Blu-ray
Highly Recommended
4.5 stars
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$349.98
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$153.49 (56%)
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Overall Grade
4.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
Supplements
5 Stars
High-Def Extras
4 Stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

Universal 100th Anniversary Collection

Street Date:
November 6th, 2012
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
November 19th, 2012
Movie Release Year:
2012
Studio:
Universal
Length:
0 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Just in case you haven't bought most of these on Blu-ray already, Universal has seen fit to release a gargantuan set that includes 25 films throughout the ages of their existence. The movies that date pre-2000s are some of the most iconic and memorable films the studio has to offer. Many of them are classics in every sense of the word. Comedy, drama, action, adventure, it's all in here. The problem is you might have purchased all, or most, of them in standalone releases.

Since we've already reviewed every film that can be found in this set, we'll simply link to the previous reviews below:

1930: 'All Quiet on the Western Front'
1931: 'Dracula'
1941: ''Buck Privates''
1959: 'Pillow Talk'
1960: 'Spartacus'
1962: 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'
1963: 'The Birds'
1973: 'American Graffiti'
1973: 'The Sting'
1975: 'Jaws'
1978: 'National Lampoon's Animal House'
1982: 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial'
1983: 'Scarface'
1985: 'The Breakfast Club'
1985: 'Back to the Future'
1985: 'Out of Africa'
1989: 'Field of Dreams'
1989: 'Do the Right Thing'
1993: 'Jurassic Park'
1995: 'Apollo 13'
2001: 'The Fast and the Furious'
2002: 'The Bourne Identity'
2008: 'Mamma Mia'
2010: 'Despicable Me'

Personally, I take issue with the inclusion of 'Fast and the Furious,' 'Mamma Mia,' and 'Despicable Me' being placed in the same collection of movies as 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'Jaws.' It's obvious that in the later years Universal seemed to be reaching to include some newer films. Better picks might have included 'The Deer Hunter,' 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High,' or even Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' for more recent releases. A great selling point for this set would've been for Universal to include an exclusive release of 'Schindler's List.' I know it's a pipe dream at this point, but think of how much more coveted this set would be if it was the only place, for now, to get a Blu-ray of one of the last great anticipated Blu-ray releases.

However, the set does contain a large number of cinematic classics. Directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Mulligan, John Hughes, Robert Zemeckis, Sydney Pollack and Brian De Palma are featured. Many of these films, their actors and directors are the who's who of cinematic icons. While the pickings get slimmer after the year 2000, this is still an extremely solid set of movies.

The problem still remains though, that a set like this is cost prohibitive to some people, especially because they've already spent the money picking up many of the movies as they've come out. Even with the extra goodies, like the booklet and restored shorts, it's hard to justify spending so much money for many movies that are sure to be duplicates of stuff already on your shelf.


The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

The packaging of the set is pretty much identical to Universal's packaging of the 'Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection.' It comes in book form, with each page constructed from somewhat sturdy cardboard material. Discs slide into a side slot. Packaging discs this way almost makes it impossible to not get fingerprints on the disc when you remove them. I've only had the set a couple days and have already had problems with the discs slipping all the way through and into the binding of the book making it impossible to shut unless you can slip your finger in and push the discs back out of the binding area. It's quite an annoyance if it ends up happening. It's certainly hard to justify the high sticker price for packaging that seems pretty flimsy from the outset.'

Each section of the package has a nice display though. On the left side we get the release year along with a classic one-sheet from the movie's theatrical run. On the right side is where the disc is stored along with an introduction to the movie (what makes it special and inclusion worthy), a few interesting factoids about the movie, and a list of the bonus features included on that particular disc.

Included with the set is a 71-page, full-color, booklet that is dedicated to showcasing Universal Studios and their films throughout the past 100 years. Not only does it discuss most of the movies included in the set, but it covers a vast expanse of Universal's history. It's only a cursory view of the history of the studio, since it's been made to fit into a small book, but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

Also, included are two bonus discs. The first is a disc of exclusive special features that include vintage shorts, vintage cartoons, and the collection of the "100 Years of Universal" featurettes. Some of which can be found on random discs throughout the Hitchcock set. The other bonus disc included is a CD that contains some of the most famous musical scores included in this set, and also a few movies that aren't. You'll find music from 'Psycho,' 'Airport,' 'Scarface,' 'Jaws,' and 'Touch of Evil' just to name a few. There are 15 tracks in all on this disc.

This is a 27-disc set. All of the Blu-ray Discs included (25 total) are 50GB discs. The bonus disc with the vintage shorts and cartoons is, disappointingly, a standard DVD. The last disc is the CD mentioned above.

Finally, the entirety of the set's contents slip nicely into a sturdy outer case which is classically adorned with famous artwork from the included movies. Even though it contains 25 movies, Universal has done a good job keeping the set as compact as possible. Although, that does mean a tradeoff with the packaging and doing away with disc hubs and using simple slide-in disc holders.


