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page created: 3/12/07

The 8th Annual Digital Bits Bitsy Awards!
Other DVD Awards for 2006

back to Outstanding Achievements in DVD for 2006


Star Wars Trilogy: Limited Edition (Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox)

Didn't the Star Wars Trilogy make last year's Bitsy - Worst DVD list too? Ugh. Here's the THIRD trip to the DVD well with everyone's favorite space opera trilogy. Same discs as before, only now you get new cover art (gasp!), a tin box to hold them in (if you buy 'em at Best Buy - gasp!) and... wait... could it be? The original theatrical versions of the films? Oh my God! Really? Hang on, I thought George said these didn't exist anymore? Whatever, we're FINALLY getting these in better than bootleg quality! Oh. Wait. Maybe not so much. "Finally... Han Shoots First!" exclaimed Mr. Sansweet gleefully. Tell us something we didn't already know, pal. "We combed the Lucasfilm Archives for the very best elements available and lovingly mastered these discs for the highest--" Yeah, right. Try again.


Harveytoons: The Complete Collection (Classic Media)

"Complete (adj.) - having all parts or elements; lacking nothing." Obvious to some but the folks at Classic Media may want to brush up on the definition before they start tossing it around. This 4-disc set does not, in fact, include the original theatrical Harveytoon shorts but rather the edited-for-TV episodes from The Harveytoon Show. And even by that standard, the set misses more than 25 episodes of the series. Warner and Disney have set the standard too high for collections of animated shorts for a set like this to be released now.


The Thief and the Cobbler (The Weinstein Company)

Richard Williams' labor of love just can't catch a break. This latest release slices the widescreen image into a dingy fullscreen box and retains the dreadful redubbing imposed on the film against Williams' wishes. It's not impossible to put this movie back so that it's at least close to what its director intended but even if the Weinsteins don't want to go through the time and expense, they could at least give us a widescreen version of the Miramax cut.


The Da Vinci Code: Special Edition Gift Set (Sony)

There were a LOT of great box sets this year, so were going personal with this pick. The Da Vinci Code was an awful film. But to package the movie with a replica of the cool "cryptic" is a cheap sales ploy. Especially since Todd's mom wanted the DVD and once she heard there was a version with a toy in it... well, let's just offer a friendly reminder that DVDs aren't cereal boxes and this stupid thing costs 80 bucks. Not that she's not worth 80 bucks. This flick sure isn't worth 80 bucks.


Olympia: Archival Edition (Pathfinder)

The only way to appreciate Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia is through its extraordinary images. Pathfinder's "Archival Edition" DVD makes that impossible thanks to its shaky, badly damaged and apparently completely unrestored transfer. Despite the fact that this is a two-disc set with a fair amount of extra material, the horrible treatment of the film itself makes all that effort pointless.


Superman: The Movie - Four-Disc Special Edition (Warner Bros.)

Okay, so leaving the original 2.0 audio off the theatrical cut of Superman was an honest mistake, one that Warner (to their credit) quickly acknowledged, apologized for and corrected. Accidents will happen and apology accepted. But we're giving Superman this award anyway, just to remind everybody that we are paying attention and we do care about things like this.


Star Wars Trilogy: Limited Edition (Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox)

By relegating the original theatrical versions of the Star Wars films to the second disc of the Limited Edition DVDs, Lucasfilm treated them not as something fans might actually want to have because of their own merit but as an afterthought bonus feature, worthy of no more respect than trailers, TV spots or vintage TV specials. Here's a hint to Lucasfilm for the inevitable next dip: You treat The Star Wars Holiday Special like this. Not the ORIGINAL Star Wars films. Oh, we forgot... that doesn't exist anymore either. Sorry, it's just getting hard to keep track of which of our Star Wars memories are real and which ones we're supposed to forget.


The Man With No Name Trilogy: Special Edition (MGM)

Instead of picking a film on DVD that disappointed us, we chose an ACT that disappointed us. Why in the name of all that is holy is MGM holding onto the greatest spaghetti western trilogy ever? We're speaking, of course, of Sergio Leone's masterful trio A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Oh sure... they'll release them in a wicked wooden box set edition over in Europe. Bah! The fact that this hasn't been released yet here in the States, where the Western genre was born, is a crime in our book. Get on the ball MGM!


New 1080p High-Definition Transfers

Yeah, sure... Blu-ray Discs and HD-DVDs look fantastic. But all of that sparkling new 1080p telecine and restoration work isn't just benefitting early adopters. No way! Here's a case where the trickle-down theory REALLY works. New transfers done for the high-def formats are available for down-converted DVD release as well... and that means better looking movies on disc for everyone, not to mention new masters in the vault to help preserve Hollywood's film heritage for the future.



This might seem like a surprise pick, but everywhere we look behind-the-scenes in this high-definition format war, there we find Microsoft's handiwork. Few in the industry will actually come right out and say on the record that Microsoft is subsidizing Toshiba and the HD-DVD format, but off the record even many neutral observers lament it. Remember back in late 2005, when Toshiba and Sony met one last time to try to avoid a format war, but Toshiba broke off the discussions saying that their partners in the HD-DVD camp had already invested too much money in the format to walk away from it? Wanna guess who the chief partner was? And it should be no surprise that Microsoft's HD-DVD Evangelists are quick to report new "exclusives" coming to their format from CBS/Paramount (despite that studio's stated support for both HD formats) like episodes of Star Trek and South Park, given the fact that both series top the list of Xbox Live digital downloads for the 360. Someone on the Melrose lot has made a deal. Bottom line: Microsoft appears to be heavily subsidizing a format war that is good for no one... save perhaps Microsoft. Life was so much easier when you could just dislike them for Windows.


Sony & Universal

This category was close, but both of these studios need a good talking to. Not only did Sony bungle the launch of the Blu-ray Disc format with lackluster software, they've still yet to release more than a handful of great titles on the format. RV? Seriously? Casino Royale is a major improvement, but where's Lawrence of Arabia and Spider-Man to name but two? As for Universal, you have to either love them or hate them for their tenacity in remaining the only major studio to exclusively support HD-DVD. Weren't they one of the last studios to jump on the DVD bandwagon too back in the day (anyone recall their DIVX support)? Anyway, what drives us most crazy about Universal is how long they've taken to deliver certain classic TV series and DVD special editions, how willing they are to junk up their special editions with features that are special only to a second grader, how often they double and even triple dip their titles, how consistently bad their QC is, and how often their good special editions disappear from store shelves after only a couple weeks... if you could ever even find them at all. Ugh.


Steven Colbert presents Steven Colbert's Tek Jansen: Alpha Squad Seven

So what do WE want to see on DVD? How about the 10-disc Steven Colbert presents Steven Colbert's Tek Jansen: Alpha Squad Seven - The Solar Plexus Ultimate Edition! We can picture it now: deleted scenes, uncensored love-making, three hours of "making of" featurettes, episode audio commentary by Steven Colbert, Gore Vidal, Henri Kissinger and Bill "Papa Bear" O'Reilly. DVD-ROM script and storyboard access. All packaged with a limited edition, signed hardcover copy of the Stephen Colbert's Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne - A Tek Jansen Adventure novel. It could be a HUGE set. It could be THE most important DVD release of our generation. We're waiting...

Oh, and yeah... while we're waiting? Where the @#%& is The African Queen?

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