Streaming or downloading movies is a convenient way to rent a flick even though the picture and sound quality are not as good as Blu-ray, but those fun behind-the-scenes extras are not usually available digitally. To keep you spinning physical discs for years to come, studios are including innovative and often immersive bonus features on the DVDs and Blu-rays of your favorite movies and TV shows. Read all about this month's best extras served up on shiny silver platters that take you beyond the feature presentations.
Despite getting an enthusiastic fanboy stamp of approval at Comic-Con, Dredd didn't benefit at the box office from all the geek-blog chatter. It's a shame because Karl Urban nails it as the masked judge from Mega-City One who, along with his psychic rookie (Olivia Thirlby), becomes trapped in the Peach Trees megablock run by the fearsome Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). This superior adaptation of the British comic is currently enjoying a healthy second life on video and will make you forget that Sylvester Stallone version ever happened.
Best Extra: It's only three minutes long, but the "Dredd Motion Comic Prequel" gives us a little backstory on Ma-Ma and how she became a tyrannical psychopath.
Extra Extras: "Mega-City Masters: 35 Years of Judge Dredd," "Day of Chaos: The Visual Effects of Dredd," "Dredd's Gear," "Welcome to Peach Trees," a featurette on the 3D process and an additional promotional featurette.
Blu-ray Bonuses: The Blu-ray has both the 2D and 3D versions of the movie encoded on one disc. During playback, if you go back to the main menu to select a different scene, the player will remember which version of the movie you were watching. If you have the capability, the 3D version is the one to watch—especially for the druggy Slo-Mo scenes shot at 3,000 frames per second.
Also underappreciated at the box office despite parents constantly griping about a lack of quality entertainment for children, Frankenweenie is an imaginative feature-length adaptation of Tim Burton's original stop-motion short about a little boy named Victor who uses his love of science to bring his beloved dog, Sparky, back to life.
Best Extra: Available on the Blu-ray only is the original 30-minute short film from 1984. This historical nugget is also available on the A Nightmare Before Christmas Blu-ray.
Extra Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a featurette on the Frankenweenie touring exhibit, a video of the Plain White T's covering the Ramones song "Pet Sematary," and some sneak peeks.
Blu-ray Bonuses: The Blu-ray contains the full two-minute home movie that Victor made of Sparky and a short in-depth documentary about the making of the movie in addition to the aforementioned original short film. The four-disc combo pack has the superior Blu-ray 3D version, which provides a lot of natural depth instead of gimmicky in-your-face shots.
Best of Warner Bros. 50-Film Collection
Here we have the largest Blu-ray collection ever made that features 50 movies, including 16 Best Picture Oscar winners. The set includes classics like Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, North by Northwest, Ben-Hur, Doctor Zhivago, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Exorcist, The Shining, Chariots of Fire, Amadeus, Goodfellas, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Dark Knight, Inception and many, many more Warner Bros. movies released between 1932 and 2010. The set will set you back $367 on Amazon, which works out to an economical $7.34 per Blu-ray.
Best Extra: The 52 discs come in handsome book-style packaging with a limited-edition poster and a set of collectible movie postcards.
Extra Extras: All of the movies come with their own set of bonus features on the individual discs, many of which are included on the standalone Blu-ray releases (for the movies that were actually released on Blu-ray prior to this collection, that is).
Blu-ray Bonuses: There are two new comprehensive documentaries in this set for Warner Bros. lovers: "Tales from the Warner Bros. Lot" and "The Warner Bros. Lot Tour," in case you can't make it to Burbank, California to tour the lot in person.