With the next home-entertainment format being prepped for an unfortunate, ill-timed and ill-planned blitz on movie fans' wallets, the window for studios to drain every last DVD dime from their catalogs is shrinking fast. Ever vigilant against such losses, the studios have flooded store shelves with double-dips in a variety of flavors, some tastier than others. And with titles like "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
- The Little Black Book Edition" scheduled for 2006, this trend doesn't seem likely to stop anytime soon. Thus, resigned to a fate of "The Even Bootiest-er Edition," let's take a look back at the year in double-dips, including the good, the bad and the just plain lame.
Note: I think it's worth mentioning that Warner Brothers is responsible for four of the Top 10 best double-dips and none of the disappointments, while Universal is to blame for five of the disappointments, and none of the best double-dips. Congratulations and jeers go out accordingly.
Top 10 Double Dips
1. The Wizard of Oz: Three-Disc Collector's Edition
One of the classic family films, The Wizard of Oz belongs on the shelf of every person who owns a DVD player. No matter who you are, this timeless story has something to appeal to you, be you midwest soccer mom or Tribeca cinephile. Considering the original disc came out way back in 1999, it was quite nice, making the job of impressing DVD buyers harder for this new version. But impress it did, with a three-disc set that boasted one of the single most beautiful restoration jobs ever, an impressive set of retrospective extras and an excellent assortment of other interpretations of Frank L. Baum's book. Throw some well-made collectibles into the case and you've got what is likely to remain the definitive DVD release of this film.
Review by Scott Weinberg
2. Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997
Most any fan of Batman looked at this big box set with at least a bit of pause, thanks to the presence of the two non-Tim Burton films, especially the awful Batman and Robin. So it was certainly a nice surprise when buyers found the films were treated for what they are: unpopular visual spectacles. Very honest, and even critical views of the series were shared, while all four films look and sound outstanding. A wealth of new bonus material, including the in-depth "Shadows of the Bat" multi-part documentary, made this an easy upgrade for Bat-fans, who had been looking to ditch their bare-bones editions for over eight years.
Review by Francis Rizzo III
3. The Twilight Zone: Seasons 1-3 - The Definitive Edition
Is there a more abused fan in DVD land than the Twilight Zone folk? (Perhaps the Trekkies...) After being sold volume after random volume of episodes, over 40 in all, at a rather hefty price each, these fans were then offered lower prices which many jumped at to complete their collections. Of course, that was followed by these beauties, which though infuriating for those invested in the original volumes, is exciting for fans of the show. These sets are loaded to the gills with tremendously valuable and varied bonus material, and more importantly, feature improved transfers that look better than one might expect for a show of this age. Any of the first three seasons would have made this list on its own, but to be fair to the rest of the industry, I've combined them.
Review by das Monkey
4. Frank Miller's Sin City: Recut & Extended EditionWhen Sin City was released in August with just a few minor extras, most everyone knew to expect a blow-out special edition soon (but then, we're still waiting on Ocean's 12.) That special edition didn't take too long, as just four months later, we were blessed with this two-disc wonder, complete with one of Miller's graphic novels. A recut version of the film that separates the film's interwomen tales is just one of many reasons to double-dip on this one, as it includes an excellent spread of bonus features, including Robert Rodriguez' now-traditional Film School and Cooking School featurettes.
Review by Randy Miller III
Though technically not a double-dip (the first two releases were by Fox Lorber and Wellspring), Criterion's release of Akira Kurosawa's classic masterpiece represents the good that such second (and third) chances can bring. The two-disc edition includes a wide assortment of extras that provide an education on both the film and Kurosawa, along with one of Criterion's standard great booklets and, best of all, the most impressive transfer the film's ever seen.
Review by Stuart Galbraith IV
6. Raging Bull: Special Edition
This is the set that gives hope to those who have a favorite Criterion laserdisc that's yet to make it to DVD. MGM upgraded their previous boring release, by adding three commentary tracks, including a Martin Scorsese chat that was licensed from everyone's favorite niche DVD studio. That alone would make this an attractive second helping of Bull, but a second disc with almost two hours of featurettes, interviews and newsreels makes this an upgrade that's hard to not make.
