If you like a film, chances are you might get the DVD. If you love a film, you may end up getting the Blu-ray, the special collector’s edition, the director’s cut, the collectible bust and even the ultimate-limited-exclusive-super-duper-briefcase packaging that requires batteries for all the lights and sound effects. The following box sets are the silliest – and sometimes, most impressive – versions of the latter, boasting everything from jewellery boxes to apes’ upper torsos. But be warned: some of these babies are expensive, so read on at your peril.
Update: Now updated with 10 more overelaborate more box sets. Be sure to hide all your credit and debit cards before looking through these - you'll be grateful you did, trust us...
Approximately 11 inches wide and 12 inches high at the Astronomy tower, this 16 pound (7.25kg) cold-cast porcelain replica of Hogwarts is a thing of crenellated beauty. Originally unveiled after The Half-Blood Prince (the sixth film) was released on Blu-ray back in 2009, Warner Bros. merchandising HQ were sensible enough to leave space in the drawer beneath the figurine (where the Blu-rays are stored) for both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, thereby preventing riots of Battle Of Hogwarts-sized proportions from those who had bought it with two films still to come. And this way you have a convenient reference guide for all the school-based shenanigans of the series, so you can match the action on screen to the scale model handily perched in front of you.
Current price online: £389.98
Perhaps the best loved conceptual designer and illustrator Hollywood has ever known, Ralph McQuarrie is the man behind many of your favourite characters in the original Star Wars trilogy, not forgetting Cocoon, the 1970s Battlestar Galactica TV series and, of course, E.T. As well as designing the Reese’s Pieces-munching cycling enthusiast, McQuarrie came up with his spaceship, with one key proviso from Spielberg: it had to look like Dr. Seuss had thought it up. 30 years later, you can get it a mini-version in a box with a 44-page digibook and the Blu-ray update (featuring HD walkie-talkies). The only problem is that it will serve as a continual reminder that E.T. went home, so may cause uncontrollable sobbing.
Current price online: £89.77
Relatively simple but still undeniably cool, this miniature batpod case was available in the US for just $9.99 on release but has since leapt up in price. Though not immediately apparent, the Blu-rays themselves are contained behind the Batpod in a backing stand that resembles a large, Wayne Enterprises-approved guitar pick with a couple of artistic scratches over the top. If this doesn’t strike your fancy, there’s always Amazon’s batmask special edition to help you scare your family as and when you need to. Just gargle some gravel, scribble kohl around your eyes and you’re good to go.
Current price online: £42.00
There are plenty of coffin-shaped DVD/Blu-ray boxes out there, but this one from Burton HQ is something a little different. Inside this particular casket there’s a 2.5” by 13.5” limited edition bust of Jack Skellington himself, as well as a Sandy Claws hat and beard (for the statuette, not you, alas – unless you have a particularly small head, of course) and a collector’s booklet. And the whole thing plays sound clips from the film – “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” – which is handy if you have irritating relations visiting who might be unnerved by a skeletons.
Current price online: $199.95
If the Tyrannosaurus Rex is not your favourite dinosaur, you are simply, unequivocally wrong. Unless you’re a stegosaurus kind of a guy/girl, in which case, fair enough. Since the T-Rex is the only dinosaur worth recreating in a miniaturised plastic form, Universal decided to release their ultimate, ultimate Jurassic Park Blu-ray trilogy box set with just that, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity that promises that they’ll never release another one like it, ever (we think. We skimmed it while pretending to be a velociraptor). We await the stegosaurus version, however.
Current price online: £53.97
Although Disney’s straight-to-video sequel output is varied, to say the least – let’s pretend Kronk’s New Groove and Bambi II don’t exist – The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and The Lion King 1½ aren’t actually all that bad. Unfortunately, the cardboard African drum that hosts them is all that bad, with the Blu-rays housed in a flimsy Velcro-and-card number that might as well be purposely designed to scratch the discs. And the drum itself doesn’t even sound good. Ah well, Hakuna matata, we suppose...
Current online price: £149.99
Like the Lion King follow-ups, the two straight-to-DVD Cinderella sequels, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True and Cinderella III: Twist in Time, both pale in comparison to the much-loved original. That doesn’t mean they go without a special Disney box set, however, and fans of the precarious footwear fancier have the chance to buy a mirror-topped jewellery box complete with all three movies. Sadly, they decided against housing the Blu-rays inside a massive glass slipper, or a giant pumpkin on wheels, or a Fairy Godmother bust, or a model of a mouse. Come to think of it, why is it in a jewellery box again?
