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DVD gifts with nostalgia

“Lawrence of Arabia” gets a special 50th anniversary treatment.

Columbia Pictures

“Lawrence of Arabia” gets a special 50th anniversary treatment.

Every year at the holidays, we set our shopping sights on the newest, the latest, the trendiest. But if you’ve got a video buff on your list, you’ll find that many of this season’s DVD picks are about looking back, about holding onto yesterday, or yesteryear. Sweeping studio-vault surveys, sign-off collections of Batflicks and Harry Potter movies, toasts to “Friends” and “Entourage” . . . the list goes on. (As one fondly remembered reissue might kinda-sorta melodiously put it, “Those were the daaays.”) We offer some titles to consider.


Favorites/Classics/Etc.

UNIVERSAL 100TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION

Vault minders at the venerable Hollywood studio have been rolling out terrific Blu-ray reissues throughout the year, taking a fresh hi-def look at everything from “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” to “Jaws” and “E.T.” Any would make a swell gift, of course. But if you just can’t choose — and if you’ve got the scratch — they’re also included in this 25-film survey, complete with 72-page retrospective book and soundtrack sampler CD. (Universal, $349.98)

HARRY POTTER WIZARD’S COLLECTION

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You might need to employ one of Hermione’s levitation spells to get this 31-disc, complete saga set home from the store. The box includes all of the series’ DVD supplements, as well as elaborate tchotchkes such as a fabric map of Hogwarts suitable for framing. You’ll also get parts 7 and 8 of the DVD series’ excellent documentary collection, “Creating the World of Harry Potter,” although these are also available as part of a just released, more economical “Ultimate” reissue of “Deathly Hallows.” (Warner, $499.99)

Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Ron Phillips/Warner Brothers

Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

And so Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s Batman ends, memorably. The Blu-ray includes lengthy bonus segments on the film and the Batmobile’s evolution, and, for true diehards, it’s available in a gift set with a Batcowl prop. Nolan’s entire trilogy also gets a gift-set release complete with a collectible book. (Warner, prices vary; available Dec. 4)

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

What’s way bigger than Omar Sharif on the desert horizon? This lavishly packaged 50th anniversary reissue of David Lean’s masterwork, which showcases the film’s new 4K restoration, and includes a new Peter O’Toole interview and an entire disc of other exclusive material. An 88-page coffee table tome conveys that epic feel. (Sony, $95.99)

INDIANA JONES: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES

The entire Indy saga is collected on Blu-ray for the first time — which is enough, fittingly, to make you feel like a little kid on Christmas. (Paramount, $99.98)

“Kill Bill: Vol. 1” is on “Tarantino XX.”

Andrew Cooper/Miramax Films

“Kill Bill: Vol. 1” is on “Tarantino XX.”

TARANTINO XX

Gear up for next month’s release of “Django Unchained” with a comprehensive eight-film Blu-ray set revisiting Quentin Tarantino’s maverick filmography to date. Includes all of his feature directorial work, from “Reservoir Dogs” to “Inglourious Basterds,” plus his crackerjack scripting gig on “True Romance.” A pair of bonus discs offer five hours of critics’ retrospectives and other all-new supplements. (Lionsgate, $119.99; in stores Tuesday)

THE INCREDIBLE MEL BROOKS

As the hardcover-booklet packaging on this DVD/CD combo release aptly puts it, “Welcome to the history of Mel Brooks, Part I.” The comedy cornucopia includes “2000 Year Old Man” routines, vintage appearances with Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett, and flashbacks to Brooks’s movies and his work with Sid Caesar. (Shout! Factory, $89.93)

BLADE RUNNER

Post-“Prometheus,” remember why you love Ridley Scott’s sci-fi stylings with this 30th anniversary Blu-ray of his neo-noir masterwork. The gift set includes the film’s five different cuts, plus a replica flying car and other collectibles. (Warner, $64.99)

The complete “Friends” series is available.

The complete “Friends” series is available.

