?No one who frequents this site will argue against the awesomeness of exhaustive, expansive DVD/Blu-ray releases of our favorite films and series, like the recent over-the-top Tron: Legacy identity disc set. We can’t get enough of that shit, and many of us are such completist fanatics, we’ll happily slap down hard-earned gas money for the same movie three, four, even five times just to get all of the latest bells, whistles and “uncovered” bonus features that were conveniently still “lost” the last time a movie was re-released.
But in addition to being fanatics, many of us are also organizational freaks. We want all of our DVD cases to line up perfectly so that we may display them proudly and impress people with our ability to spend a load of money and arrange small boxes neatly on shelves. And when we’re denied the opportunity for that, like when studios think they’re doing us a solid by offering ridiculous, bulky, knickknack-laden packaging, well, we like to piss and moan about it. With that in mind, here are the 20 clunkiest, most inconvenient, shelf-screwing “collector” DVD packages that major studios have signed off in order to send us all into conniption fits. NOTE: We’ve left off sets that are simply packaged in ginormous boxes (like the complete LOTR film series or that G.I. Joe animated series barracks footlocker) because they’re at least relatively easy to stack somewhere.
20) Stupid Head Cases
The Simpsons Season 6 box set signaled the dawn of the stupid head-shaped case, as Fox decided that after five joyously consistent previous sets, what fans really wanted was a plastic version of Homer’s bulbous, misshapen mug. Matt Groening evenly openly mocked those fans who would cause an uproar at such a switcheroo, apparently unaware of the fact that the cases looked stupid and couldn’t be arranged for shit on a normal person’s shelf. Every subsequent Simpsons season has followed suit with the character head-shaped cases, but at least regular box-sized sets have been made available, as well. Of course, big-box retailers like Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart love producing exclusive versions of this crap, so everything from Iron Man to Harry Potter to Watchmen has seen multiple variations on the theme. We suppose it’s good news for those fans who’ve always wanted to make Rorschach and War Machine smooch or something.
19) Fraggle Rock: The Complete Series
If you order this acid trip from Amazon right now, you’ll get the 2009 release that comes in standard packaging. That’s a huge step up from the original 2008 release which, while packed in a fairly standard rectangular box, had a supremely crappy Trapper-Keeper-esque storage insert that caused the discs to constantly spill out, as there was no mechanism to actually snap the discs into place. And no amount of dancing your cares away (clap clap) did a damn bit of good, either.
18) The Evil Dead: Book of the Dead Special Edition
?2002 saw the release of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead masterpiece packaged in a fleshy Necronomicon book cover, which at the time looked pretty sweet and could actually be somewhat easily shelved between your copies of Enemy Mine (we know you own it) and Evil Dead 2. Of course, 10 years later, that rubbery flesh has started to crack and decompose, giving off an odor that’s worse than a Deadite’s gym socks.
17) The Ultimate Matrix Collection Limited Edition Collector’s Set
Disregarding the redundancy of a “collection collector’s set,” it’s almost hard to believe there was a time when a Neo mini-bust was actually considered cool and worthy of display, no? Man, 2004… crazy times. But the problem with this particular set is that there’s no aesthetically pleasing way to display it. Do you leave the bust in the simple plastic case with the stacked discs? Well, that just looks stupid. Do you take the bust out and leave the half-empty plastic casing sitting on a shelf with the discs still inside? Also stupid. Laurence Fishburne probably put on all that weight after sitting around pondering this dilemma for years.
16) Speed Racer: The Complete Classic Collection
Almost every DVD release of the original Speed Racer series has come packed with some sort of gimmick; a sound chip that plays a portion of the theme song, a steering wheel-shaped tin, a small die-cast Mach 5, a miniature license plate, blah blah blah. There’s tons of superfluous DVD-related Speed Racer crap out there is all we’re saying. But if you held out for 2009’s “Complete Classic Collection,” released in conjunction with the monumental lemon of a live-action movie [Ed’s Note: It’s still totally awesome, though], then you were awarded with a Mach 5 tin that housed six discs. A Mach 5 with no actual wheels or place to spin them, mind you.