Current online price:** **$59.99
It’s unusual for indie movies by name directors to get the special fancy DVD treatment, although we’d like to see more Coen Brothers movies up for it – a wood chipper Fargo Blu-ray case or a DVD-filled miniature Hudsucker Proxy hula-hoop, anyone? – but The Big Lebowski was always a law unto itself. Sure, this bowling ball would never make it down the lane (and Donny would be sure to mark it zero anyway), but there’s no doubt that this is exactly the sort of thing The Dude would consider laboriously writing out a cheque for. N.B. No miniature rug is included, though we’re holding out for one come the 20th anniversary. After all, it’d really tie the DVD shelf together… dodges tomatoes, jumps out of window
Current price online: $59.99
Taking its inspiration more from the original Mel Brooks TV series than the somewhat lacklustre 2008 movie, the Get Smart shoe-phone DVD case is a masterpiece of multimedia packaging, managing to be both utterly preposterous and yet, somehow, something you’d be willing to display in your home. Shame they didn’t offer TV series-based alternatives like the tie phone, the comb phone, the sandwich phone, the perfume bottle phone, the handkerchief phone, the garden hose phone, the painting-of-a-telephone phone and the unforgettable phone-within-a-phone phone (which has one hell of a ringtone).
Current price online: $19.14
This Amazon exclusive sees Nite Owl’s big-eyed amphibious aircraft turned to plastic and perched upon four handy jets of water leaping into the sky in a rather nice example of the more sculptural end of the DVD special edition spectrum. Disappointingly, the Blu-rays themselves don’t eject from the ship, instead popping out of the base so that "Archie" (after Archimedes, Merlin's pet owl) can – wait for it – light up and make taking-off sound effects. Fortunately, Leonard Cohen's awkward sex scene-accompanying Hallelujah is not one of the available sounds. Thank. God.
Current price online: $125.00
As if the 10 DVDs inside weren’t enough, the Wachowski siblings thought the diehard Matrix fans out there – and if you want to own Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions in yet another format, you’re definitely a diehard Matrix fan – deserved something more. Assuming, of course, that we’re here at all and not inside some machine-induced virtual reality dreaming of DVD special editions. Here, then, is Neo, recreated in plastic and covered in green numbers. Note the pile of cables he’s leaning on, as well as the fact he has only one shoulder. You know, just like in The Matrix.
Current price online: £47.99
H.P. Lovecraft originally made mention of the Necronomicon in his 1924 short story The Hound. 57 years later, the very same book of the dead – or a very similar book of the dead with a very similar name – caused havoc for Ash, Linda, Scotty and Shelly in The Evil Dead, unleashing untold misery and possibly the worst case of restless hand syndrome ever known to man. 19 years after that, a genius somewhere in Sam Raimi’s office decided that 2002 was the year to release the original film in a Necronomicon-shaped package, with Evil Dead II coming out in a slightly bluer, slightly viler, equally brilliant edition just a little bit later. As for the chainsaw-shaped Army of Darkness version, well, that can only be a matter of time.
So we begin the incredibly creepy heads-full-of-DVDs portion of our presentation, kicking things off with arguably the best. Featuring detailed lines on the face, working zippers on a real shirt and well-glued, thick hair, this ape is so great you almost don’t expect any films inside. A quick look around the back, however, and you’ll soon find a flap in the fabric that hides the box – a box you can easily remove and put somewhere else on your DVD shelf, should reaching around an ape’s head make you feel a bit weird of an evening. In other words, though it’s probably not the first thing you’re going to show a potential other half the first time they come round your place, it’s definitely a very impressive piece of kit – even though it doesn’t feature Rupert Wyatt’s 2011 reboot, alas.
Current price online: £159.99
The head-shaped box set that started Fox’s brief head-shaped box set craze, this 2004 25th anniversary plastic Xenomorph cranium is probably the only DVD-bonce available that’s creepier than the Planet Of The Apes version. Instead of a special slot for a separate box, this head has a semi-translucent top that can be detached to reveal the Alien quadrilogy (and extras discs) standing upright in individual disc slots. Also doubles as one hell of a paperweight, a blunt instrument or, if you’re feeling sinister, a very expensive doorknocker. See also the limited edition facehugger VHS briefcase.
Current price online: £199.99
If giant Xenomorph noggins aren’t your style, consider this bust of a glowing alien egg being hugged by a remarkably friendly (although surely not to scale) extra-terrestrial. Like the Harry Potter’s Hogwarts replica et al., this is a Blu-ray-box-in-the-base number that allows room for – you guessed it – the egg to glow in the dark. Other than that, it’s entirely immovable, making it a potential doorstopper to accompany your aforementioned alien cranium doorknocker, or a particularly spooky bedside lamp.
