A lot of releases are going Digital these days, but there are still plenty of movies that are totally worth owning, either because they look pretty on a shelf or because they come with a slew of gadgets and features that any fan can get on board with. This year several big movies and TV programs put together some outstanding sets that would make perfect gifts for various loved ones. We’ve gone through this year’s outstanding sets and put together a list of the best Blu-ray and DVD experiences that were released this year. Check out our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide, below, and let us know if you’ve already bought any one of these expensive beauties for someone you really, really like.
The Walking Dead Season 5 Limited Edition Blu-rayYou may already own a copy of Season 5 of The Walking Dead. And that’s okay. If you don’t or wouldn’t mind buying another, we’re here to tell you Anchor Bay Home Entertainment’s The Walking Dead Season 5 Limited Edition set is where it’s at. The big extra is obviously the "Asphalt Walker" case, which you can see in the above image. It’s truly a perfectly awesome/ disgusting addition to anyone’s living room. Once you pop it out of its foam packaging, you’ll find it slides open, leaving the perfect space for your collectible Blu-ray. It’s not just the packaging you’ll love with the Limited Edition. The Blu-ray itself is chock full of goodies. There are six audio commentaries, which is not always awesome, but when it includes information about Shaun of the Dead references and more, they are a lot more exciting.
Who It’s Right For: AMC subscribers, cool people, Robert Kirkman lovers, people who read graphic novels and like corresponding TV shows, literally like a giant chunk of the population.
Jurassic World 3D Limited Edition Gift SetJurassic World made over a billion dollars this year, so theoretically there are plenty of people out there who would benefit from this solid gift set. While the 3D Blu-ray is only needed if you own a 3D TV, a Blu-ray, Digital and DVD copy of the movie are included inside of cute paper sleeves enmeshed in a steelbook case, so it even if the 3D is an unwanted extra, there’s still a lot to like. There’s even a paper stand if you want to display your love for the megahit right out in the open rather than on a corner of a shelf. The Jurassic World Limited Edition is also a gift set, and here’s where the flipping cool part comes in. A collectible Indominouos Rex and Tyrannosaurus Rex come with the set. They are heavy, legit-looking and even come with a certificate of authenticity. In addition, they double as bookends. I’d go into detail about all of the additional bonus features on the disc, but if all this hasn’t sold you, I’m not sure what would. Order Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s set here.
Who It’s Right For: Jurassic World fans obviously, but also anyone who likes a big blockbuster and enjoys memorabilia from movies. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy just looking at these dinosaurs on my shelf every day and I’m not even the target audience for this sort of thing. Your loved one will, too.
Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2 Collection Blu-rayWhen Marvel completed Phase One of its Cinematic Universe with Joss Whedon’s The Avengers in 2012, the milestone was celebrated with the release of a huge limited edition box set - shaped like the suitcase containing the Tesseract and filled with both movies and plenty of goodies. Now, three years later, Phase Two has come to an end, and the studio has once again marked the occasion with another wonderful set that all comic book movie aficionados will want to own.
While it does admittedly come with a hefty price tag – currently available for pre-order at $184.99 – the set not only includes the optimal home video version of every Phase Two movie (including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Solider, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man), but bonuses that devotees will love. Impressive props include everything from a "Jarvis Is My Co-Pilot" bumper sticker to Michael Pena’s Pym Technologies ID; a bonus disc includes never-before-seen deleted scenes and featurettes previewing the future of the MCU; and it all comes packaged together in an awesome replica of the orb from Guardians. If you have any Marvel fans on your gift list this year, and you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks, this is the set to buy. Order it or check out more info.
Who It’s Right For: Anyone in your life who has seriously argued about whether or not Thor can take on The Hulk in a fight. (Contributed by Eric Eisenberg)
Back To The Future The Complete Adventures Blu-rayBack To The Future is one of the greatest franchises in Hollywood history. It’s the perfect blend of comedy, drama, romance, adventure and fantasy. It has a little something for everyone, which is why, thirty years after the first film was released, fans still cherish the flicks, and in time, they will cherish this gorgeous Blu-ray set too. Featuring all three movies, the complete animated series, deleted scenes, dozens of hours of special features, a gorgeous book and even a front cover that lights up, this Back To The Future The Complete Adventure Set is a huge win for any hardcore fans of the trilogy in your life, or the rare weirdo you might know who still hasn’t experienced the joy of Robert Zemeckis’ classic films. It’s typically never a good idea to buy someone Blu-ray of something they’ve never seen before, let alone a set, but since I haven’t met a single person ever who doesn’t at least love the first film, I think it’s probably a safe play. You can grab it over at Amazon.
Who It’s Right For: Back To The Future is perfect for the person in your life who can’t get enough of 80s nostalgia and/ or worships the ground Michael J Fox walks on. This person may or may not have dressed up as Doc Brown for Halloween one year and says random things like, "We don’t need roads."
