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Customer Review

981 of 1,007 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, but not for everyone, July 15, 2013
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This review is from: Best of Warner Bros 50 Film Collection (+UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Some BACKGROUND: I came across this collection online a few days after buying my first Blu-ray player. This collection was on sale then for $174.99, which breaks down to $3.70 per movie. I only had about three Blu-rays then, and only one included in this collection. I like classics. I like modern films. So this collection was perfect for me. Most of the reviews here weren't very helpful, as they were from people who wanted to give an opinion on the films included, but hadn't actually bought the set. I have it; I can speak about the set itself.

I've had the collection about a week now, and although I haven't re-watched all the movies in the collection, I had already seen roughly forty before buying it, and I've sampled scenes from about half the discs.

WHAT'S IN THE BOX: 50 films, spanning a variety of eras and genres and (let's be honest) levels of quality. There are some absolutely great films (Casablanca, Singin' in the Rain, 2001: A Space Odyssey), some mediocre films, and then there's some absolute dreck (The Blind Side). I've included a full list of movies at the end, with notes on each when appropriate.

Each film was available separately before this release, and some come from multi-disc sets. If that's the case, only the movie disc is included. In a few cases, these films come from sets with multiple versions of the film (theatrical, director's cuts). In these cases, it seems the set prefers the director's cuts.

The packaging is actually really nice. It came in several layers of protective shipping boxes, and inside is the rather heavy 50 Films outer casing. The lid of the box opens up to reveal two flip books of 25 films each, and a large envelope full of neat but kinda useless reproductions of movie posters at slightly larger than postcard size. It's kind of cool, but really just filler. Luckily, the flip books for the films themselves are sturdy and browsable. The movies are arranged chronologically, and by dividing the films into two books, each flip book is perfectly sized to take off a shelf and peruse when trying to pick out a movie to watch. Each movie has a two page spread with color photos from the film, some basic information (director, actors, in the same font and style as at the bottom of a movie poster), and an inner sleeve to the page that holds the disc itself. There is a small open tab on the disc page to slide out the movie. It's not as easy to get out as a regular plastic case, but it seems to protect the discs well enough. It's a quality presentation of a large number of discs, and I'm happy with the style of it.

That said, this set is obviously not for anyone. The range in film choices is pretty drastic, and there are few people who will want to own both Grand Hotel and The Hangover. (I probably wouldn't have bought either independently, even though they were both enjoyable in their own ways.) You would really have to love movies in general for the inclusion of so many classics, and most cinephiles probably own a fair few of these movies. Really, this collection is meant either for 1) People who love film, but for whatever reason are new to Blu-ray, or 2) People who don't really know anything about film, but have decided to educate themselves in one swift purchase. I fall into the former category, and for this reason some of the set's drawbacks don't really offend me.

THE DRAWBACKS: If you've been buying physical media for any amount of time, you know that inevitably you will have to do some double-dipping. Studios love re-releasing titles in new special editions, or swapping out special features. This set is not about owning the ultimate editions of every movie. You only get one disc per film (with the exception of movies whose length necessitates spanning two discs, like Ben-Hur), and none of the bonus feature discs in multi-movie packs. There are a few instances where the version of the film you get might not be the version you want. (For instance, I would rather have the extended version of Lord of the Rings, and only the Theatrical Version is included. Which is going to force me to buy the Extended Edition set separately, and that set comes with the Theatrical Versions. So I'll own multiple copies.) Also, if you are absolutely new to movies and just starting your very first collection, you're going to miss out on a lot of those bonus feature discs. If you're upgrading your collection from DVD (like me), you might already have former versions of these films with their bonus features. You should not give away those old editions after all. (Note: Most special features on Blu-rays are simply the bonus features from the DVD release, and most often are not even in HD quality. Not always, but this tends to be the common practice.)

Okay. So IN SUMMARY, I think this set would be a great purchase for the right consumer, especially when it goes on sale. To take full advantage of this set, you should be new to collecting Blu-rays. You should either have, or plan to develop, a strong interest in film history and commercial film. You should not mind owning a few movies you might not like, in the interest of getting a great deal on the movies you do like and would buy anyway. And you should understand that, although this may keep you busy for a while, it is not a complete Blu-ray collection. Citizen Kane isn't here. Neither is any film not in the English language. So you will probably still have to fill in some gaps to have "the essentials." If you already own some films in this collection, look at the list below and add up how much you'd spend on the titles you still want. If that amount is less than or about equal to the sale price of this set, I'd say go for it. This is a pretty awesome set, and a showpiece in itself.

