20 Best Blu-rays Of 2015

From value-for-money to the titles you simply need to own, they're all here.

There's a ton of reasons to own the films you love, or even just like, on Blu-ray. There's the high quality, cool packaging, a huge array of special features, great commentary tracks and simply the opportunity to rewatch your favourites again and again. Unfortunately that's not true for every single Blu-ray that finds itself a release; sometimes, it's just the film. That's it. No frills, no spills. A massive disappointment. Like Field of Dreams (biggest Blu-ray let-down of my life). But that's neither here nor there, as luckily, this past year there's been an absolute onslaught of fantastic Blu-ray releases. Items that have warranted entry onto this list will appear for slightly different reasons; some might look beautiful but have a meagre selection of extras, or one or two might have excellent commentary tracks that are worth the simoleons the entire disc costs. Then, in the case of the Star Wars Saga, there's the box set with one of the coolest covers ever seen at your local Best Buy. Settle in and maybe start writing down some ideas for your birthday this year...

20. The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies Extended Edition

Calling a spade a spade, The Hobbit trilogy isn't great. The tone, whilst in keeping with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, doesn't fit the source material. Each film is far too long, with way too much meandering going on. The shoe-horned prequel-itis that surrounds each chapter is obvious pandering, needlessly trying to drop a reference to LotR at every turn. Orlando Bloom looks weird with contact lenses. The list goes on. Whilst the world needs Extended Editions for the Hobbit films about as much as it needs climate change, the benefit of having Peter Jackson's oeuvre on Blu-ray is the wealth of special features that he includes alongside his films. When it comes to the Battle of the Five Armies EE, the draw isn't the myriad of scenes added back into the movie - it's the refreshing honesty with which Jackson and co. present their behind-the-scenes footage. None of what is included on the extra features of this Blu-ray is studio-mandated rah-rah BS; take the featurette included alongside this edition of the movie, for example - which explains the drastically short amount of time that the director had to put together what was originally the second and final part. Eventually a heavily-fatigued Jackson is glimpsed sending everybody home from the production, so that he could have a few extra months to figure it all out; the problem being, how to make a film work that at the time they were making it up as they went along. What this led to was the ultimate decision to split The Hobbit movies from two into three - a decision previously suspected to have been a cash-grab by the studio. Not so! And we know this thanks to some of the most stark and honest special features witnessed in the last year (if not ever).
Contributor

Cinephile since 1993, aged 4, when he saw his very first film in the cinema - Jurassic Park - which is also evidence of damn fine parenting. World champion at Six Degrees of Separation. Lender of DVDs to cheap mates. Connoisseur of Marvel Comics and its Cinematic Universe.

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