This year will be remembered for many things, not least of which will be the imploding economy or the stunning election of the nation's first black president in the midst of (and partially because of) this financial meltdown. But, at the end of this month, when you're deciding between making December's mortgage payment or spending just a little bit more for little (or big) Billy's holiday gift, keep in mind that dear, cute Billy will always fondly remember 2008 as the year that his beloved superheroes whammed! and powwed! their way onto the plateau of entertainment media.
From the shining big-screen debut of Iron Man to the large amounts of green produced by the Incredible Hulk, this was the year the public couldn't get enough of their favorite heroes. Even Indiana Jones escaped the clutches of the AARP just long enough to be raped by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. And audiences welcomed that sight as hungrily as they would the latest Saw installment. Fittingly, it was the darker side of heroism that truly grabbed the world by the nuts, from The Dark Knight straight on to the dawn of a gritty new James Bond adventure. Damn, everybody loves them some nuts these days.
So, whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Change (Yes, you can!), give that smiling cherub the special movie or TV series on DVD that he's been dreaming of. Heck, if Billy has access to that spiffy 50-inch HDTV that you can no longer afford, why not destroy just a little bit more of that credit and buy him a copy on Blu-ray, with its superior picture and sound fidelity? Sure, come this time next year, he might not have a roof over his head, or even clothes on his back, but the truly important thing is that this holiday he'll have a smile on his sweet, hypothetical face.
Actual loved ones will probably enjoy the following silver discs as well, even if they're not the metal kind that will help them pay their rent. And, hey! Keep in mind that the prices noted below are only the suggested retail prices. In most cases, the discs can be purchased for significantly less online, at e-retailers such as Amazon, or even in local brick-and-mortar retailers such as Newbury Comics. Speaking of comics . . .
Animated (gift) exchange
Just released December 9, Christopher Nolan's long-awaited bat-film THE DARK KNIGHT (DVD, $28.98; two-disc special-edition DVD, $34.98; Blu-ray, $35.99; limited-edition Blu-ray with Batpod, $64.98), the sequel to his quaint-by-comparison Batman Begins, can be yours at last. Unless you were stuck in a cave (er . . . bat-cave?), then you're aware that this film was bigger than Jesus. Hell, it was damn near Christmas in July when Nolan's Götterdämmerung crucified the
summer-movie competition, earning more than a half-billion dollars in the US alone, enough to put a smile on any Joker's face. Take that, Wall Street!
Not enough Batman for you and yours? How about another 35 hours worth of guano? BATMAN — THE COMPLETE ANIMATED SERIES ($107.92), a 17-disc DVD box set featuring all 109 episodes of the landmark 1990s TV series, has you covered.