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We’re in a very reflective mood here at DVDActive. First, we heard from Chris Gould as he recounted the past year on DVD and gave us his ten favourites from a rather lackluster twelve months. He was then quickly followed by some of our other staff, namely Matt, Gabe, Ben and Bodhi, who proved how much of an eclectic bunch we are by listing a range of films in their top ten lists for the year.

Now it’s time to hear from the rest of us.

Pete Roberts

1. Frank Miller's Sin City: The Recut & Extended Edition (R1)
2. Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (R1)
3. A Very Long Engagement (R4) review
4. Heat: Special Edition (R1)
5. We Can Be Heroes (R4)
6. The Muppet Show: Season One (R1) review
7. Fraggle Rock: The Complete First Season (R1) review
8. Batman Begins: Deluxe Edition (R1)
9. Team America: World Police (Unrated) (R1) review
10. Before Sunset (R4) review

2006 Most Anticipated: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Match Point, The Producers, Capote

Sin City
Quite a range in this year’s list from me, though there are plenty of predictable titles which are deserving of their position. Managed to get my hands on a copy of the Sin City extended edition just in time to slot it in to top spot. It’s a great set for an adventurous film and there was no hesitation in giving the release my number one position. Mr. Alfred Hitchcock again finds a spot in my year-end list, this time with his MasterPiece Collection. While it may take a fair chunk of cash out of your wallet, this brilliant set is well worth having, and the best bit is there’s no doubling up so you can enjoy both the Signature and Masterpiece Collections without owning two copies of his films.

I’m quite possibly most proud to have A Very Long Engagement sitting at number three. I fell in love with this film in the cinema and the two-disc collection I had the pleasure of reviewing does the film the ultimate justice. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but for me it was a sure fire entry in the top ten list for 2005. The Special Edition of Heat was another no-brainer, with the classic action flick finally getting the treatment it deserves. Great to hear Michael Mann add his thoughts in the commentary track, while the rest of the extras really do add value to the package.

What’s this film at number five, you ask? Well, it’s not a film, rather a brilliant little television series from Australia. Created by comedian Chris Lilley, the series follows a group of five Australian of the Year contestants in mock-documentary style, with Lilley playing each and every one of the candidates. The content might be very uniquely Australian but anyone with a sense of humour should seek this one out right away. I’m glad to give it some international exposure in this year’s collection of triumphs.

The last five slots contain some of the more popular releases for the year, and rightly so. Jim Henson’s Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock have finally made it to our favourite format, while the quality of the Batman Begins and Team America sets can’t be ignored. The region four release of Before Sunset sneaks in at tenth spot on the back of the wonderful film alone.

I agree with most of the sentiments regarding 2005 as a year full of plenty of promise but a lot less quality than in previous years. 2006 should see plenty of action, with the likes of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Capote and The Producers ready for an early release. Match Point should be an interesting one too, and might just get me back on board the Woody Allen bandwagon, since I fell off many films ago. Bring on 2006.

Malcolm Campbell

1. Taegukgi (HK R3)
2. Dead Man's Shoes (R2)
3. Garden State (R1)
4. Napoleon Dynamite (R1)
5. Batman Begins: Deluxe Edition (R1)
6. House of Flying Daggers: Collectors Edition (HK R3) R1 review
7. Kung Fu Hustle: Limited Edition (HK R3) review
8. Memento Mori: Ultimate Edition (KN R3) R1 review
9. Saw: Uncut (R2)
10. Land of the Dead: Unrated (R1) review

2006 Most Anticipated:  Saw 2, Sympathy of Lady Vengeance , Howl's Moving Castle

Taegukgi
And now we have my wacky list for 2005. To be totally honest I have more or less stopped buying DVDs and only get the occasional unusual or genuinely limited edition, therefore some effort was required assembling a list of ten titles - a few were released last year but were unable to make it in time.

Top place goes to Taegukgi, this is a big budget South Korean film covering the Korean war; I guess it's a bit like Saving Private Ryan but I would place it somewhere above Spielberg's effort. The three films that follow it were mentioned as my most anticipated of 2005 and of course they were very good. And with Batman Begins I was seriously surprised that a studio movie could turn out that good. Kung Fu Hustle was great fun and Saw provided the gore/horror fix, Land of the Dead is the token zombie title of the year – not that it doesn't deserve the position.