Review by Preston Jones
7. The Outsiders: The Complete Novel
So many clssic books are eclipsed by the film adaptation, but this is one special edition that looked to fix that problem. Improving on the original snapper-encased bare-bones release, this new two-disc version presents a new edit of the film that follows the novel more closely, with a new soundtrack and a bevy of extras that are focused on the book, including excellent commentaries, a featurette on author S.E. Hinton and readings by the main cast. Finally, a DVD good enough to show in English class.
Reviews by Preston Jones and DVD Savant
8. Malcolm X: Special Edition
This two-disc collection is hardly the ideal DVD, with an film that's spread across two discs with an oddly-timed split, a commentary cobbled together from solo sources, and a list of extras that hardly look impressive. Of course, quantity rarely trumps quality, and that's still true here. Combining the fictionalized biography that is Spike Lee's excellent film with a 90-minute documentary on the man himself delivers as close to a total package as one could hope for. Any time you get material worthy of two separately releases in one, it's a value. When the material is of the quality seen in this set, it's a must-upgrade.
Review by Gil Jawetz
9. Titanic: Special Collector's EditionSix years after underwhelming DVD fans with a no-effort release of one of the biggest films of all time, Paramount finally graced us with a DVD worth actually owning. Spreading the film over two platters to ensure the highest audio and video quality possible, there's plenty of space for the multitude of extras that are not only plentiful, but also meaningful, taking viewers deep into the story and the making of the movie, with many featurettes, informative commentaries and deleted scenes. A movie this big, this acclaimed and this...well, big, deserved a presentation like this, and Paramount got it right when they eventually delivered.
Review by DVD Savant
10. Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
Whether you fancy the more ambiguous nature of the original film or the more fleshed-out feel of the director's version, there's no doubt that this was a highly-anticipated release among the movie's fan base. That anticipation was in large part due to the inclusion of the ultimate cut of the movie, including the film's original music, but also because of the audio commentary, featuring writer/director Richard Kelly, with fanboy-god Kevin Smith acting as moderator. A great behind-the-scenes featurette, some bits that play to the film's status as an object of cult affection and a lack of repetition from the first DVD, help make this into discs two and three of a three-part complete collection for Darko-maniacs.
Reviews by Aaron Beierle and Jason Bovberg
Honorable Mention: Ben-Hur Four-Disc Collector's Edition, Gladiator: Extended Edition, The Frighteners: Unrated Director's Cut, Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition, To Kill a Mockingbird: Legacy Series
Bottom 5 Double-Dip Gimmicks
When you've got some inventory to move or a chance to tie-in with a new release, what's a DVD studio to do? Slap a gimmick on your disc, that's what.
5. The Brat Pack Movie and Music Collection
Universal spent more on the binder and sampler CD than the discs themselves
4. Miss Congeniality: Deluxe Edition
If a CD soundtrack...for the sequel...doesn't get people excited, add promos for the sequel.
3. Edward Scissorhands: Collectible Tin Anniversary Tin
It's got pictures!
2. Big Fish: Special Edition with Book
Reading is fun-damental
1. Saw: Uncut
I swear I had a Trapper Keeper that looked just like this.
Top 10 Double-Dip Disappointments
1. Office Space: Special Edition...with Flair!
With its spot as one of the most popular DVDs out there, despite it being a bare-bones disc, Office Space was a guaranteed double-dip at some point. When it finally came out, with a meager featurette and some deleted scenes, there were plenty of Milton fans who felt cheated. Sure, it was finally in anamorphic widescreen, but everything else about this set makes it seem like "...with MORE flair" is coming soon. Of course, if you were willing to shill out more cash, you could grab the gimmick-filled gift set.
Reviews by Randy Miller III and Aaron Beierle
2. The Brat Pack Movie and Music Collection
Taked three beloved teen films, improve their quality, add no extras and call them the High School Reunion Collection. Result: sell plenty of DVDs. For an encore, take those exact same discs, put them in a three-ring binder and add a CD of '80s music. Result: nothing but disappointment for fans hoping to see their favorite movies get a fully-packed DVD.
