Here we go again. Kicking off my Top 10 year-end lists for 2013, here are my Top 10 Blu-rays. These are films that I have been able to really dig into and see them as easy recommendations for anyone with the greatest home media format currently available. The following list is a set of films that I consider to be some of the best that the Blu-ray format has had to offer for this year. Much like the previous years, I stayed true to some rules; I have to have actually watched the movie on Blu-Ray, recognize it for its quality video and audio transfers, delved into the special features, and attempt to keep off any film on this list that may also be on my “Top 10 Films of the Year” list. This year that may or may not be the case (with one big exception). I followed these rules for the sake of keeping my list interesting, so here we go:
Special Mentions: Because there were so many releases, I created a few subcategories to help divide things up and make fair mention to other Blu-rays worth checking out.
TV On Blu-ray: Every year always has some great television shows receive some great Blu-ray sets to compliment them and that is once again the case this year. Here are some of the television shows from this year with great Blu-ray sets:
Breaking Bad: The Complete Collection, Furturama: Volume 8 (Review), Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season, The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air, Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special, Spartacus: War of the Damned: The Complete Third Season (Review)
Criterion Collection on Blu-ray: Once again, there are plenty of great releases from Criterion and I just can’t separate them all that easily. Here are my favorite Criterion Blu-ray releases from this year:
Scream Factory on Blu-ray: As some may be well aware from all of fellow Why So Blu writer Brandon Peter’s posts, it’s been a pretty fantastic year for the company that parallels Criterion, as far as cult favorite genre films go. Here are my favorite Scream Factory Blu-ray releases from this year:
The Top 10:
10. The Wolverine: Unleashed Extended Edition (Review) – I have made it quite clear that The Wolverine was my favorite superhero film of 2013 and I am glad that the Blu-ray release was not only pretty stellar, but actually supplies another cut of the film that improves upon the theatrical version in ways greater than just added bloodshed and F-bombs (though that is fun). The Blu-ray has all the right kind of special features I’d like to see for a film like this and the film looks and sounds fantastic, as it should. Additionally, the Best Buy Exclusive edition of this Blu-ray features some pretty awesome packaging, complete with some additional cards with character art. Even if one does not get the Best Buy edition though, The Wolverine came home on Blu-ray in fine form.
“A lot of people have tried to kill me… and I’m still here.” (Order HERE)
9. Life of Pi: 3D Collecor’s Edition (Review) – Life of Pi narrowly missed my Top 10 Film’s list from last year, but I do really love that film and was very happy to see Ang Lee win a Best Director Oscar for it. The Blu-ray is another solid release from Fox, as it manages to really deliver on allowing an audience to get a great look at the visuals, from within their own home and ideally still feel the impact. The 3D disc is great for both providing the viewer with a great 3D film to watch and also features another set of extras to dig into as well. The rest of the extras present really do a good job of exploring the film more as well, which is nice, since a commentary track would have been the only thing to put this film higher on my list.
“If it happened, it happened. Why should it have to mean anything?” (Order HERE)
8. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Deluxe Edition – One of the greatest Batman stories every written (my personal favorite) has been turned into a 2 part animated film and this Deluxe Edition Blu-ray combines both parts and makes for one of the ultimate Batman experiences to watch. I love how Frank Miller’s story and the art from that comic has made its way into animated film form and it does a great job of feeling like its own thing, rather than just a motion comic, with a bit more fluidity. The voice cast was strong as well, even without some of the standard animated Batman voice actors involved. Add to that a packed special features section, which includes a full audio commentary, a great documentary about the original comic, and plenty more. I only wish I didn’t have to double dip to get this complete set, but this is still a pretty amazing release for Batman and Blu-ray fans.
“You don’t get it, son. This isn’t a mud hole. It’s an operating table. And I’m the surgeon.” (Order HERE)
7. Skyfall (Review) – The biggest Bond film of all time came to Blu-ray in spectacular fashion. Given how much acclaim Roger Deakins received for his cinematography on the film, it is only right that the video presentation of the film be damn near flawless and it is. This film continues to look amazing at home, but it has so much more to offer as well, as the audio is amazing, and there are plenty of extras, including two commentary tracks and a look at a lot of different aspects of the making of the film. Along with that, you have the film itself, which is just a great Bond action movie all around. Given that James Bond has always been a great experience at home (see the individual releases or the fantastic complete set), it was no surprise that Skyfall received great treatment as well.
“Some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.” (Order HERE)
6. The Producers: Collector’s Edition (Review) – One of the greatest comedies ever made received a pretty great Blu-ray release from Shout Factory this year. The Mel Brook’s classic continues to make me chuckle and this new Blu-ray provides even more reason to enjoy it, as it features a really good, in depth documentary, as well as a few other new features that were quite satisfying as well. It really comes down to the film though, and along with this 1968 film looking and sounding better than ever, it is just a great comedy through and through.
