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The 2005 Golden Gavel Awards

On January 16th, 2006, DVD Verdict announced their Golden Gavel awards for the best DVDs of 2005. The reviewing staff of DVD Verdict each drafted a list of their ten picks for the best of the year, and those lists were compiled into a master list based on the rankings given to each film. 129 DVDs appeared on the lists from the 29 voting staff members, and from those nominees emerged the ten winners. But this year, we introduced a new category: The Jury Voice Award.

1. King Kong
Read our review (Judge Ryan Keefer)
Long before computer-generated animation made things "realistic," King Kong terrified audiences with stop-motion animation. Fans who have been waiting for this for years were given reason enough to celebrate. The behind the scenes documentary is among the most extensive in recent memory, and the picture simply couldn't look grander. It's nice to have Kong enthusiast Peter Jackson contributing to such stellar work, even recreating the lost spider scene. Sure, you could get The King Kong Collection (also a Golden Gavel nominee), or even the Kong collector's edition, but this packed two-disc edition is the only one most film lovers really need. At less than $20, it's a steal. How else to say "One of the greatest, most beloved, most influential movies of all time gets an awesome DVD release"?
1st: 6
2nd: 4
3rd: 1
5th: 1

2. The Incredibles
Read our Supreme Court review
How often is it that you find an animated film, ostensibly for kids, that prompts six grown men to wax prosaic about its merits? Such is the power of The Incredibles. From the inventive mind of Brad Bird, director of the underrated Iron Giant, comes Pixar's most mature, emotionally complex, and energetic adventure yet. And, with comprehensive extras and nearly perfect video and audio, this sets the standard for animated films on DVD. No capes!
1st: 4
2nd: 1
3rd: 1
4th: 1
5th: 1
6th: 1

3. Batman Begins: Deluxe Edition
Read our review (Chief Justice Mike Jackson)
Remember in the comics when Bane broke Batman's back, and everyone assumed that we was as good as dead? Yeah, that's what we all thought after Batman and Robin broke the franchise's back...and heck, Bane was in it. You can't keep a good superhero down, and Memento director Christopher Nolan and American Psycho star Christian Bale were just the men to reboot the Dark Knight. Warner Bros. did a fine job with the film on DVD as well, with great picture and sound, and all the extras a comic fan could want, even a comic book!
1st: 1
2nd: 2
3rd: 2
5th: 2
9th: 1
10th: 2

4. The Wizard Of Oz: Special Edition
Read our review (Judge Ryan Keefer)
It has lions and tigers and bears, oh my! It's endorsed by the Lollipop Guild! It has brains, and heart, and courage! It's the DVD that will make you think you're not in Kansas anymore, even if you are in Kansas. With a digitally restored picture and two discs devoted solely to bonus features, this DVD will get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!
1st: 3
2nd: 1
3rd: 1
5th: 1
8th: 1
9th: 1

5. The Fly: Collector's Edition
Read our review (Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky)
David Cronenberg's films are being slowly re-released in collector's edition DVD packages. So far, each of them have been outstanding sets, from Cronenberg's insightful and intelligent commentaries down to the grab-bag of extras included. Icky, gross, disquieting, and completely Cronenberg -- The Fly finally got all the respect it deserves in a mainstream release. 20th Century Fox delivers an irresistible look at this 1986 entry, and makes it look shiny and new. David Prior, DVD producer extraordinaire, provides a wealth of extras for the Cronenberg completists out there, including commentaries, documentaries, and original screenplays. You won't find more bang for your buck in all the releases of 2005 than right here.
2nd: 1
3rd: 2
4th: 1
5th: 2
6th: 1

6. Lost: The Complete First Season
Read our Supreme Court review
Not only did Lost help stimulate and redefine television when it began airing, but now the release of Lost: The Complete First Season has changed the face of "television on DVD." Buena Vista packed the set with enough extra features to tempt even those DVR fans who burned every new episode as they aired to make a purchase. It raised the bar on definitive packaging for a program. It also has the distinction of being the first television single-season box set to place in our Golden Gavels winner list. Too bad you had to wait until the second season to find out what was inside the hatch!
1st: 2
3rd: 2
4th: 1

7. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith
Read our Supreme Court review
Unless George Lucas changes his mind yet again, Revenge of the Sith is the final motion picture in the epic Star Wars series. We've witnessed the dirty deeds of one Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith. We've seen his son, Luke Skywalker, take down a galactic Empire and turn his father back to the Light Side. And with the prequel trilogy, we've seen Anakin Skywalker grow from a precocious young lad to the tortured Jedi who would become Darth Vader. The cycle is now complete. Oh, and the THX masters always deliver the DVD goods, and here it's no exception.
2nd: 1
3rd: 1
4th: 1
5th: 1
9th: 4

8. The Val Lewton Horror Collection
Read our Supreme Court review
Val Lewton's movies have long been the stuff cult cinema dreams are made of, and Turner Home Entertainment fulfilled the dreams of classic horror and thriller fans everywhere by releasing his entire RKO catalog in one box set. The extras are dynamite, and for the first time we get a collection of movies that does justice for the master of moody "no budget" films.
1st: 1
2nd: 2
4th: 1

9. Ran: Criterion Collection
Read our review (Appellate Judge Dan Mancini)
Akira Kurosawa could not have made this pointed examination of the collapse of a man and his kingdom a day earlier. It takes a 75-year-old man to understand and empathize with Shakespeare's King Lear -- and it takes a talent like Kurosawa to turn Lear's plight into a purely Japanese spectacle. This might be one of the greatest Shakespeare adaptations in cinema. The film has never looked better, the long-awaited documentary A.K. is included, along with other substantive extras that continue to keep Criterion in the upper echelon of DVD producers.
1st: 1
5th: 1
7th: 1
8th: 1
9th: 1
10th: 1

