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Holiday Gift Guide



Written by Sara Michelle Fetters, Mitchell Hattaway, Dennis Crane



Back to the Future Trilogy (25th Anniversary)

(save and buy from Amazon)


This 3-disc Blu-ray collection is an absolute smash. Each film looks and sounds incredible, director Robert Zemeckis intimately involved with bringing the trio to the world of high-definition and this attention to detail clearly shows. Extras include a new six-part retrospective documentary parceled out over all three features and just about all of the special features from previous DVD releases. It’s an astonishing collection, a superlative set (packaging issues aside) making for a Christmas gift that will be remembered both at the time of giving as well as long into the foreseeable future.


-Sara Michelle




Avatar (Three-Disc Extended Collector's Edition)

(save and buy from Amazon)


A big movie demands a massive set, which is exactly what you're getting. Choose from three versions of the movie (the Theatrical Special Edition is rather pointless), and hours of bonus material; the Capturing Avatar documentary, over 45 minutes of deleted scenes, no less than 17 behind-the-scenes featurettes, over 633 images from The Art of Avatar, and, for the kids, a family audio track with objectionable language removed. The packaging is extremely cool, too. Massive, like I said. I see you, Cameron.






War of the Worlds

(save and buy from Amazon)


Spielberg’s version doesn’t hold a candle to the Byron Haskin/George Pal version, and it’s really hurt by its third-act stupidity, but parts of it work like gangbusters, and the Blu-ray looks and (especially) sounds like a gazillion bucks.






THX 1138

(save and buy from Amazon)


Yeah, yeah, yeah--Lucas went and tinkered with it, but it’s his movie, so he can do what he wants. Besides, the additions are largely seamless, and their inclusion is in no way detrimental to the creepy effectiveness of the movie, which seriously weirded me out when I was nine years old and stumbled across it on television one night when I couldn’t sleep and still weirds me out.





Flash Gordon

(save and buy from Amazon)


One of my favorite Blu-ray's of 2010 is Universal’s release of 1980 cult comic book sensation Flash Gordon. Could they have spent a bit more time and effort on the visual transfer? Sure, of course. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a few more features than the ones offered here (like, say, the entire 1936 Flash Gordon serial instead of just the first chapter)? For die hard giddy fan girls like myself that’s a definite yes. But the simple truth is don’t care. I love this Blu-ray, and while some will pooh-pooh it for not going for enough I’m here to say anyone who considers themselves a fan will be as overjoyed as Flash himself is after he’s saved the Earth if they discover it sitting under their Christmas Tree.

-Sara Michelle




Forbidden Planet

(save and buy from Amazon)


The 1956 science fiction classic Forbidden Planet is one of my all-time favorites. It’s clever reworking of Shakespeare’s 'The Tempest' held me spellbound the very fist time I watched, director Fred McLeod Wilcox eschewing the usual rah-rah theatrics for a more cerebral and introspective spectacle. Warner Bros. recent Blu-ray presentation of this cherished chestnut (which included the debut of everyone’s favorite robot Robbie) is absolutely priceless, and there’s plenty about this release fans young and old alike will be excited about.


-Sara Michelle




Galaxy of Terror

(save and buy from Amazon)


One of the most notorious, maybe even infamous motion pictures to ever be produced by Roger Corman, Galaxy of Terror is a B-grade schlock sci-fi terror that enthusiasts for this sort of thing owe it to themselves to see. Not just for the certifiably classic moment when co-star Taafe O'Connell gets raped by a gigantic slimy maggot, but for plenty of a gore-a-rific sequences that make little to no sense other than that they’re hysterically gruesome and suitably disgusting. Shout’s Blu-ray release is sure to make fans who get it for the holidays simply ooze in mucus-y joy.


-Sara Michelle




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