THE MOVIES:

1. Grand Hotel (1932)
2. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
3. Wizard of Oz (1939)
4. Gone with The Wind (1939)
5. Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
6. Mrs. Miniver (1942)
7. Casablanca (1942) -- 2011 4K transfer (that is, the good one)
8. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
9. Streetcar Named Desire, A (1951)
10. American in Paris, An (1951)
11. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
12. Gigi (1958)
13. North By Northwest (1959)
14. Ben-Hur (1959) -- 2 discs
15. How the West Was Won (1962)
16. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
17. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
18. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
19. Bullitt (1968)
20. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
21. Dirty Harry (1971)
22. Clockwork Orange, A (1972)
23. Exorcist, The (1973) -- Extended Director's Cut
24. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
25. Superman, The Movie (1977)
26. Shining, The (1980)
27. Chariots of Fire (1981)
28. Risky Business (1983)
29. Amadeus (1984) -- Director's Cut
30. Color Purple, The (1985)
31. Lethal Weapon (1987)
32. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
33. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
34. Goodfellas (1990)
35. Unforgiven (1992)
36. Bodyguard, The(1992)
37. Natural Born Killers (1994) -- Director's Cut
38. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
39. Matrix, The (1999)
40. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) -- Theatrical Version
41. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) -- Theatrical Version
42. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) -- Theatrical Version
43. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) -- Theatrical Version
44. Million Dollar Baby (2005)
45. Departed, The (2006)
46. Dark Knight, The (2008)
47. Blind Side, The (2009)
48. Hangover, The (2009) -- Unrated and Theatrical Versions
49. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
50. Inception (2010)

Also included is a special feature documentary on DVD of Tales from the Warner Bros. Lot and The Warner Bros. Lot Tour.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 10, 2013 1:24:31 AM PST
JJ452 says:
Thank you for such an informative review.

Posted on Nov 10, 2013 9:30:41 AM PST
smarmer says:
I agree with the other comment. This was exactly the kind of review that helps the buyer decide. I especially liked your descriptions of the packaging and the so-called "special features."

This sort of compilation is either for those who are just getting started on their collection or for those who want to give a really cool gift to someone who likes movies but is unfamiliar with film made prior to the nineties (this is true for most of my children's friends).

Great review and a model for how to do it. Thanks.

Posted on Nov 12, 2013 11:36:59 AM PST
Eric Warren says:
Nice complete review. But, "The Blind Side" is far from being dreck. Keep the elitist comments to yourself, and you will be doing your readers more of a service.

Posted on Nov 15, 2013 11:12:23 AM PST
David Harris says:
The break-down price is hard to beat per movie. However what I first took into account was how many films I already had on dvd. Which turned out to be 21 out of 50. And I have the LOTR extended versions, all of the Harry Potters, Matrixs, Dark Knights, Exorcist box and Supermans (on dvd) and after switching from Beta to VHS to dvd I'm stopping there, as far as replacing discs goes! But I'm thinking what a good gift set this would make as long as they're not like some of us who would enjoy all of the films in a series rather than just one, or like the aesthetics of all Potters lined up together on the bookshelf!

Posted on Nov 15, 2013 2:46:41 PM PST
Thank you for commenting extensively on what this set actually contains and what it does not contain, and also for describing the packaging.
As a film lover who never had "everything" on DVD (I only own about 5 of these on DVD and another 3 on VHS) and who still has not forayed into Blu Ray (mostly due to having limited financial means at this point), I would seriously consider buying this or requesting this as a gift once I make a jump to a Blu Ray player. There are some GREAT films included, films that to buy separately could easily run $10-$15 each, because some of the classics are rarely available at steep discount.
Very informative review.

Posted on Nov 16, 2013 2:04:49 PM PST
Stephanie says:
I agree that "The Blind Side" sticks out like a sore thumb. I own many of these and many favorites are here. And I'm that weird person who loves "Grand Hotel" and "The Hangover." Anyone who doesn't like expression of opinions (from "dreck" to "the good one" in this case) should stay away from any site that offers reviews or, at least, not read them rather than try to silence or scold those reviewers.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2013 5:24:00 AM PST
Diane says:
I agree with you Frederick Warren II ... I saw the movie The Blind Side and I loved it

Posted on Dec 13, 2013 6:07:31 AM PST
B. Wibirt says:
Hi Kevin. Thanks for the great review. I have a question for you. It says in the product title "+Ultraviolet Digital Copy". I know a lot of times when you buy a collection or double feature that has an Ultraviolet copy, only some of the movies are included in the Ultraviolet format. Does this set include the Ultraviolet copies of ALL 50 movies? I am a big collector of Ultraviolet movies and that would be a huge selling point for me. Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2013 9:33:32 PM PST
Red Wood says:
On the contrary, the review was so solid that I would imagine the critic could pretty much give their opinion on any part of this set. After all, is that not the point? Since I, as well, have an interest in most of the "classics" here - and have seen most of them - I would sorrowfully have to agree with the review of the "elitist", when it comes to the Bullock fluff. I apologize in advance.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2013 9:37:25 PM PST
Red Wood says:
I applaud you, miss. Correct you are on the point of reviews.
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