The Stack: Holiday Gift Guide 2014, Universal Home Entertainment Box Sets
And the deluge continues. Universal Home Entertainment sent a few box sets. The Office The Complete Series offers all nine seasons of the show in one handy relatively small box, each side of which offers a different cast portrait. It's a simple cardboard affair, solid but nothing special. Of course at this point it's hard to see this a anything other than a double dip though the current price of $87.00 bucks on Amazon means that you get each season and all the extras brand new with a slipcase for significantly under $10.00 a piece. If only it were blu-ray.
The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection is also a solid value. If you don't have these films already you'd be hard pressed to do better - on DVD anyway. I won't list them all here but every single film featuring Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Phantom of the Opera, is included. At under a $100 US you are getting a per film deal , a brand new slipcase, 48-Page collectible booklet and a ton of extras.
Universal even included Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man (1951) and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955). Sadly Abbott and Costello Meet The Killer (1949) and Abbot and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953) weren't included as they weren't universal films even though us die-hards see them as part of the Abbot and Costello meet the monsters canon. Also not included are the myriad of other Universal horror films produced during this same period that just didn't happen to feature one of the studios iconographic creatures.
Lastly comes the set that thrilled me the most. The Steven Spielberg Director's Collection offers Duel (1971), The Sugarland Express (1974), Jaws (1975), 1941 (1979) E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Always (1989), Jurassic Park (1993), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) on glorious blu-ray.
First the quibbles. This is a hard purchase for anyone who's been waiting for Duel and Sugarland Express and 1941 to hit blu-ray as they are only available as part of a nice but expensive box set. It could also be said that both Jurassic Park films feel like filler here. They could have been axed in favor a smaller less expensive set for people who already have the others. As it is Universal includes all the films Spielberg helmed solely for them. The argument could also be made that the set offers a pretty good portrait of Spielberg as a populist director.
The good news though is undeniable. Making blu-ray debuts here are not only Duel and The Sugarland Express but the underrated Always and 1941. Also nice is the fact that all previous extras on the SEs of all the other films are included here. The packaging is a thick booklet style heavily illustrated and very sturdy.
Keep checking back. The Holiday Gift Guides are going to come fast and furious this year.