1 KING KONG Two-Disc Special Edition (Warner Bros) Kong wrote the book on action/adventure effects movies, and it's never been topped. SFX may have improved technically, but they've never been used to such thrilling and resonant effect. From its Gustave Doré jungle to its near-Expressionist city, Kong has all the heart it needs to cause even the most mean-spirited to suspend their disbelief. Four hours of extras offer fascinating background and how-to sequences, highlighted by Peter Jackson , director of the current remake, using 1932 methods to shoot a version of the famous lost spider pit sequence.
2 THE WIZARD OF OZ Three-Disc Collector's Edition (MGM) Despite some slightly overblown performance moments, this is pure delight visually, musically and comically. Over The Rainbow is still Judy Garland 's finest moment - short, stark and devastating. Scarecrow Ray Bolger and Cowardly Lion Bert Lahr are comic gems. Two discs of extras give a detailed anatomy of everything from the composition of Over The Rainbow to the Munchkins' rumoured on-set orgies, with lots of archival commentary from the performers. But the best treasures are four silent-era Oz films, three directed by Oz creator L. Frank Baum .
3 KAGEMUSHA (Criterion) One of Akira Kurosawa 's greatest films, Kagemusha is highly rewatchable for its scope, visuals, acting and story - a dense intrigue-laden historical fiction about warring clans in feudal Japan, its emotional grounding provided by the outsider thief drafted to impersonate a fallen warlord. Solid commentary explains period detail and links historical fact to Kurosawa's theme-driven inventions, tying in Shakespeare, Noh drama, samurai homosexuality and the director's visual style. The second disc and accompanying booklet are highlighted by a strong making-of doc and a fine look at Kurosawa's paintings.
4 BOUDU SAVED FROM DROWNING (Criterion) A Parisian bookseller saves a tramp from drowning and takes him home. But the tramp isn't grateful, cute or tameable. Simple satire on bourgeois society would be too one-sided for director Jean Renoir , who inevitably mixes human folly and nobility. On the extras, critical opinion on Boudu varies wildly. But the best feature is a guided tour of the film's Paris locations that explains the city's social history and structure, adding an important dimension otherwise lost on a non-Parisian viewer.
5 SIN CITY Recut, Extended Edition (Alliance Atlantis) Robert Rodriguez 's and Frank Miller 's noir-on-steroids fantasy is very rewatchable and big fun as both parodistic comedy and nihilistic scream. Outstanding extras begin with commentary by director Rodriguez and Miller, the comics artist/writer who created the material. He's full of fresh outsider insights on directing actors. The recut version splits the film into four distinct segments, which allows extra footage to flesh out the stories nicely. Throughout, Rodriguez emerges as a serious, developing artist with a very personal and playful cinematic vision.
6 THE FLY (20th Century Fox) A fine movie becomes a stellar DVD thanks to a brilliant extras disc with a three-hour making-of doc that features tons of illuminating on-set footage. Stars Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis get all the time they need to discuss their work, as do the film's key creators. Director David Cronenberg , mostly absent from the making-of, offers an articulate, informative and quietly humorous commentary. Goldblum is at his charismatic peak as the scientist who inadvertently fuses himself with a housefly. He and co-star Davis generate some nice heat.
7 THE SOUND OF MUSIC: 40th Anniversary Edition (20th Century Fox) The movie itself is nearly perfect. Even if the songs are over-familiar and far from your own taste, they spring to life in the context of Julie Andrews 's light-as-air performance and Robert Wise 's masterful direction. Andrews contributes generously to the commentary and retrospective making-of doc and sat with co-star Christopher Plummer for a session of reminiscences. Other cast and crew members are also on hand, and so is the original von Trapp family.
8 THE BAND WAGON Two-Disc Special Edition (Warner Bros) This may be the best Hollywood musical ever made - fast, witty and packed with terrific numbers so beautifully staged that nothing feels dated. Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse are pure romantic poetry in Dancing In The Dark, and the private-eye jazz ballet, The Girl Hunt, is 10 minutes of non-stop brilliant invention. Liza Minnelli 's giddy-with-delight commentary on her father, Vincente Minnelli 's, film is hilarious; she adeptly points out amusing details, not only in music and dance, which you'd expect, but in colour, light, costume and camera. The new digital transfer looks great.
9 ALEXANDER Two-Disc Special Edition (Warner Bros) An outstanding commentary track and four gritty, insightful making-of docs transform Oliver Stone 's monumental saga of the ancient world's greatest conqueror into a great DVD. The film itself is a confusing spear-and-sandals epic with great battles and terrific atmosphere. But a lot of of significant detail gets lost in the hubbub. The commentary by Stone and Oxford scholar Robin Lane Fox clears it up so well that the movie is more enjoyable the second time around.
10 IT'S ALL GONE PETE TONG (Alliance Atlantis) The most memorably strange film of the year. Mike Dowse 's tale of an superstar club DJ who goes deaf starts as a Spinal Tapish comedy, then launches into agonized drama. It works as both. As the dance king of Ibiza, Paul Kaye is perfect: a mindless, arrogant, wasted idiot with awesomely bad hair and a gait that suggests he's about to sproing apart at the seams. Some of the best material shows up in the extensive deleted scenes section.
= Critics' Pick
NNNNN = excellent, maintains big screen impact
NNNN = very good
NNN = worth a peek
NN = Mediocre
N = Bomb