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Best DVDs of 2000
by Aaron Beierle

Best DVDs of 2000 - Aaron Beierle
1.The Ultimate Toy Story Box Set Certainly a set to be beaten, with outstanding audio & video quality and enough extras to spend an entire day watching. The great thing is that the extra features are not fluff, but interesting presentations that can be watched again and again.

2. Fight Club Fox's feature-rich edition of David Fincher's outstanding film is a close second to Disney's Toy Story release.

3. Abyss: Special Edition Containing what I still consider to be one of the best documentaries I've seen included on a DVD ("Under Pressure"), the ability to watch the theatrical and director's cuts of Cameron's great film make this certainly recommended.

4. Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition Artisan's fantastic 2 DVD release provides a library worth of information as well as 3 different versions of the movie, as well as excellent sound and video.

5. The Perfect Storm: SE I'm aware that some certainly disliked the film, but personally, after viewings in both the theater and this DVD release, I still find it to be an enjoyable and entertaining film. Warner Brothers has done the best job possible presenting the film on DVD, with great audio/video quality and a boat-load of "Splashy"(their term for it, not mine) extras.

6. U-571 In my opinion, one of the best examples of "old-fashioned" entertainment in recent memory, "U-571" grabs the viewer and keeps them on the edge of their seat for 2 hours like few films I've seen lately. Universal's DVD also provides one of the best audio presentations I've ever heard.

7. Magnolia Although it's unfortunate that director Paul Thomas Anderson didn't provide one of his usual famed commentary tracks, the phenomenal 75 minute documentary that takes us onto the set provides all the details we could want to know about the making of the film. New Line also provides one of their usual fantastic presentations in terms of audio/video.

8. Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies Although it doesn't have anything besides the presentation, what a presentation it is - 2 DVDs worth, with the director providing a tour through film history.

9. Men In Black: LE Tristar continues to make advancements in their special features with the very cool editing feature and other parts of this presentation.

10. Independence Day Although the extras are a bit "promotional", the film is basically fun and entertaining, and the audio presentation is definitely explosive.

Honorable Mentions: "Legends Of The Fall: Special Edition", "Braveheart",

Best Sound:

1. U-571: The movie is an assault and the audio matches it step-for-step, providing a hugely agressive experience from the most subtle sounds of the boat to depth charges exploding furiously all around you. A stunning presentation.

2. Twister: Warner's special edition provides both DTS and Dolby Digital audio; both are floor-shaking reminders of how powerful this film's audio is.

3. The Haunting(DTS): I'm still going to say that Jan De Bont's horror film is scary in that "so bad it's scary" way, but the sound design of the film is still one that is highly entertaining, and the DTS version really amplifies the scares that the sound is able to provide, occasionally hitting with some very powerful bass.

4. Independence Day: The classic audio presentation was brought to DVD from Fox earlier this year, and the experience of some of the film's more intense sequences still is pretty amazing.

5. Prince Of Egypt(DTS): A mix of beautiful music and intense scenes provides a perfect pairing, sounding particularly good in DTS.

5.(tie) Mission Impossible:2: In terms of sound, certainly a high-energy presentation, although definitely more so in the second half of the film.

Best Picture Quality:

1. Toy Story 2
2. Perfect Storm
3. Pitch Black
4. Fight Club
5. Sleepy Hollow


Best Commentary:

1. Fight Club: Brad Pitt, David Fincher and Edward Norton team up to provide a discussion of the reaction to the film by audiences, chat about technical details and also to have fun. It proves to be one of the best commentaries in memory.

2. From Dusk Till Dawn/Switchblade Sisters: Quentin Tarantino returns : providing hilariously energetic discussion of both films, and also managing to overshadow both of the participants he was paired up with on these tracks. The "Switchblade" commentary proves his remarkable knowledge of 70's cinema.

3. Naked Gun: The film's creators re-team to provide an insanely funny discussion of the film as well as the sequels.

4. Toy Story 1/2: The Pixar crew takes us through an informative and frequently very funny look at the amazing work that went into bringing both pictures to the screen.

5. Secret Of Roan Inish: Director John Sayles provides a fascinating look at the making of his fantastic independent film.

Honorary Mentions: Michael Bay, "Bad Boys:SE"; Brad Pitt and Edward Zwick, "Legends Of The Fall:SE"; Oliver Stone, "Born On The 4th Of July:SE".; Jonathan Mostow, "U-571"; Sebastian Junger, "The Perfect Storm.

Most Overlooked:

1. Deterrence: Rod Lurie's latest film is now in theaters ("The Contender"), but his first feature was extremely overlooked. Kevin Pollack plays a president trapped in a snowstorm who must make an enormous decision when war is threatened. A small film that constantly brings up the tension further.

2. Cradle Will Rock: Although Tim Robbins' latest directorial effort hardly got a response at the box office, nor did Disney provide much of a DVD effort, it's still an enjoyable enough drama to be worth a rental.

3. Beavers: IMAX Who would have thought that one of the most entertaining IMAX films I've ever seen involves a group of these animals? Stephen Low's popular large-format feature translates well to the small screen, where Image Entertainment's DVD provides great picture and sound quality.

Honorable mention: "Waking The Dead".

Best Other Format:

1. Beavers: IMAX - Stephen Low's film brings us into an incredible close up as these creatures go about their daily lives; it proves to be much more interesting and entertaining than one might think.

2. Stargaze: Alpha DVD and DVD International have provided one of the most interesting programs I've seen - views from the hubble telescope with interactive features that provide details about what we're watching, or if you like - sit back and listen to some relaxing music in Dolby Digital or DTS

3. Dolphins: IMAX - The latest IMAX DVD release from Image Entertainment proves to be another success; the film provides an impressive wealth of information on the creatures while proving to be quite entertaining at the same time. Sting's music is great and Pierce Brosnan provides the narration. In DTS or Dolby Digital.

Best Music Program:

1. James Brown: Live at the House Of Blues: James Brown whips around the stage like a ball of fire going through his greatest hits with unbelievable intensity and energy. Great picture quality and audio in Dolby Digital or DTS.

2. Santana: Supernatural Live: Excellent audio presentation and a fine concert from Santana and friends.

3. Dave Matthews Band: Listener Supported: A fine show, along with some additional features such as multiple angles.

Best Documentary Extra:

- "Under Pressure": Making Of "The Abyss": Although the "Magnolia" documentary is very close, this additional feature on the second disc of "The Abyss" provides a dramatic look at one of the most challenging productions in recent years, taking a very up-close-and-personal look at the enormous obstacles that the cast and crew faced.


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