Television

FRIENDS: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Here they are, together again for the first time: all 10 seasons of the show that defined our 20s (you know, in an NBC sitcom-ish sort of way). The Blu-ray set’s four hours of new extras include a retrospective documentary, unaired footage, and a gag reel. (Warner, $279.98)

ENTOURAGE: THE COMPLETE SERIES

And speaking of friends – Vince, Eric, and the boys reprise their eight-season Hollywood hangout session (the first time seasons 1 through 5 have been available in hi-def, for those who like to live large). (HBO, $249.99; Blu-ray, $299.99)

ALL IN THE FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Archie, Edith, Mike, and Gloria spend nine seasons, give or take, testing opinions-per-square-foot limits in an essential DVD set. Includes original, unaired pilot, new Norman Lear interview, critical essays, and more. (Shout! Factory, $199.99)

GAME OF THRONES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

The hit fantasy series gets a Blu-ray encore in elaborate theme packaging that boasts a dragon-egg paperweight and a bonus disc of the second season premiere. (HBO, $99.97; in stores Tuesday )

THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION

Maybe you figured “Went With the Wind” could also sum up video distributors’ interest in showcasing Burnett’s classic sketches with Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, and friends. Hardly, judging by this sampling of 50 episodes picked by the pioneering comedienne herself. Includes 20 hours of retrospectives and other exclusive bonuses, all packaged in a box recalling the show’s animated credit sequences. (Time Life, carolondvd.com, $199.95)

THE FUGITIVE: THE MOST WANTED EDITION

David Janssen’s wrongly convicted Dr. Richard Kimble spent four years struggling to evade the law, clear his name, and see the One-Armed Man brought to justice. But now you can power-view the entire odyssey in, oh, four weeks or so with this new 33-disc, complete series set. (Paramount, $226.99)

Family/Animation

Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy) in “Arthur Christmas.”

Aardman Animations/Columbia Pictures

Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy) in “Arthur Christmas.”

ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

Santa’s Christmas Eve run is imagined as a perfect, paramilitarized operation in a 3-D animated feature from Aardman, the outfit behind “Wallace & Gromit.” But when a little girl’s gift is overlooked, Santa’s geeky son Arthur (James McAvoy) is distraught, and races to make things right. Also newly available: a Blu-ray two-fer of the similarly themed, similarly entertaining “Prep & Landing” holiday specials. (“Arthur,” Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $40.99; 3-D, $55.99)

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: IT’S A SPONGEBOB CHRISTMAS!

SpongeBob gets stop-motion animated treatment in an ode to classic Rankin-Bass holiday specials. Something to do with Plankton cooking up a scheme to make sure this is the year he gets more than a lump of coal from Santa. But hey, they could toss SpongeBob together with an elf dentist and we’d watch – they had us at “claymation.” (Paramount, $14.99)

ADVENTURE TIME: JAKE VS. ME-MOW

If you and yours dig the animated exploits of Finn the human and his magical dog, then you’ll really dig this disc, whimsically packaged with a wearable Finn hat. If, like us, the Cartoon Network randomness you instead go for is “Regular Show” and “Gumball,” both series have gotten recent DVD showcases as well. (Warner, $24.98)

ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT

For their fourth outing, prehistoric pals Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo), and saber-toothed Diego (Denis Leary) are dropped into a pirate tale. With Peter Dinklage as a gold-toothed monkey mariner and Jennifer Lopez as his tigress first mate. (Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)

Bugs and Elmer are in a new box set.

Bugs and Elmer are in a new box set.

LOONEY TUNES PLATINUM COLLECTION VOLUME TWO

Cartoon Network sure keeps making a push with “The Looney Tunes Show,” its “hip” Bugs-and-Daffy update. And like Bugs spotting his Kristen Wiig-voiced stalker girlfriend, it’s enough to make us run screaming – right back to the classic, genuinely funny stuff, showcased here in a 50-short hit parade. (Warner, $26.99; Blu-ray, $44.98)

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS – SEASON FOUR

Whether you’re inclined to cheer Disney’s imminent plans for “Star Wars,” or jeer the whole prospect as the rise of the Empire, here’s one more look at George Lucas’s expanded mythology when it was still his to control. Includes the two-part resurrection of demon-faced baddie Darth Maul. (Warner, $44.98; Blu-ray, $59.99)

A CHRISTMAS STORY 2

Yep, the straight-to-DVD decision-makers greenlighted this one, complete with Daniel Stern in the Darren McGavin role. Something to pop in if your cable cuts out during the original’s traditional Christmas marathon, anyway. (Warner, $27.95; Blu-ray, $29.98)

Titles are available now unless specified.

Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.
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