The two best DVDs in terms of extras were House of Flying Daggers and Memento Mori. House of Flying Daggers included: a large glossy book, soundtrack CD, bamboo pen, DVD and was limited to just 2000 copies, so sold out within weeks. Memento Mori got a special six disc release featuring: the theatrical version, directors' cut, high definition version, soundtrack CD, lots of extra features like documentaries, and a disc containing the directors' short movies – the only problem was the extras weren't subtitled.

Rebecca Taylor

1. The Incredibles (R4)
2. The Frighteners: Special Edition Director's Cut (R4)
3. The Wizard of Oz: Special Edition (R1)
4. Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition (R4)
5. Fraggle Rock: The Complete First Season (R1) review
6. The Muppet Show: Season One (R1) review
7. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory: Deluxe Edition (R1)
8. Toy Story 2: Special Edition (R4)
9. Cinderella: Special Edition (R1)
10. Frank Miller's Sin City: The Recut & Extended Edition (R1)

2006 Most Aniticipated: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Bueller, Bueller Edition, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, All The President’s Men: Special Edition

2005 In Review
Ah, the joy of lists. At the start of a new year, you can’t help but look back and reminisce about all that has surpassed. So as I look back over 2005, I am surprised by how many titles from my DVD release wishlist (yes, another list), have seen the light of day.

Now, it’s not like me to follow the crowd, but first place has to go to The Indredibles. Simply put, this release was jam packed DVD perfection. However, THE most highly anticipated release for this reviewer comes in at second place, The Frighteners: Special Edition Director’s Cut. God Bless Peter Jackson, a man who was paying great attention to “supplementary materials” (or as we say around here, extras) even before the existence of DVD. Another year, another release of Toy Story, but no one should be complaining when such outstanding transfers and extras are available for the celebration of the 10th Anniversary.

Special Edition releases of The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella. Classic Bliss!

Henson fans like me were given a huge treat this year with the long wished for, and frequently requested first season sets of The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock. The Muppet release was certainly great, but the Fraggle Rock package was spectacular. Dazzling embossed packaging, comprehensive extras, better than could be hoped transfers; all complimented by the inclusion of a replica of Henson’s Fraggle notepad.

2006 is already looking amazing, with two releases in particular making this reviewer excited beyond description. A special edition of Ferris Bueller in January (I’m counting the days!), and a long overdue special edition of All The President’s Men in February. Both of these are destined to be on my 2006 top ten list before they are even released.

Peter Martin

1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (R2) R1 review
2. The Truman Show: Special Edition (R1)
3. The Simpsons: Season Six (R2)
4. Red Dwarf VI (R2)
5. 24: Season Four (R2) review
6. The Bourne Supremacy (R2) review
7. Extras (R2)
8. Leon - The Professional (Deluxe Edition) (R1) review
9. Saw (R2)
10. Collateral (R2)

2006 Most Aniticipated:  Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

2005 In Review
It didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that there’s been a distinct lack of quality movie discs this year. After being underwhelmed by Batman Begins and War of the Worlds and bored by Sin City (yes, really) there were rather a lot of spaces up for grabs in my top ten. In the absence of decent movies, it’s fallen to the TV boxed sets to drag this list into the realms of respectability. The recent DVDs of Red Dwarf, 24 and The Simpsons continued these wonderful collections in style, while the team behind The Office (namely Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant) offered an enjoyable follow-up in Extras.

The Truman Show and Leon have always been two of my favourite movies but the previous releases were near-vanilla. The region one re-releases of both films managed to right some wrongs with detailed documentaries and good presentation. Neither disc is as special as ‘special editions’ should be, but they’re both worthy of a double-dip. Saw isn’t a particularly glossy horror movie and is populated by some dodgy performances from the cast. What it lacks in style, it makes up for in cheap thrills. It’s the cheesiest movie on this list but who can deny the guilty pleasure of that final ten minutes?

In a slightly better year, the region two releases of The Bourne Identity and Collateral would have found themselves relegated to the top fifteen. It may be hard to take either Tom Cruise or Matt Damon seriously after ‘Katie-love’ and Team America respectively, but both star-vehicles are stylish features that deserve to be seen.