“I’m in pain and I’m wet and I’m still hysterical!” (Order HERE)
5. Nosferatu: Kino Classics 2-Disc Deluxe Remastered Edition – Last year I was taken by surprise by Kino’s release of Die Nibelungen (which made my 2012 list). This year I was a bit more on the ball in anticipating their release of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, the 1922 silent classic, which was an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Along with being one of the greatest horror films ever made, it is the perfect kind of film to have on Blu-ray, as you can really see how interesting the filmmaking is with this glorious new transfer. Film buffs and Blu-ray fanatics will especially love getting the original German edition of this film, as well as digging into the fair amount of extras that come with this release.
“Is this your wife? What a lovely throat.” (Order HERE)
4. Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition (Review) – I love Halloween. It is one of my favorite movies and despite there being several releases of this film over the years, this 35th Anniversary Edition gives us the best look yet at the film, as the brand new restoration makes the John Carpenter classic look amazing. The addition of Jamie Lee Curtis to the bonus features, both in terms of a very entertaining commentary track with Carpenter and another interesting documentary only adds more to appreciate about this awesome Blu-ray package. Really though, I just love this movie. It is another one of the greatest horror films ever made and it finally has a great Blu-ray release, from a video/audio perspective especially, to really treat (rather than trick) it right.
“Was it the boogeyman?” (Order HERE)
3. The Right Stuff: 30th Anniversary Edition – Those that have followed me on Twitter might have seen this coming. This might be the only Blu-ray on this list where the film outweighs everything else involved with this disc, but with that said, The Right Stuff is not only finally on Blu-ray, but the disc is great too! This is one of the releases I have been hoping for since the Blu-ray format became a big part of my life and it has finally happened. For a 3+ hour film, the video transfer still manages to look great, which gives you an idea of the power that can be held on a single Blu-ray disc. The film sounds great as well, which is a huge deal for a film like The Right Stuff. All of the extras may have come from the previous DVD release, but they are all here and they are still very worthwhile. The Right Stuff is a favorite film of mine and perfect for this format, so I am very glad to finally have it at home to enjoy whenever I want.
“Hey, Ridley, ya got any Beeman’s?” (Order HERE)
2. The Cornetto Trilogy – So here is where I managed to find a loophole around my own system. While The World’s End may end up on my Top 10 Films list, a complete collection of The Cornetto Trilogy will not. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are two of my favorite films and The World’s End only gets better and may rise up to that level as well (I’ve seen it 5 times so far). Now there is one complete bundle, which has all three films in one set and all three of them are fantastic Blu-rays. Each have multiple commentaries, extensive behind-the-scenes coverage, deleted/alternate scenes, gag reels, and plenty more. They also all look and sound great, which comes from effort to capture the energetic directorial style of Edgar Wright, along with the great use of music and sound effects in each film. Wright’s films continue to really push the Blu-ray format to their fullest and I am happy to have gotten into all of the goodies contained on all of these discs.
“Nothing that has been suggested in the last 10 minutes beats ‘smashy smashy egg men’.” (Order HERE)
1. Pacific Rim (Review) – In forming this list, the most difficult thing was coming up with the rankings of these Blu-rays, which is mostly arbitrary, as they are all great discs/collections. I was very close to just going with an alphabetical list and being done with it. It comes down to a majority of the “must have” franchise sets already being released at this point, but with that said, I still had to ask myself what I want in a Blu-ray. All of these choices reflect my answer and Pacific Rim just feels right to me, as far as a number one selection goes. As expected, the film looks and sounds amazing. I already know the movie is a lot of fun in a very satisfying way and it continues to be, but the real difference on Blu-ray came in something I was not expecting. The film actually looked better at home. Minus the grandeur and scope that comes from the theatrical experience, the world that Guillermo Del Toro and his team created in this film is actually easier to observe on Blu-ray. That may come from the darkened experience from 3D in the theaters effecting the look of the film, but there is so much detail that comes through on this Blu-ray, along with plenty to enjoy with regards to the special features, that are a standard must-watch/listen to for all of Del Toro’s film. All of this encompasses why I enjoy the Blu-ray format as much as I do, along with the joy that comes from an original summer blockbuster, indebted to other films/anime/manga yes, but something that reflects the kind of fun you can have at the theater and now at home.
“Wait. I think we took this guy out. But just to be safe, we better check for a pulse.” (Order HERE)
Honorable Mentions: Here is the rest. I have plenty more Blu-rays to put on the record as great Blu-rays to check out. I will also start by putting out special mention to Man of Steel (Review), which is not a film I love and the only real reason that I had to keep it out of my Top 10, as the Blu-ray (that I borrowed) is pretty stellar. Here are the rest of the honorable mentions:
Big: 25th Anniversary Edition, Cloud Atlas (Review), Elysium (Review), Fast & Furious 6, The Fugitive: 20th Anniversary Edition (Review), Oblivion (Review), Robin Hood 40th Anniversary Edition, This Is The End, Who Framed Roger Rabit?: 25th Anniversary Edition (Review), Wreck-It Ralph (Review), Willow (Review)