While cinema connoisseurs may claim to be attracted to the DVD for the enhanced sound and video resolution, everyone is a sucker for an extra.
Finding a child who doesn't prefer the toy-enhanced kid's meal at a fast food restaurant is all but impossible, and finding a DVD fan who doesn't prefer the fully loaded disc is equally unlikely.
Those little making-of documentaries and special-effects reels shine new light on classic films and offer insight into new releases. It's like film school without the bank-breaking tuition.
Below are some DVD releases that offer not only the main course movie, but a variety of extra appetizers as well.
Spartacus, Critereon Collection: Few companies have embraced DVD's possibilities with the gusto of the folks at Critereon. Their releases of classic films and cult favorites often include treasures unimagined by film fans. The recent re-release of Spartacus includes commentary tracks, sketches by director Stanley Kubrick, documentaries about the production and its subsequent restoration and deleted scenes.
Seven: Director David Fincher's stylish meditation on the cops-and-killers genre includes four commentary tracks featuring Mr. Fincher and stars Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt. It also includes deleted scenes and extended takes, an exploration of the groundbreaking title sequence, animated still galleries and a theatrical trailer.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: While none of the DVD releases by Steven Spielberg have included commentary tracks by the famed director, the new edition of his first foray into the UFO genre does include an extensive documentary in which he participated. The two-disc set also includes a short documentary filmed at the time of the movie's original release in 1977, deleted scenes and theatrical trailers.
Little Nicky: A movie doesn't need to be a classic to get the full DVD treatment. Although critically panned, the latest Adam Sandler effort boasts deleted scenes, two commentary tracks, a documentary, trailers and something called Satan's Top Forty, which includes appearances by heavy metal heroes such as Ozzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons and Ronnie James Dio.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day: When this Arnold Schwarzenegger hit was released in 1991, it was hyped as a showcase for a new breed of special-effects technology. It stands to reason that its DVD release might also serve as a platform for technological possibilities. Few DVD releases have been as chock full of extra goodies, before or since. Included are three commentary tracks, theatrical trailers, two versions of the movie, two making-of documentaries and one documentary about the Universal Studios theme park attraction, cast information, the entire screenplay, 700 storyboard drawings and a 32-page booklet, all in a tough-looking metal case.
Superman: Sometimes a flashy DVD release can breathe new life into an all but forgotten film. When released in 1978, Superman was an event on the same scale as Star Wars, released the year before. But time has not been kind to the man in tights - until now. Warner Brothers recently released a restored version of the film that includes deleted scenes, a score-only audio track, screen tests for the roles of Superman and Lois Lane and three behind-the-scenes documentaries.