15) Blade Runner Ultimate Collector’s Edition
Is Blade Runner a kickass movie? Hell yes. Is it a kickass movie worth shelling out $90 for? No it isn’t, no matter how many briefcases with miniature unicorns, spinner vehicle replicas and signed letters from Sir Ridley Scott that Warner Bros. tries to entice you with. Just stop for a moment and think how utterly laughable it is to have a briefcase on your shelf (or in a closet, in an attic, on a bus, wherever) with what amounts to ONE MOVIE in it. You know who we bet would be really annoyed by this? Harrison Ford.
14) Watchmen Director’s Cut Blu-ray with Nite Owl Ship
If you opted but purchase your Watchmen Blu-ray exclusively from Amazon, you were rewarded with a scaled-down version of a fat guy’s ship shaped an awful lot like an erectile dysfunction pill. The two discs are stored in its base, and the light-up function is kinda cool and all, but we would’ve been far more prone to give this one the thumbs-up had it come with a tiny orgasmic flame-thrower.
13) The Nightmare Before Christmas Limited Edition Ultimate Collector’s DVD Set
Jack Skellington has done much more than singlehandedly keep Hot Topic in business for the past 15 years. If you’re one of the Pumpkin King’s minions who picked up this lavish 2008 release, he’s no doubt scratched the shit out of your elbow on at least one occasion thanks those shard-like bow-tie tips. Bonus points for the “Sandy Claws” hat and beard, which we’re sure has remained a pristine white and NEVER attracted cobwebs or floating cat hairs. And while we’re on the subject of ridiculous skulls that take up space…
12) Masters of Horror Season 2 Box Set
We’re not saying a skull sitting amongst ho-hum Hammer and Argento flicks isn’t a great conversation piece (or clue for those Jehovah’s Witnesses who dropped by to alert the authorities). What we’re saying is that Anchor Bay’s decision to have buyers cram 13 individual discs (some double-sided) into a single large slot with no protective surfaces whatsoever miiiiight result an obscene amount of scratches, not to mention an obscene amount of pissed-off Masters of Horror fans. And we’ve all seen what happens when we return a borrowed DVD to a horror aficionado only for him to find one little ding on it, right? Remember Joe Dante’s The Screwfly Solution, handily included in this set? Yeah, it looks like that.
11) Giant Robo: The Complete Collection
You thought the useless Speed Racer tin would be the only anime set to take a beating on this list? We saved room for dessert, in this case a giant purple eyeball that looks like what would happen if Starro the Conqueror took over the Death Star (which sounds like the greatest story Grant Morrison never wrote). Sadly, the Giant Robo series isn’t nearly that cool, so you’ll have to explain to your friends what the “Eye of Vogler” and the “third energy revolution” are when they ask why the hell your anime section is intently staring at them. But really, doesn’t the Starro thing sound so much better? No small feat, considering it involves Silver Age DC Comics lore.
10) Scooby Doo, Where Are You!: The Complete Series
Despite the fact that the Mystery Machine had shitty gas mileage and was in constant need of repairs, fans (whom henceforth we shall call “Dooby Brothers”) still love it. They love it enough to want a scaled-down version that houses 41 episodes of the original Scooby Doo series with 41 instances of the exact same plot (eight episodes from Season 3 are missing from this “complete” set, however. Mystery abounds! Dooby Brothers, to arms!). Of course, the biggest mystery the Scooby gang has yet to solve is why an exclamation point was improperly used in the show’s title.
9) Lost: The Complete Collection
A pyramid-shaped box? Really, guys? Sigh. Leave it to the producers of Lost to keep us continually frustrated. Granted, the pyramid comes in a larger black box, and then the DVDs themselves are housed in a rather standard box inside the pyramid. That’s a lot of cumbersome packaging to maneuver around before getting to an actual episode with some actual Evangeline Lilly-white skin. The bonus crap – an ankh “with a secret message from Jacob,” a Senet game and an island replica — don’t make the navigation any less irritating, either.
8) Get Smart Limited Edition
We’ve given up on trying to determine why anyone would want to own the Get Smart movie in the first place, much less why they’d be clamoring for the Best Buy-exclusive “shoe phone” DVD case. Holy fuck, it’s a SHOE PHONE, a concept that was meant to be ludicrous back in 1965 and hasn’t gotten any funnier since. You really want this thing out in the open in your home? You really want to explain why you own Get Smart AND why you keep it in a shoe phone?
7) Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set
What makes this bulky travel case worse than owning the Blade Runner briefcase? To answer this question, we ask another: Why would you want just the first five movies in the Harry Potter series in such a ridiculously elaborate package when you know there are still three more movies to come? Why would you not stick with the single-disc editions until the inevitable complete film collection comes out? Oh, wait wait wait… the trunk comes with 16 trading cards. Now we get it.
6) The Big Lebowski 10th Anniversary Limited Edition
When it comes to the Dude’s devoted following, Universal loves to throw one ferret after another in their bathtubs with an endless stream of Lebowski reissues. Remember the “Achiever’s Edition” from several years back that came with a set of coasters and a bowling towel (they exist) but skimped on new extra features? Universal, knowing you can’t get enough laconic stoners and disturbing man-boobs, did it again in 2008, this time packaging the movie in a freakin’ bowling ball (to be fair, they did throw in four brief new featurettes, which all amount to the same old people sitting around going, “This movie’s great! Ha, those Coens…”). At least the ball actually looks like the one the Dude rolls with…
5) Invader Zim Box Set
If you’re still holding out hope to buy this towering 2005 release: Don’t. You’re looking at dropping at least $200 for a used complete set, and who knows if that’ll even include the bonus Gir figure that was suddenly discontinued. And if you’ve come to your senses and realized that a cartoon-ish house-shaped DVD box looks rather foolish on your shelf? SELL SELL SELL!!! Or at least just ditch the house box; people still want those, and you probably don’t want to replace your Zim discs with the notoriously defective season sets that Amazon currently offers.
4) Alien Quadrilogy Deluxe Alien Head Limited Edition Box Set / Alien Anthology Blu-ray
Leave it to the Alien franchise to make the most stomach-churning, collector-aimed packaging imaginable. Unfortunately, if you want to get your hands on the relatively tame deluxe plastic Xenomorph head (and take up an entire shelf for four measly movies, only two of them worth a damn, as we are all too aware), you’ll have to order it the U.K. But if you’re dead-set on displaying your chest-bursting cinematic treasures in something tacky, you could always go with last year’s Alien Anthology box set which comes in a rather disgusting-looking plastic egg. But spend $200 on that, and we may have to find an airlock to trap you in.
3) Star Trek with Enterprise Case
Target loves to offer ridiculous exclusives; remember their transforming Optimus Prime DVD case from a few years back? And they’re notorious proprietors of the “stupid head cases” mentioned all the way up top (Iron Man 2 being one of their more recent offenders). But of the many, many exclusive DVD editions of the 2009 Star Trek reboot, Target’s had to be the clunkiest: a full-on Enterprise replica which housed the DVDs in its saucer. It’s safe to say any self-respecting Trekkie already has at least one Enterprise replica elsewhere, so save that valuable shelf space for your talking Worf lunchbox.
2) The Dark Knight Blu-ray with Batpod
Unless it’s turning itself around by driving up a wall or trying to make roadkill out of the Joker, we don’t give a shit about the Batpod. For one thing, it definitely doesn’t look all that impressive when it’s parked (sans a teeth-clenched Batman, no less) in front of a Bat-insignia disc holder. For $65, we at least expect some cool Batpod sound effects to go along with that price tag. Hell, we’d settle for a sound chip with Christian Bale growling about hockey pants.
1) Planet of the Apes: The Ultimate DVD Collection
We’ve already poked fun of several busts here (and those Futurama and Terminator 2 busts barely got a pass), but we had to save Caesar for last. Because when it comes to “collectors will buy anything” DVD packaging, the Planet of the Apes set sums up every point we could possibly make about the inherent ridiculousness of it all. Here’s a rundown: It’s based on a guy in a ’70s monkey costume. It has a luxurious mane of monkey hair. It has zippers for nonexistent pockets. It’s not a useless accessory as it houses all 14 (14!) discs in its base. It retails for 180 fucking dollars. Collecting six movies, a live-action TV series, an animated series, and enough bonus material to throw poop at for weeks, it’s quite possibly the most ambitious geek-centric set ever released. But at the end of the day, it’s just really, really sad.