2009 Calvin Awards: Best DVD

February 10, 2009

Don't let the cute packaging fool you. They're just as evil as Battlestar Galactica Cylons.

The Best DVD category is one we are worried may grow archaic in coming years. With the end of the next-generation format war, there is already some debate about changing the name to Best Blu-Ray. Since the higher end format currently comprises about 1/6 of disc sales, however, we're not ready to do that quite yet and by the time we are, movie downloads may be the dominant format anyway. Plus, we stuck by the title of Best Album, which hasn't been an accurate title since what, 1988? So, we are sticking to our guns with this category. And the winner this year is...

Our staff was absolutely mesmerized by the movie, WALL-E, particularly its first 45 minutes of wordless storytelling. As such, there is no surprise that we jumped all over the disc once it became available on DVD. What particularly impresses us about WALL-E on DVD and Blu-Ray, however, is how forward thinking the package is. As was referenced above, there is a bloody war being fought over digital rights management as well as the portability of property licenses. A movie is no longer only watched in the comfort of one's own home. Instead, the ubiquity of iPod Video and iPhone devices as well as other smart phone devices has revolutionized the landscape of video sans any real acquiescence on the part of movie studios. Cell phones went from fascinating novelty to powerful devices capable of video playback in about 8 years. No one in the industry was properly prepared for the idea of a phone playing a video because, well, who would have even thought that to be a possibility at the start of the decade? Nowadays, it's a fact of life, and Disney has decided to go with it.


The purchase of either the three-disc collector edition or the Blu-Ray includes a digital copy of the device, making WALL-E (temporarily) the most successful DVD ever to allow for copyright portability among electronics hardware. Of course, that's not all the disc has. To the contrary, WALL-E is loaded with disc-only features such as an exclusive short, Burn-E, that chronicles the difficulties experienced by a light repair robot. There is also a tongue in cheek video about the inner workings of the Buy n Large corporation, a Wal-Mart style company that handles all of the daily living of the people aboard the starship Axiom. Throw in a handful of playable games, a series of bios about WALL-E's allies in the movie, and the marvelous Presto short that was exhibited with the theatrical release and there just isn't anything else a viewer could ask from the WALL-E DVD package. As the voting tallies indicate, it is the clear-cut choice of our staff as the Best DVD of 2009.

Second and third place on our list go to the two biggest selling DVDs of the past year, Iron Man and The Dark Knight. Inexorably linked from now until the end of time, the two most popular comic book films of 2008 could have sold based solely on the quality of the titles alone, but no such shortcuts were taken with either package. The number two DVD of the year is headlined by an exhaustive look at the movie's inception called I Am Iron Man, featuring insightful commentary from director Jon Favreau. For the greasy fanboys among us (BOP knows you're out there), there is also a visual history of the Iron Man comic book. And a parody video about fears that the full length movie would ruin the trailer for its fans originally appearing on The Onion was even licensed for this disc. Not to be outdone, The Dark Knight includes all of the Anthony Michael Hall vignettes for Gotham Central as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie entitled Gotham Uncovered: The Creation of a Scene. Also, not to be outdone by WALL-E, The Dark Knight package also includes a digital copy and it surpassed WALL-E to become the biggest selling disc to ever include one. Both of these discs embody the type of bang for the buck BOP seeks out in our movie purchases.

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