5 DVD Releases That Really Overdid It

5 DVD Releases That Really Overdid It

Back in the day, I had a special edition DVD of The Big Lebowski where the box was shaped like a bowling ball — it was awesome. I also had the Back to the Future box set that included the footage you’d watch while waiting to board the now defunct Back to the Future: The Ride as well as the DVD box sets of The Simpsons that had commentaries on every episode. To me at least, these are examples of studios truly understanding the assignment of special features and delivering them in spectacular form.

But there was such a thing as going overboard with special features, where the amount of TLC put into the box set far exceeded the quality of the film. Here are five such examples where a bare-bones release would have been just fine…

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The Ultimate ‘Matrix’ Collection — 10-Disc Limited Edition Collector’s Set

Much like society as a whole has taken The Matrix far too seriously, so did this 10-disc trilogy set from 2004. The first film is obviously a masterpiece, but the second and third are convoluted drivel masquerading as profundity. Adding to this illusion is the fact that each of the movies in this box set contain two commentaries, none of which are by the Wachowskis. The first is a “Critic’s Commentary,” where critics who disliked the films comment on it. That idea is kind of novel, but there’s also a highly pretentious “Philosopher’s Commentary” for each film in which Cornel West and Ken Wilber gush over the franchise’s supposedly deep messages. It’s just all too much in every way.

‘Super Mario Bros.’ 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition 4K Blu-ray — Three-Disc Set

Just because something is old, doesn’t mean it’s good. I get that there’s some nostalgia for the 1993 Super Mario Bros. film, but this 4K Blu-ray set takes it too far. The notion that this movie needs a 4K release is silly in and of itself, but the set also includes deleted scenes, international trailers, animatics, behind-the-scenes featurettes, two music videos and four different commentaries. It also comes with three books — a 34-page magazine replica from 1993, a 200-page book of script drafts and a 480-page book of pictures and production materials. That’s more than 700 pages of stuff for a movie that everyone — especially Mario fans — hated in 1993. But the single most astounding thing about this release is that it came out just last year, a solid decade after people stopped giving a shit about physical media.

‘300’ — Two-Disc Widescreen Edition

This one’s just two discs, so it doesn’t seem that over-the-top, until you hear about one particularly baffling special feature: a version of the film with zero special effects, meaning all you see is the actors in front of a blue screen. For a scene or two, this might be interesting, but who would watch that for 117 minutes? That’s a test of endurance that an actual Spartan would fail.

‘Pearl Harbor’ The Director’s Cut — Four-Disc Vista Series

Michael Bay really tried to make a good, serious movie with 2001’s Pearl Harbor, but what he ended up with was an overlong slog with really bad dialogue. The movie was a commercial success, but it was panned by critics. The mixed response, however, didn’t deter Bay from pulling out all the stops with this pleather-bound DVD release. The set had three commentaries, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes and lots of historical mini-documentaries about the IRL Pearl Harbor attack. It also featured a new cut of the film, but rather than trim the very obvious fat everyone complained about, Bay made it a minute longer. 

Admittedly, that’s not as bad as some other, more overly-indulgent director’s cuts, but adding anything to an already three-hour movie should be illegal.

‘Lost’ The Complete Collection — 38 Disc Set

Yes, you read that right, this set is packed with a total of 38 discs. Granted, Lost was an hour-long drama with 121 episodes, but there’s also 30 hours of bonus content, including lots of stuff about the Dharma Initiative, the smoke monster and oh-so-much other stuff from the show that seemed cool in Season One, but was convoluted and annoying by Season Three. Not to mention, a board game, a relief map of the island and some other trinkets from the series. 

Some of this is novel, but none of it makes up for the despised finale or the multitude of never-paid-off plot points.

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