Finally, Revenge of the Sith managed to salvage the Star Wars prequels and, while it failed to capture the spirit of the original films, it’s a far more entertaining and streamlined movie than the other prequels. The two disc set boasts superb presentation and concise extras. Go and pick it up! Oh, you already did…

David Beamish

In no particular order:
Frank Miller's Sin City: The Recut & Extended Edition (R1)
Deep Blue (R2)
Red Dwarf: Series VII  (R2) review
Casino: Anniversary Edition (R2) review
The Incredibles (R1)
Batman: Special Edition (R1)
Batman Begins: Deluxe Edition (R1)
God of Gamblers 1 and 2 DTS SE pack (R2)
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (R1) review
Old Boy DTS (R2) R3 review

2005 In Review
I have found it a hard year DVD wise to pick titles here. There have been quite a few titles I have liked a lot but that doesn't make them great titles - including too many monster based popcorn flicks which including here will probably get me thrown out so I've restrained myself a little (says the man who NEARLY spent £45 on a DTS Japanese version of Lake Placid). One thing I have noticed is that most of us have selected a few titles that have already been released once and that pains me. The fact that studios can get away with releasing films on DVD lacking extra material or with ropey transfers and then release a proper version a few months or years later is starting to be noticed by many who might not have if this happened less. Obviously studios are realising how profitable this can be for them.

Still, the likes of the Sin City re-cut, Casino, Batman and God of Gamblers are all now welcome additions to my collection as I am sure these new editions are to yours. It’s just a shame we spent money on the lacking versions in the first place.

I’ve included the latest Red Dwarf not because it is a brilliant series, or even for the fact that all the Red Dwarf DVDs are excellently presented with loads of added material, but for the reason that it completes the Red Dwarf logo on my shelf. And about time is all I can say! Deep Blue is a DVD most of you won't have – it’s almost a follow on from the Blue Planet and looks fab on my LCD TV. Documentaries are being presented in such a way now that they really can be a joy to behold and this fits the bill nicely.

I've included Old Boy here which is cheating a bit since it’s so old now but I really couldn't find anything else I wanted to point out to you all. I'm sure there are more good DVDs available but some I really just couldn't include since they were re-releases such as The Shawshank Redemption and Gladiator. Amazing films, but I think we are all aware of them.

I'm going to be a miserable sod and say there's nothing scheduled to come out in 2006 that I am currently looking forward to. This is a way of covering up the fact that the only films I can think of coming out next year are Narnia and King Kong, neither of which I want to own.

Stephen Cowgill

=1. Frank Miller's Sin City: The Recut & Extended Edition (R1)
=1. The Incredibles: Collector's Edition (R2)
3. Batman Begins: Special Edition (R2)
4. Steamboy: Superbit (R4)
5. Battlestar Galactica: Season One (R2)
6. Red Dwarf VI & VII (R2)
7. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Special Edition: Volumes 4-7 (R1)
8. Batman: The Animated Series: Volumes Two and Three (R1)
9. The Descent: Two-Disc Special Edition (R2) review
10. Appleseed: Limited Edition (R1)

2006 Most Anticipated: Red Dwarf, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, the rest of Ghost In The Shell: SAC 2nd Gig, Hellboy Director’s Cut, Serenity

2005 In Review
Let me start off by saying that for me personally, 2005 was a bad year for DVD buying. There just haven't been that many that have cried out 'buy me now' as soon as they're on the shelves, and I'm usually not so circumspect in my purchasing. However, being a newbie to the site this year, I thought I should at least put up something using the limited choices I have. You won't find your Titanics or your Siths in here - mainly because I have never seen (and possibly never will) the former, and the latter still smarts from the promise it did actually manage to show but for me didn't deliver what it could (and should) have. So, this isn't much like the other 'Tens' on here - apart from a couple that deserve to be in any collection - and given the connection between some of them I've lumped those into single placings.

Of the portion represented by TV fare, the Batman: TAS sets and Stand Alone Complex volumes showcase some great animation and video quality, although GitS: SAC is somewhat lacking in the extras department. The Red Dwarf sets continue at the high standard the BBC have set themselves, and BSG is in there for, well, being one of the finest sci-fi series in recent years (the US-R1 set may very well be better, but I don’t have that!).