Current price online: £169.99
Perhaps the most impressive head box set Fox has ever released, this incredibly detailed recreation of I, Robot’s Sonny even features flexible wires connecting the base to the plastic skull, as well as minute workings inside the head itself. Unlike the Alien egg or Nite Owl’s ship, it doesn’t light up or have any sound effects, but the sheer detail makes it truly something to behold. What’s more, there’s no egregious product placement to be found anywhere here – unless you’re counting the film I, Robot itself, in which case, there’s absolutely loads of it.
Current price online: £295.00
Essentially a plastic mould of Predator’s upper torso with a flap where his spine should be, this special edition head box set isn’t of the best quality, but considering it was originally on sale for £40, perhaps that’s to be expected. No lights or sounds either, making it relatively static and pretty much unfiddleable-withable. Still, if the idea of a masked extra-terrestrial trophy hunter staring down at you (in heat-sensing mode, no doubt) appeals, then this is the deadlocked box set for you.
Current price online: £500.00
The attaché case/briefcase/suitcase box set idea has been around since the first VHS choked up the first JVC player back in the late ‘70s, but these four are arguably the best of the (recent) bunch. Inception’s case (£60.00) looks like a posh poker set, Blade Runner’s box (£105.70) looks like a posh poker set with “Blade Runner” on the side, The Complete Bond Collection (£170.00) looks like a slightly-bigger-than-average posh poker set, and The Avengers’ Nick Fury dossier (delayed until spring 2013 due to licensing issues) looks like a… well, you get the idea.
If you're a discerning muggle who doesn't have room on their shelf for a miniature castle – or just don't want to pay for the no doubt ruinously expensive upkeep – then consider this particular box of magic tricks, complete with a map of Hogwarts, Slytherin's horcrux locket, sketches from BAFTA award-winning production designer Stuart Craig, concept art prints and, as they say, much, much more. But just to warn you: unpacking it all requires as much tidying-up time as if you'd poured a LEGO Diagon Alley all over the floor and kicked a few pieces under the carpet – and we mean that in a good way.
Current price online: £212.41
If a one-shouldered miniature bust of Neo doesn't strike your fancy, consider this plastic recreaction of the Nebuchadnezzar, Morpheus's favourite EMP-blasting hovercraft spaceship thing. Delivered in a remarkably big cardboard box – perhaps just under a metre long – it contains the regular Blu-rays in a regular Blu-ray cardboard box, with the 65cm-long ship alongside it boasting special slots in a secret compartment to house said discs. But though there's some nice detailing, such as the moveable blue hover pads, it remains a big plastic white (well, black) elephant that is easily broken and difficult to display. One for diehard diehard Matrix afficionados – like the Wachowski siblings, for example.
Current price online:** **£558.00
Passing up the chance to put their triple-play edition of Brian De Palma’s 1983 crime drama inside a recreation of Tony Montana’s “little friend” – also known as a Colt AR-15 with fake M203 grenade launcher – Universal’s DVD design department plumped for a pseudo cigar box instead. Inside you’ll find a dollar bill with Tony’s face on it that reads “I TRUST ME”, Tony’s driver’s licence, several high quality character photo prints and a tie clip with Tony’s insignia on etched onto it. Note the neat ‘The World Is Yours’ cigar band on the corner as well as the conspicuous lack of any actual Cuban cigars – which would be very much illegal, of course…
Current Price Online: £49.99
At first glance, this box set looks pretty unremarkable. Once you open it up, however, it’s safe to say your jaw will drop – perhaps low enough for an octopus to crawl out. As well as the three movies you’d expect in a Vengeance Trilogy box set – namely Park Chan-wook’s Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance – it’s also got a life-size hammer that doubles as a bottle opener. Sure, they could have snuck a rubbery squid in there, but that’s just a choking hazard waiting to happen and they’re notoriously difficult to open beers with. On top of the films and the hammer there are special features discs for each movie, several still print outs and some brownish blueprints – though let’s be honest, you’re probably just going to get this one so you can shout “Hammer time!” before popping open a Hite.
Current price online: £59.99
Terminator Salvation isn’t necessarily everyone’s first thought when it comes to Must-Buy Elaborate Blu-Ray Box Set purchases, but this little metal-effect skull box has a neat trick up its sleeve, or, rather, round the back of its cranium. As well has having room for the new Blu-ray itself, it also has slots for The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, all in the same bonce, making this a must buy for Skynet completists. The Blu-ray of the Salvation itself, meanwhile, has all the usual mod cons – deleted scenes, mini documentaries and the like – but it’s the high quality robo-skull that’ll most likely raise an ‘Add To Basket’ eyebrow.
