The Mel Brooks Collection (Blu-Ray)

The Mel Brooks Collection is a value-priced box set of Brooks’ more well-known and cherished films. The nine-disc (!) set gives each film a proper treatment, with a total list including Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, History of the World Part I, Robin Hood: Men In Tights, Silent Movie, To Be Or Not To Be, and Twelve Chairs.
With all of the years between when some of these films were released, being played on normal cable stations, it is really surprising how nice some of these releases were cleaned up. The video is so sharp, in fact, that a great many of the large scenes in a History of the World Part I reveal characters, jokes, or other nuances that were previously too blurry to see.

Furthermore, the amount of additional features on each disc is nothing less than astonishing. Every disc, for example, has extended scenes, while a great deal of them have audio commentaries and actor-specific documentaries. The trivia tracks that accompany a number of films provide information that would not normally be known outside of the most rabid fans. Specific features – the comparison of storyboards from the creative process to the finished product in Spaceballs – represent a blueprint for how featurettes should be presented in future releases.

While many individuals would rather go and receive exhaustive versions of individual films, replete with different essays, featurettes, and cuts of the film, I feel that these director/period box sets are important for fostering love in a way that nothing else can. Kudos to Fox for showcasing exactly how major Brooks is in terms of all-time great directors, and while there are a few films missing from the collection (Dracula: Dead and Loving It and The Producers are two that come to mind), one will have hours and hours of footage to watch here. Pick this up for yourself, for a birthday gift, or for any excuse to have individuals see how funny these films can truly be.

Rating: 9.5/10

The Mel Brooks Collection (Blu-Ray) / 2009 Fox / 969 Minutes / http://www.fox.com

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