Of the films, the top two places were pretty much interchangeable, so they both get number 1. The rest? Well, the style of animation in Appleseed both impressed and annoyed me in places but, that aside, the presentation of audio and video is excellent – as is the nice tin. I thoroughly enjoyed Steamboy when I caught it in the cinema back in 2004, and with the constant delays in the UK release the R4 ended up on my shelf. Not as super as the ‘Superbit’ tag would suggest, but still a decent package. The Descent is in there for being a fine British film and for the outstandingly atmospheric, full-rate DTS track – watch it in the dark with the volume up. Which leaves Batman Begins, and the hope that the Dark Knight returns with an installment as well crafted and acted as this one. Oh, and the DVD release isn’t bad either - apart from having to navigate through endless pages of languages just so I could select UK and get on with things.

A quick mention to some of the others that were just edged out of the ten. Bubba Ho-Tep (R2) would probably snatch number 11, mainly because of 'The Chin' but also because it's a nice set. A couple of Director's Cuts – Daredevil (R2) and The Chronicles of Riddick (R2) - could have made it in there as well, but although better than their original form they still didn't cut it for me. Lastly, Ghost in the Shell: Special Edition (R1), which was better than the original release, but someone dropped the low-frequency ball on the DTS track (at least on my set). With House of Flying Daggers being released a little to early to include it, Hero (R2) was also on the cusp of the ten, but I didn't know what I would drop to let it in.

Honourable mentions would possibly have gone to King Kong (’33) Collector’s Edition (R1), The Fly SE (R1) and Flash Gordon: 25th Anniversary Edition (R2), but they’re in the post and as such I can’t include them anywhere!

As for this year, well R1 already has half of my list. That said, Manga’s UK release of Innocence would beat the US version solely on the cover choice, but the addition of a DTS track and a dub by the GitS: SAC team sells it to me straight away. I’m hoping the lack of an official announcement of a UK DVD release of Serenity means that something good is coming this way as well.

Paul Cooke

1. Batman Begins
2. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
3. Crash
4. Battlestar Galactica - Season One
5. Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology
6. Wizard of Oz - Collector's Edition
7. Seinfeld - Seasons Five & Six
8. Scrubs - Seasons One & Two
9. Titanic - Special Collector's Edition
10. 24 - Season Four (R1) R2 review

2006 Most Anticipated: Superman Returns

2005 In Review
While my list does not include any "lesser" known titles, or "off the beaten trail" entries, you might notice that it can be broken down into three distinct categories: 1.) Re-releases of films which were originally sold during the infancy of the DVD medium – Wizard of Oz, Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology and Titanic all had original bare-boned releases, and this year got the issues they deserved, chock full of extras, commentaries and overall great packages. 2.) Outstanding television shows which either finally saw the light of day or continued excellence in presentation – Seinfeld, Battlestar Galactica, Scrubs and 24 all were top notch entries into the TV on DVD arena, and which, for my money, BSG currently reigns as the best show on television, within or outside the sci-fi genre. A nod also goes to 24 for including a "bridge" between season four and the upcoming season five. 3.) Great movies of the past year – Batman Begins showed that you can resurrect a franchise after Schumacher has gotten through with it, while Lucas displayed that it possible to still make a Star Wars film that can be both eye candy and effecting. Finally, Crash was the best film I saw all year, and so had to make my list.

As for my most anticipated for this year: Superman Returns. That's it. The only film that I have to say I am truly looking forward to the DVD, and it hasn't even been released yet. I'm trusting in Singer to work his X-Men magic on the Man of Steel, and bring Supes back to the top of the super-hero film mountain.

One thing I am not looking forward to is the still simmering HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray disc fight which appears almost inevitable. With many film studios now committing to both, it seems it is the late 70's/early 80's again with a VHS/Beta situation. In the end, there will be no winners. I am going to sit this out until one format is left standing.
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So that’s it from all of us at DVDActive. It’s been an interesting year, and 2006 is bound to hot up with the introduction of rival HD-DVD formats. Rest assured we’ll be on the front line giving you all the latest news as it comes to hand. Feel free to add your lists from 2005 and discuss what you think will make cut for 2006.

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