Current price online: £117.99
Four Rambo movies. One oversized plastic grenade casing. Several years’ worth of weird looks from anyone who sees it on your DVD shelf. The Blu-rays themselves have some amazing extras too, including featurettes called “How To Become Rambo”, “Guts And Glory”, “Sly Vs. Rambo” and “Rambonomics” on top of a “humorous ending” for First Blood and audio commentary from Sly as well. Annoyingly, there’s no news on an overscreen kill count for the fourth film – the confusingly-titled Rambo – a film which sees 236 people die in 92 minutes. First Blood, meanwhile, only has one person die. In 93 minutes.
Current price online: £30
A simple one and a rare one, this: Alex Cox’s 1984 cult classic Repo Man – and not 2010’s immensely disappointing Jude Law and Forest Whitaker sci-fi Repo Men – in a licence plate-shaped tin box, complete with soundtrack, booklet and poster print out. The perfect thing for anyone who loves Repo Man, though perhaps not as impressive as, say, a car-shaped number or a bust of Harry Dean Stanton. We can but dream…
Current price online: $27.50
In the topic of licence plates, here’s one with a touch more pop cultural cache: OUTATIME. As well as that licence plate of licence plates, there’s a steelbook trilogy box, blueprints for the De Lorean, scientific sketches for the hoverboard, a copy of the Hill Valley Telegraph, a photo of Doc Brown and Marty by the clock from BTTF III, four massive posters (including one for the 25th anniversary rerelease), your very own Gray’s Sports Almanac and, um, Blu-rays of the actual films. All you need now is your very own pair of self-lacing Nikes and you’ve got the whole package.
Current price online: $120.00
Going through this hollowed-out bookshelf-busting tome’s contents for the first time, you might be a smidge disappointed. There’s a lot of paper, for starters, and unlike The Vengeance’s Trilogy there’s no bottle opener version of an iconic film prop – a Holy Grail with a corkscrew attachment is begging to be made – but if you look a little closer you’ll see a real diamond in amongst the rough stuff, namely a gloriously-detailed, 144 page long reproduction of Henry Jones Sr.’s grail diary. Then there’s a film cell, a grail rubbing, the menu from Pankot Palace, a Club Obi-Wan matchbook, four film stills, two photos and some zeppelin travel tickets. Oh, and the Indy trilogy on Blu-ray and some movie about a skull or something.
Current price online: £81.68
As you’d expect from a movie about cars that transform into talking robots, the box set for Michael Bay’s original three tranformeraramas requires a little bit of deconstruction before you can get at that robot-on-robot violence you adore. First, you must take out the upside-down pyramid from atop the static base. Then you must use your best origami skills to unfurl each side and reveal the discs. Then, you must watch the films. Then must you reconstruct the inverted triangle and put it back on your shelf. Then you must worry about whether $144.95 for all this and a signed a plastic plaque is a good investment. No really, you must.
Current price online: $144.95
The Wanted box set you never knew you wanted comes with the usual booklet bumph, character artwork and plastic still stand, but the real beauty of it is in the casing that covers the whole package. Inspired by the bullet-bending antics of the Angelina and the rest of the assassins at The Fraternity, there’s a fake casing built into the plastic shell, making it appear like someone’s slung a slug at your very own copy of Timur Bekmambetov’s actioner. The biggest absence is a minaturised version of the Loom Of Fate, which could conceivably print off your week’s lottery numbers or order something at your nearest Chinese takeway, but considering the reduced price tag don’t hold your breath that’ll happen any time soon…
Current price online: $9.98
The Twilight Saga has issued a number of different limited edition DVD and Blu-ray releases, from the simpler The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Limited Edition Memory Box) to the altogether shinier Twilight Ultimate Collectors Gift Set from back in 2009. Open the box and you’ll find a Twilight watch, a Twilight charm bracelet, a Twilight mirror (with Edward’s face on it), a Twilight book, a batch of Twilight stills and a copy of the Twilight soundtrack. All of this is wrapped up in a ribbon, stamped with a fake wax seal – and this is just for the first film. Imagine what Summit Entertainment have planned for all four of the Twilight film series when it gets its ultimate Blu-ray collectors edition release. We’re guessing life-sized busts of the three leads, glitter dust and a collapsible double bed – for starters.
Current price online: $99.99