Listen to this article
The DVD box set is often the last refuge of the underprepared gift-giver. But how to separate the best of Tinseltown from the turkeys? With that in mind, we round up the best of the box-sets this season.
While other superheroes have sunk into saturnine self-pity, Iron Man bucked the trend this year, returning to form in a winning third instalment that saw Robert Downey Jr putting the comic back into comic book franchises, supercharged direction from new helmer Shane Black and a showstopping turn from Ben Kingsley as a Croydon Bin Laden. Iron Man – 3 Movie Collection (Disney) unites it with Jon Favreau’s nimble first effort as well as its so-so sequel.
For classic movie lovers, the suitably handsome Blu-ray set James Dean – Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Warner) bulks out restored versions of his tragically compact output – East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant – with oodles of commentaries, documentaries, screen test footage and deleted scenes. Time hasn’t been flattering to all of the films – Giant in particular seems soapy today – but Dean’s performances still stand out as fresh and daring, a potential pretender to Brando’s crown.
For the younger cinephile, Madagascar – The Complete Collection (Paramount) may help stave off the Boxing Day blues. Not quite a Jungle Book for our millennium but Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted turned out to be the series’ best yet thanks to loveably antic animation and the considerable vocal talents of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen.
See TV box-sets
Get alerts on Arts when a new story is published