games, and other stuff. I haven't watched any of it in a long time, but there is some good stuff. Including a feature that I think went out of vogue pretty quickly, but it's this thing you can set up so that throughout the movie windows pop up on the screen periodically with trivia and behind the scenes info tidbits. I remember it being quite good, and not reserved to kids stuff.

Another thing, while they do a lot of Blu-rays now (which probably have more features than earlier edition), Criterion Collection DVDs tend to have a fair amount of features, or at least interesting ones. They're not exclusively behind the scenes information, but they do give you historical information and information about the director or filmmaker behind whichever film the DVD is of, sometimes the movie commentary is of a scholar if not someone involved in the making of the film (probably depends on how long ago the film was made, who's available, etc.) They sometimes have booklets with essays and information about the making of the movie, too.

Last edited by Yitzock (January 16, 2018 3:08 pm)
Clueing for looks.

January 17, 2018 12:46 pm  #7

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

I think I'm too old for Elf (I just looked it up on ImdB), even though what you are writing about the extras is what I'm looking for. I'll try to remember Criterion Collection though... Oh, I see they only seem to make Region 1 DVDs, which I try to not buy unless absolutely necessary (because I'm afraid that some day I won't have a region-free player).

As for the Lord of the Ring extras, if you are even a little bit interested in film making, I can't recommend them highly enough (the ones that come with the Special Extended Edition, where you get 4 DVDs per movie - 2 for the (too long) film and two for the bonus materials). I've said it before, I watch them much more often than the movies themselves - and I only bought the DVD set because I had watched the extras beforehand on a borrowed set and loved them so much.

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January 17, 2018 3:13 pm  #8

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

Just film or also TV shows? I just watched "I, Claudius" (long overdue) and there is a 70 minute documentary and lots of other extras in DVD box. 

"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

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January 17, 2018 8:36 pm  #9

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

I loved the German additions for Forrest Gump, they even have subtitles for commentaries. The Field of Dreams was good to. Platoon, the anniversary edition had outstanding materials for a movie shot in the 80ies.

But nothing beats Hobbit and LOTR so far. "Unfortunately" they set the bar VERY high for a movie geek like me - I think I enjoyed the bonus-es more than the movies themselves :D. I wish Sherlock materials would be like that.


January 18, 2018 11:29 am  #10

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

JP wrote:

.... But nothing beats Hobbit and LOTR so far. "Unfortunately" they set the bar VERY high for a movie geek like me - I think I enjoyed the bonus-es more than the movies themselves :D. I wish Sherlock materials would be like that.

Let's create a club! For me LOTR SEE is very far at the top of the list as well. (And what I find absolutely fascinating: I know all the tricks - but when I watch the movies I still completely forget them: Special effects? Which special effects? The bats were flying into the cave, so what? Of course the hobbits are smaller than Gandalf... THAT's perfection...)

But still, yesterday I took out Kingdom of Heaven instead, of  which I have a 4-disc edition - two for the film with commentaries and two for the extras. Which includes a very long Making Of by Charles de Lauzirika (who works a lot with Ridley Scott) which is clearly inspired by LOTR. Not quite of the same quality (in my eyes), but they are trying very hard.

And that gave me the idea of looking for Charles de Lauzirika on imdb, where I discovered that for the 25th anniversery of Blade Runner there was a 5-DVD edition. But it's at £ 90 on I don't love the film that much (especially since the extras on the 2-DVD-Version from the libarary aren't all that bad, either...)

And now I'll check out Field of Dreams (for once a movie I relly like - I have it taped from German tv, and even there is a short "special feature" introduction about Shoeless Joe Jackson), and Forrest Gump. Thanks for the tip! I'll give Platoon a miss, as there's very few war movies I like (for Black Hawk Down the extras are much better than the movie, which, btw. is not as good as the book or the article series on the Internet.)

Recommendations for TV shows are gratefully accepted as well, but I'm not into the Roman empire at all (I suppose that's what I, Claudius is about?)... Yeah, I'm difficult, I know, sorry!

Edited to add: Great, the only 2 disc versions of Field of Dreams (who would by a 1-disc version when there's more available? I don't need German subtitles, though English ones are helpful) are US imports with region 1 coding (and that's why I don't have a Blu-Ray player...)

Last edited by Kittyhawk (January 18, 2018 11:37 am)

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January 18, 2018 1:07 pm  #11

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

I bought the Blade Runner 5 DVD Ultimate Collector's Edition for less than a tenner a few years ago!  Sounds like I got a bargain!  It came with some art postcards too.   Maybe it's more expensive now that the new film has made it more popular - or maybe it's just getting rarer.  The LOTR collection (with all the extended editions, etc.) was about £15 I think, a few years ago. 

At the moment, I have my eye on a David Lynch collection on Amazon (if you search for David Lynch box set, it should come up).  Six feature films and lots of extras (short films, documentary, etc.) for a tenner.  I haven't bought it yet, because there is one review saying the sound is bad, and because I tend to watch streaming films rather than DVDs these days.   But that might be worth a look, if you're a fan (and price-conscious!).  The collection of short films looks interesting.


January 19, 2018 1:26 pm  #12

Re: Tips for DVDs with Great Bonus Materials?

In France it's a bit more expensive, but still affordable - I'll think about it (thing is, I'm not sure I like David Lynch films - I'm tending more and more to preferring straightforward storytelling without any artistic pretensions...

As for the price development - yes, it needs good timing to get a bargain: New films are (relatively) expensive, after a few years most can be had for next to nothing, a few years later prices increase as the DVDs become rarer. I bought the LOTR SEE set new for £ 18 in early 2010 - now it's at £ 69 (but there's used versions around for £ 10).

Of course, the libary is cheapest, and I found a Harry Potter special edition (2 discs) yesterday - I'm looking forward to it! Forrest Gump is there as well, but only as "normal" version, which still has commentaries. Sometime in the next weeks...

Edited to add:  I found the Harry Potter extra material disappointing: 90 % of it is for kids who want to delve deepter into the universe, not for adult cinephiles who want to know everything about film making.

Last edited by Kittyhawk (January 21, 2018 11:34 am)

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