10. The Batman Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997
Read our Batman review (Judge Ryan Keefer)
Read our Batman Returns review (Appellate Judge Michael Stailey)
Read our Batman review (Appellate Judge James A. Stewart)
Read our Batman & Robin review (Judge David Johnson)
In 1989, comic book movies changed forever thanks to Tim Burton, Jack Nicholson, and Michael Keaton. Dark, quirky, and beautiful, Batman charged into theatres and never looked back as he ruled the summer in a new black get-up. It would only take a fashion designer and studio mismanagement to take the franchise down, but oh, what a ride it was. Warner Brothers finally gives us all that we need to enjoy the Dark Knight as he appeared in the '90s. Audio/video presentations that are far superior to the original releases, real commentaries, and tons of extras to explain why we loved and loathed all four movies.
2nd: 1
3rd: 1
7th: 1
8th: 1

Jury Voice Award: Frank Miller's Sin City: Recut, Extended, Unrated
DVD Verdict's readers have spoken, and sin is in. This new version loaded with extras should have came out first, but at least the dreaded double dip of everyone's favorite ultraviolent fantasy finally delivered the Sin City we were expecting. Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez finally showed us what a comic book movie could look like, and it was dazzling. Though most of the additional added elements were credits to each story, now presented in separate segments as they appeared in Miller's graphic novels, the newly recut movie is still one of the most successful experimental films of 2005. The special edition has a massive number of special features that bust the filmmaking process wide open. Rodriguez loves the craft and loves DVD, and this edition is a showcase for his passion.

Other Nominees:

Aeon Flux: The Complete Animated Collection
Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection
The American Astronaut
Angel: The Complete Fifth Season
Arrested Development: Season Two
Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 1 (Top Hat / Swing Time / Follow the Fleet / Shall We Dance / The Barkleys of Broadway)
Au Hasard Balthazar: Criterion Collection
Bambi: Platinum Edition
Batman And Robin: Special Edition
Battlestar Galactica: Season One
Beavis And Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection: Volume One
Ben-Hur: Four-Disc Collector's Edition
The Big Red One: The Reconstruction
The Blind Dead Collection
Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series: Collector's Edition
The Brak Show: Volume 1
The Bridge Of San Luis Rey
Bringing Up Baby
Bruce Lee Ultimate Collection
Bullitt: Special Edition
Cannibal Holocaust: 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition
Chappelle's Show: Season Two
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
Cinderella Man
Cinderella: Platinum Edition
The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-Ton Megaset
The Complete Thin Man Collection
Constantine: Two-Disc Deluxe Edition
Creature Comforts: The Complete First Season
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004
Danger: Diabolik
Dead Ringers
Deadwood: The Complete First Season
Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season
The Devil's Rejects: Unrated Edition
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry: Supercharger Edition
Elektra: Unrated Director's Cut
F For Fake: Criterion Collection
Fire And Ice
The Flesh Eaters
For Your Height Only / Challenge Of The Tiger
Friends: The One with All Ten Seasons
The Frighteners: Unrated Director's Cut
Fruit of Paradise
The Garbo Silents Collection
Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper
The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Vols. 1-3
Heat: Special Edition
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe: Season One, Volume One
Home Movies: Season Two
Hoop Dreams: Criterion Collection
Imagine John Lennon: Deluxe Edition
The Innocents
Jaws: 30th Anniversary Edition
The Job: The Complete Series

Jules And Jim: Criterion Collection
Kagemusha: Criterion Collection
Kingdom Of Heaven
The King Kong Collection
Kings And Queen
Kolchak: The Night Stalker: The Complete Series
Kung Fu Hustle
Land Of The Dead: Unrated Director's Cut
Layer Cake
Leave It To Beaver: The Complete First Season
L'Eclisse: Criterion Collection
Le Samourai: Criterion Collection
The Lone Gunmen: The Complete Series
Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume Three
The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein
Major Dundee: The Extended Version
The Man Who Fell To Earth: Criterion Collection
The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek
Miracles: The Series
The Motorcycle Diaries
The Muppet Show: Season One
My Own Private Idaho: Criterion Collection
Mysterious Skin
Night Moves
Office Space: Special Edition With Flair
Panic in the Year Zero / The Last Man on Earth
Peter Jackson's King Kong Production Diaries
Point Blank
Raging Bull: Special Edition
Reflections Of Evil
Seinfeld: Season Four
Seinfeld: Seasons 5 & 6 Giftset
The Sid Caesar Collection: 50th Anniversary Edition
Signs Of Life
Silver City
The Sound Of Music: 40th Anniversary Edition
Spaceballs: Collector's Edition
Star Trek: Nemesis: Collector's Edition
State Fair: 60th Anniversary Edition
Story Of A Love Affair
A Tale Of Two Sisters: Unrated Edition
Team America: World Police: Uncensored And Unrated Special Collector's Edition
Titanic: Collector's Edition
To Kill A Mockingbird: Legacy Series Edition
The Truman Show: Special Edition
The Twilight Zone: Season 2: The Definitive Edition
Ugetsu: Criterion Collection
Undeclared: The Complete Series
A Very Long Engagement
The Warner Gangsters Collection
The War Of The Worlds (1953)
Wonderfalls: The Complete Viewer Collection
The Work Of Director Mark Romanek

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