There is a chain of buzzwords—collector's edition, anniversary set, director's cut, unrated cut, extended version, digitally remastered, Digibook, etc.—that studios slap on DVD and Blu-ray cases to tempt you to buy the same movies over and over again. Some are worth the upgrade—especially if it is a first-time purchase of a movie you like—but many of those double dips are just the studio returning to the well one too many times. Read on and decide if you want to skip or double dip this month.
Best Picture Academy Award Winners: Five-Film Collection (Blu-ray)
It's that time of year again when the media dutifully reports on the movies the Academy deems worthy of Oscar statues. To cash in on the buzz, Lionsgate is releasing this collection of Best Picture winners that are bundled together for the first time: Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient, Chicago, No Country for Old Men and Crash.
What's New?: No Country for Old Men has been released on Blu-ray three (!) times already, Chicago has two Blu-ray versions out there, Crash has been available on Blu-ray since 2006, while The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love just debuted individually on Blu-ray on January 31. All of the extras included here for the movies that have already been released are identical to the previous Miramax Blu-ray editions. The only new benefit is that all five BDs are bundled in a space-saving case the same size as a single Blu-ray case.
Skip or Double Dip?: Assuming you want all five movies in this collection, you can't beat the Amazon price of $50 for it. If you already own one or more of the movies on Blu-ray, you're better off skipping this set and picking up the rest individually.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Blu-ray 3D)
Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) returns with model Rosie Huntington-Whitely instead of Megan Fox in this third Transformers film that is a marked improvement over the previous installment, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Director Michael Bay shot the film in 3D—this was no post-production rush job—and some of the shots, like the skydivers soaring through downtown Chicago while Autobots and Decepticons blow each other up, are stunning.
What's New?: Dark of the Moon was just released on DVD and Blu-ray in September, and now comes this new Blu-ray combo pack with an additional Blu-ray 3D disc. It contains new additional special features—just the movie in 3D. However, now that the cloud service Ultraviolet has launched, this set includes a code so you can stream the 2D version of Dark of the Moon to any compatible device.
Skip or Double Dip?: The difference between the 2D combo pack and the 3D combo pack is about $10, which is worth the double dip for a movie that is 3D demo material. To help ease the financial sting if you already picked up the 2D version and want to upgrade, the original combo pack includes a $10-off rebate coupon inside for this new 3D combo pack.
Godzilla is the big daddy of monster movies, but the titular fire-breathing radioactive lizard also embodies an entire culture's fears in post-WWII Japan. This Blu-ray contains the original Japanese version and a new high-definition digital restoration of the 1956 Americanized version starring Raymond Burr.
What's New?: Gojira, the Japanese title, along with the Americanized version were released together in 2009 by Classic Media with an audio commentary by Godzilla experts and two featurettes: "The Making of the Godzilla Suit" and one on story development. This new Criterion Collection edition also has audio commentaries as well as interviews, several featurettes and a booklet with an essay by critic J. Hoberman.
Skip or Double Dip?: If you didn't care about quality, you would have never upgraded to Blu-ray to begin with, so it makes sense to double dip for this restored Criterion version that looks way better than the Classic Media edition and contains more satisfying extras.
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D
Just before the sequel Journey 2: The Mysterious Island arrives in theaters on February 10, New Line Cinema has put out the Blu-ray 3D edition of Journey to the Center of the Earth. The adventure flick starring Brendan Fraser and inspired by the classic Jules Verne novel was presented in theaters in 3D.
What's New?: Journey to the Center of the Earth was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2008 and included an anaglyph 3D version that paled in comparison to the theatrical presentation. This new Blu-ray 3D ditches the red-and-blue cardboard glasses for a full HD 3D version and retains the commentary track and three featurettes from the original release as well as a 2D version of the film on the same disc.
Skip or Double Dip?: Journey to the Center of the Earth screams for a proper 3D presentation because the film was obviously filmed with 3D effects as the primary (only?) selling point, so that obsolete, headache-creating anaglyph version isn't going to cut it. Journey to your favorite store and double dip for this proper 3D edition.