The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Because these are all repurposed discs, and no new remasters have been done for this set, we'll refer you to the reviews that have already been written for each respective movie. You can visit the original review by following the direct link in the Movie Itself section. Or you can take a quick glance below at the list we compiled below of the scores that each one of these movies received in the video department.

1930: 'All Quiet on the Western Front': 4.5

1931: 'Dracula': 4.5

1941: 'Buck Privates': 3

1959: 'Pillow Talk': 4

1960: 'Spartacus'

1962: 'To Kill a Mocking Bird': 4.5

1963: 'The Birds': 4

1973: 'American Graffiti': 2

1973: 'The Sting': 3.5

1975: 'Jaws': 5

1978: 'Animal House': 2.5

1982: 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial': 4.5

1983: 'Scarface': 3.5

1985: 'The Breakfast Club': 3.5

1985: 'Back to the Future': 4

1985: 'Out of Africa': 3

1989: 'Field of Dreams': 3

1989: 'Do the Right Thing': 4.5

1993: 'Jurassic Park': 3.5

1995: 'Apollo 13': 4.5

2001: 'Fast and the Furious': 4.5

2002: 'The Bourne Identity': 4

2008: 'Mamma Mia': 4

2010: 'Despicable Me': 5


The Audio: Rating the Sound

Because these are all repurposed discs, and no new audio mixes have been produced for this set, we'll refer you to the reviews that have already been written for each respective movie. You can visit the original review by following the direct link in the Movie Itself section. Or you can take a quick glance below at the list we compiled below of the scores that each one of these movies received in the audio department.

1930: 'All Quiet on the Western Front': 3.5

1931: 'Dracula': 4

1941: 'Buck Privates': 3

1959: 'Pillow Talk': 4

1960: 'Spartacus'

1962: 'To Kill a Mocking Bird': 4

1963: 'The Birds': 4

1973: 'American Graffiti': 3

1973: 'The Sting': 3.5

1975: 'Jaws': 5

1978: 'Animal House': 3

1982: 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial': 4.5

1983: 'Scarface': 4

1985: 'The Breakfast Club': 3.5

1985: 'Back to the Future': 4

1985: 'Out of Africa': 3.5

1989: 'Field of Dreams': 3

1989: 'Do the Right Thing': 4

1993: 'Jurassic Park': 5

1995: 'Apollo 13': 4.5

2001: 'Fast and the Furious': 5

2002: 'The Bourne Identity': 4.5

2008: 'Mamma Mia': 3.5

2010: 'Despicable Me': 5


The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Please visit the direct links in the Movie Itself section to take a gander at the film-specific special features that are included. Listing them all out would make this review unnecessarily long. For a quick reference on the scores each received check out the list below.

1930: 'All Quiet on the Western Front': 3

1931: 'Dracula': 4

1941: 'Buck Privates': 1.5

1959: 'Pillow Talk': 3

1960: 'Spartacus'

1962: 'To Kill a Mocking Bird': 4

1963: 'The Birds': 4

1973: 'American Graffiti': 2

1973: 'The Sting': 1.5

1975: 'Jaws': 3

1978: 'Animal House': 2

1982: 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial': 3

1983: 'Scarface': 3.5

1985: 'The Breakfast Club': 2.5

1985: 'Back to the Future': N/A (the score was given on trilogy as a whole in the original review)

1985: 'Out of Africa': 2.5

1989: 'Field of Dreams': 4.5

1989: 'Do the Right Thing': 4.5

1993: 'Jurassic Park': N/A (the score was given on trilogy as a whole in the original review)

1995: 'Apollo 13': 3

2001: 'Fast and the Furious': 3

2002: 'The Bourne Identity': 3.5

2008: 'Mamma Mia': 2.5

2010: 'Despicable Me': 3


HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are two discs that are exclusive to this set. Their contents are discussed in detail below.