Review by Francis Rizzo III
3. The Jerk: 26th Anniversary EditionSure, Steve Martin doesn't draw the kids the way he once did, but there are plenty of DVD dollars out there to spend on DVDs of his old movies. So why, when it came time to revisit one of his greatest films, if not the greatest, did The Jerk get treated like crap? Instead of producing some fun retrospective featurettes or an informative, entertaining commentary, the disc delivered an insult in the form of a ukelele lesson, a deleted scene and the film's trailer. While I can get the idea of matching the film's stupidity with a 26th-anniversary release, somehow, based on the rest of the disc, I doubt it was planned that way.
Review by Scott Weinberg
4. The Big Lebowski: Collector's Edition/Achiever's EditionIt may be a Coen Brothers film, but how does that explain the nice special edition made for Fargo? What we get here in the Collector's Edition, is a somewhat improved presentation, and not much else. Of course, you could spend a bit more cash for the Achiever's Edition and get...not much else. Unless of course you needed coasters and a bowling towel. Once again, a cult classic gets the shaft, despite a loyal fan base.
Review by Randy Miller III
5. The Producers: Deluxe Edition
Deluxe Edition? Apparently, turning a flipper disc into a two-disc set is good enough for Deluxe status now. After all, that's all this set does. There's no improvement to the quality or the extras. All you get is the opportunity to not get smudges on your disc. After the reused Mel Brooks' commentary on the Spaceballs double-dip, this probably shouldn't have been a surprise. The only positive is the fact that Universal is releasing the new film, thus sparing us the usual upcoming-film whoring.
Review by Scott Weinberg
6. Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Edition
After Dogma and Clerks X, the bar was set mighty high in terms of Kevin Smith double-dips. To say that the anniversary re-release of Mallrats doesn't clear it would be an understatement. Being the black sheep of the Smith canon, and a non-Miramax release, it doesn't get the treatment it should, though there are two extras that are entertaining. But when stacked up against some of the other Smith DVDs, especially the fantastic X release, it can hardly satisfy the faithful.
Reviews by Francis Rizzo III and Aaron Beierle
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Special 2-Disc Collector's Edition
If you're like most savvy DVD fans, you took one look at the decent first release of this movie and thought, maybe a double-dip is coming (a safe bet with basically every DVD now.) If you did, you were also disappointed, thanks to a double-dip that added precious little. Admittedly, some of what was added is interesting, but there's not nearly enough for such a critically-acclaimed film. Even worse, there was a total of three months between releases, which makes it an unashamed grab for cash.
Review by Jason Bovberg
Bottom 5 Editions
8. The Muppets 50th Anniversary DVDs
With a "Fun and Flirty Edition" of 13 Going on 30 on the way, the market for dumb DVD names seems to be only growing. This year was certainly a bumper crop.
5. Tommy Boy: Holy Schnike Edition
4. Airplane: The "Don't Call Me Shirley" Edition
3. Half-Baked: The Fully Baked Edition
2. The Longest Yard: The Lockdown Edition
1. Office Space: Special Edition...with Flair!
Pretend you're Disney for a moment. You've got one of the most beloved properties in children's entertainment history in The Muppets, and it's the 50th anniversary of the characters. Obviously, you create some extensive DVDs to celebrate the occasion. Well, obviously, if you aren't Disney. If you're Disney, you put the same old films out on DVD, with no improvement in quality and even take away extras in some cases. Way to go, Disney. Someone needs to remind them the felt puppets aren't the competition anymore.
Review by Todd Douglass Jr.
9. The Truman Show: Special Edition
Another Jim Carrey film, another critically-acclaimed movie, another disappointing double-dip. The new version is anamorphic and adds some extras, but when you have a movie like this, which is not only great, but also has a place in pop-culture history, you need to put in more of an effort. This film not only introduced a different, more serious Carrey to audiences (hello featurette idea!), but also heralded the coming wave of reality TV. If that's not worth spending some disc space on, in addition to what equals just over an hour of bonus material, what is?Review by Randy Miller III
10. The Warriors: The Ultimate Director's Cut
As more and more people discovered the '70s classic, it became more and more likely that a double-dip would be following the bare-bones edition. 2005 delivered on that promise four years later, but didn't do it the way fans hoped for. Sure, the image and sound is improved, and the extras are enjoyable, but the film is not the original film, and that original film is no longer offered by Paramount. In its place is a hybrid that represents the director's vision, but not the film fans fell in love with. That's never acceptable.
Review by Ian Jane