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.
The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy concludes with the Dark Knight (Christian Bale) facing his toughest foe yet, Bane (Tom Hardy), as well as a possible ally in Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), aka Catwoman (even though she is never addressed as such on-screen). TDKR comes to Blu-ray with several special editions, including a limited edition with broken-cowl packaging and a Best Buy exclusive Steelbook edition.
Best Extra: Warner Bros. has decided to reward those that purchase one of the Blu-ray editions with all of the bonus features—there are none included on the DVD version. The best supplement is a one-hour retrospective feature on the Batmobile, which has interviews with Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, Christopher Nolan, editors, writers and fans about the history of Batman's iconic ride.
Extra Extras: The Blu-ray also includes the comprehensive making-of documentary "Ending the Knight" that is split into several sections ("Return to the Batcave," "Beneath Gotham," "The Bat," etc.) for easy access, as well as a print campaign art gallery.
Blu-ray Bonuses: Exclusive to the Best Buy Steelbook edition is "The Dark Knight Reborn," a 38-minute documentary on Nolan's entire Batman trilogy.
Finding Nemo Blu-ray 3D
The 2003 animated favorite about the titular little clownfish who strays too far from home and goes off on a fantastic undersea adventure makes its Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D debuts this month. Pixar's fifth film features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres as the short-term-memory-challenged blue tang fish that accompanies Nemo on his journey, and Albert Brooks as Nemo's worried father, Marlin.
Best Extra: There are many bonus features included for Finding Nemo's Blu-ray debut, but the coolest one has to be the six high-definition virtual aquariums that can play for hours on your HDTV. The choices include "Anemone," "Jellyfish," "Plate Coral," "Reef," "Sandy Reef" and "School of Fish."
Extra Extras: Most of the bonus features from the original DVD release are ported over to the Blu-ray editions, including the Pixar short film Knick Knack, the original "Making Nemo" featurette, a Pixar studio tour, a short "Exploring the Reef" mini-documentary with Jean-Michel Cousteau, outtakes, deleted scenes, short behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a video encyclopedia about the real animals featured in the movie.
Blu-ray Bonuses: The Blu-ray 3D edition takes the six virtual aquariums to the next dimension—you can sit back and watch them all in 3D.
Resident Evil: Retribution
Alice (Milla Jovovich) is being held prisoner at a clandestine Umbrella Corporation research facility in this fifth entry in the never-ending Resident Evil series, which is based on the video games about a global viral outbreak that reanimates and mutates the dead. This sequel—available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D—steps it up for RE fans by bringing back some favorite characters from previous entries, including those played by Michelle Rodriguez, Oded Fehr, Boris Kodjoe and Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine.
Best Extra: The Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D editions contain the comprehensive "Project Alice" interactive database with detailed info about the movie's main players.
Extra Extras: The DVD and Blu-ray versions all have cast and filmmakers commentaries, outtakes, "Face of the Fan," and a featurette on the bizarre creatures of Retribution.
Blu-ray Bonuses: In addition to the aforementioned "Project Alice" database, exclusive to the Blu-ray are six making-of featurettes as well as deleted and extended scenes. The Blu-ray 3D takes it one step further with the deleted/extended scenes and more outtakes available for viewing in 3D.