Star Wars Steelbook Blu-raysThere are a lot of Star Wars releases out in the universe, but the Steelbook Blu-ray collection of the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy look really sleek on any shelf. The black cases shockingly stand out when compared to a regular Blu-ray and the raised font on the cases adds a little bit of extra detail, as do the images printed on the steel in the inside of the case. Not only are the individual movies cool, this is the first time A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith have been released individually on Blu-ray. So, if you’d like to upgrade to nicer picture or nab one more flick for your collection, the steelbooks are the way to go. The audio commentaries are all throwback rather than new features and it’s not the untouched trilogy, but these standalones are still a great value.
There are other Star Wars series Blu-rays around, including full sets, but the steelbooks from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment are only available in a limited edition, and they are fabulous. Order them here.
Who It’s Right For: Present Star Wars fans, future Star Wars fans. Anyone who is not the girl who is busy "liking cool things and being attractive."
30 For 30 Season 2 Films 31-60 DVDWhen 30 For 30 first premiered, no one knew quite what to expect. HBO and to a lesser extent, ESPN, had earlier found some success with documentaries, but those were seemingly very controlled in-house efforts. These new ones involved putting a measure of trust in random filmmakers who had stories to tell. Fortunately, the gamble paid off, and now, here we are, with ESPN releasing a beautiful gift set for Season 2 of 30 For 30. Thankfully, this one knocks it out of the park too. Touching on incredible stories like the rise of the Detroit Pistons (Bad Boys) and the Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan debacle (The Price Of Gold), each episode tells an incredible story that works well for both hardcore sports fans and those who are simply interested in human drama. It’s a great set and it can be purchased here.
Who It’s Right For: Major sports fans, obviously. But the 30 for 30 documentaries are so varied in their topics and so well done that casual sports fans should find a lot to like here, too. Just don’t order this set for the person who is always volunteering to get food for everyone at sports events.
Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th Anniversary Blu-rayWe all know The Rocky Horror Picture Show wasn’t a big hit when it was first released, but rapidly became a cult following in the subsequent years, with performances from fans and plenty of audience interaction during the screenings. Forty years later, the screenings are more of a fun throwback event than a forward-thinking trend, but that doesn’t make them any less fun, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th Anniversary Blu-ray features that same campy wonder. You can literally rip open Dr. Frankenfurter’s corset top on the front of the box to reveal more details inside. Once you slide it open, the Blu-ray and some props get you reading for your own viewing party. With this set it’s fishnets and rubber gloves, so you’ll have to provide your own toast and toilet paper. The right friend or family member is going to love this. Buy your own copy here.
Who It’s Right For: Anyone who knows the lyrics to "Time Warp" could probably dig it, but anyone who knows the lyrics to "Sweet Transvestite" will definitely dig it. And if you need a weird gift for a theater-loving pal, this might be your best bet this year.
Game Of Thrones Steelbook Blu-rayThere’s something about a steelbook that is a little more exciting than a regular Blu-ray. Fans needn’t worry about flimsy plastic packaging or the abrasive blue color of the Blu-ray detracting from the movie or TV show’s marketing. Like the Star Wars sets, this season HBO Home Entertainment put together some ridiculously good-looking Blu-ray releases. Seasons 1 and 2 both come with cases that look like various houses that are prominent in the series, and both come with features. Just to make sure that people get their toys, magnets are include with both the Season 1 and Season 2 sets with the sigils of the Starks and the Lannisters. The sound on these sets implements new technology if you’ve already bought in and there are other cool goodies that were included on other Blu-ray sets. more info on the Season 1 and Season 2 sets is available, and they can also already be ordered.
Who It’s Right For: Those who like HBO, those who like fantasy, those who enjoy delving into morally grey areas, plus anyone who can hum this.
The Bombs, Babes & Blockbusters Of Cannon Films DVDWarner Bros. Home Entertainment has put together some seriously weird DVD sets this year, and among them is The Bombs, Babes & Blockbusters, a Cannon Films collection. While this set is essentially comprised of a bunch of different DVD releases and thrown together into one big case with a funky cover. It doesn’t stand up to a lot of the other details, but it does have one big thing going for it: Where else can you find Cobra, Missing in Action, Invasion U.S.A., The Delta Force, Masters of the Universe, Bloodsport, Over the Top, The Hitman, and Hellhound in one neat case? The answer is, you can’t, so you should just go ahead and purchase this one, especially since it won’t break the bank. Order the Cannon Films collection here.
Who It’s Right For: Action fans. Sylvester Stallone fans, Dolph Lundgren fans, Chuck Norris fans, those who like campy movies, people who still haven’t switched over to Blu-ray or Digital technology. Etc. Etc.
If you'd like to take a look at other releases hitting shelves this month, you can check out the December 2015 DVD and Blu-ray releases, here.