Bonus DVD

Cartoon Shorts

  • 'Spooks' (SD, 7 min.) - A short from 1930 featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • 'Merry Old Soul' (SD, 8 min.) - Another Oswald short, this time from 1933.
  • 'Wax Works' (SD, 9 min.) - A 1934 short, again, showcasing Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • 'Jolly Little Elves' (SD, 9 min.) - A musical short from 1934 where a bunch of elves help out an old shoemaker while he's asleep.
  • 'Hollywood Bowl' (SD, 7 min.) - A short from 1938 where famous Hollywood faces from that era gather at the Hollywood Bowl to watch a show.
  • 'Life Begins for Andy Panda' (SD, 8 min.) - In 1939 a cartoon character called Andy Panda was born, this is his origin story.
  • 'Knock Knock' (SD, 7 min.) - A 1940 short that features Andy Panda going up against the antics of one Woody Woodpecker.
  • 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B' (SD, 7 min.) - A 1941 short about a trumpeter plucked from the stage to be a bugle boy in the military. This is one of those old-timey cartoons that would be considered overtly racist today.
  • 'The Barber of Seville' (SD, 7 min.) - A short from 1944 where Woody Woodpecker takes over a barber's shop and wild hijinks ensue.
  • 'Musical Moments from Chopin' (SD, 8 min.) - A 1947 short featuring both Andy Panda and Woody Woodpecker as they go head-to-head in a dueling pianos battle.
  • 'Maw and Paw' (SD, 6 min.) - A wacky short from 1953 that shows some of the wild antics of a backwoods farming family.
  • 'Chilly Willy' (SD, 6 min.) - A 1953 short about Chilly Willy the penguin trying to get warm on a boat visiting Antarctica, but he has to battle it out with a dog that's on board.
  • 'Crazy Mixed Up Pup' (SD, 6 min.) - A 1955 short where a dog and its human owner switch places after an emergency blood transfusion where the owner receives dog plasma and the dog gets human plasma.
  • 'Sh-h-h-h-h-h' (SD, 6 min.) - A short from 1955 where a man is told by his doctor that he needs to live in complete silence or his nervous condition will cause his body to explode.

Shorts

  • 'Runt Page' (SD, 10 min.) - A live-action short from 1932 featuring Shirley Temple as she dreams about a newsroom full of diaper-clad babies talking with adult voices.
  • 'Slide, Babe, Slide' (SD, 10 min.) - A great short from 1932 featuring Babe Ruth as he joins a group of little leaguers to play some ball with them.
  • 'Cartoonland Mysteries' (SD, 11 min.) - A short from 1936 that shows exactly how an animated short is produced, how the artists draw each character over and over, and how it's put together from start to finish.

100 Years of Universal

These shorts simply celebrate Universal and can be seen spread out amongst other Universal 100th Anniversary releases. The problem here is that they are presented in high-def on those other Blu-rays, but here they're simply standard definition as they've been included on a DVD.

  • The Carl Lammle Era (SD, 9 min.) - A short look at the world's first movie mogul. The man who eventually founded Universal.
  • The Lew Wasserman Era (SD, 9 min.) - This short was also located on the 'Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection' set. It's a short piece about the famous Hollywood agent who guided the career of Alfred Hitchcock, among others.
  • Academy Award Winners (SD, 10 min.) - A brief look at Universal's most revered films that went on to win Oscars.
  • The 70s (SD, 11 min.) - A look at many of the movies Universal put out in the 70s like 'Airport,' 'The Sting,' and 'Jaws.'
  • The 80s (SD, 15 min.) - A look at Universal's success in the 80s with films like 'E.T.,' 'Back to the Future,' and 'Scarface.'
  • The Lot (SD, 9 min.) - A short tour of the Universal lot and its storied history.
  • Unforgettable Characters (SD, 8 min.) - A look at the treasure trove of memorable characters that have come out of the studio.
  • Restoring the Classics (SD, 9 min.) - A brief look at how Universal has taken their time restoring some of their classic films to preserve them for years to come.

Bonus CD

    1. 'The Bride of Frankenstein' - "Main Title"
    2. 'Touch of Evil' - "Main Title"
    3. 'Psycho' - "The Murder"
    4. 'Spartacus' - "Love Theme"
    5. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' - "Main Theme"
    6. 'Airport' - "Main Title"
    7. 'The Sting' - "The Entertainer"
    8. 'Jaws' - "Main Title"
    9. 'E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial' - "End Credits"
    10. 'Scarface' - "Tony's Theme"
    11. 'Back to the Future' - "Back to the Future"
    12. 'Out of Africa' - "I Had a Farm in Africa"
    13. 'Jurassic Park' - "End Credits"
    14. 'Apollo 13' - "Main Title"
    15. 'The Bourne Identity' - "Main Title"


Final Thoughts

When weighing whether or not to buy a set like this, there are a few factors to consider. First, you need to think if there are enough movies in the set that you don't already have to make the purchase worth it. Secondly, you need to examine the packaging. Is the packaging up to your standards? Or is it sub-par considering the high sticker price for the set? Personally, the slide-in packaging has a lot of drawbacks, and the cardboard nature of the book that contains the discs appears that it won't age well at all. Third, you have to weigh if the exclusives provided are worth the overall investment. Since there are no new films to the format included, this means simply taking into account the bonus disc. Are the inclusions of the vintage cartoons and shorts (which are only included in DVD form) enough for you to splurge on this set? If you don't have the included discs already then this set is highly recommended.

Technical Specs

  • 25 Blu-rays/DVD/CD
  • 72-Page Collector's Book

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/Multiple

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • Multiple

Audio Formats

  • Multiple

Subtitles/Captions

  • Multiple

Supplements

  • Multiple

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List Price
$349.98
Amazon
$153.49 (56%)
3rd Party
$153.00
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»

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