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 these 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.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's titular cybernetic organism from the future will be back and back again on DVD and Blu-ray. James Cameron's 1984 sci-fi classic starring Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn has been released more times on DVD than Schwarzenegger says "I'll be back" in these movies and two times already on Blu-ray: a discontinued early version with two featurettes and deleted scenes from 2006, and a lenticular version from 2009 with a retrospective, "Terminated Scenes" and a featurette on the visuals and music.
The new Digibook has the exact same features as the 2009 version plus some new previews and, of course, the photo book that encases the disc.
Skip or Double Dip?:
Double dip if you have the old 2006 BD or one of the DVD versions, but skip and terminate the upgrade if you have the perfectly fine 2009 version.
A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition:
Stanley Kubrick's 1971 masterpiece stars Malcolm McDowell as Alex—a singing, tap-dancing hooligan hooked on Beethoven, rape and ultra-violence—whose gang terrorizes locals in this dystopian sci-fi thriller. The film has been available on DVD for years and was released in 2007 on Blu-ray with an acceptable amount of featurettes and a commentary track, but now Warner Bros. is unleashing the 40th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray on May 31.
What's new?: This new BD comes packaged in a 40-page photo book with rare photos and production notes. The same special features of the previous edition are included, plus two new feature-length documentaries: Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures and O Lucky Malcolm!
Skip or Double Dip?: Skip if you already own the previous Blu-ray and are a casual fan, but double dip if you list "Kubrick" as your religion.
Yo, Adrian! They are releasing Rocky on Blu-ray…again. The Sylvester Stallone boxing classic has now gone four full rounds on Blu-ray: a recent Digibook edition, the 2010 BD/DVD combo with no special features, as part of the Rocky: The Undisputed Collection, and as one of the very first standalone Blu-rays released in 2006 with only a few trailers included.
What's New? This new Digibook doesn't have the bonus disc of extras that The Undisputed Collection has, but it comes packaged in a handsome photo book with no extras.
Skip or Double Dip?: This one is down for the count. Skip It.
Top Gun:25th Anniversary Edition:
The amusingly homoerotic fighter-pilot blockbuster stars Tom Cruise and, like the title song by Berlin, will take your "breath away" with its celebration of ultra-macho '80s excess. The 1986 Tony Scott action favorite has been released on DVD several times and debuted on Blu-ray in 2008 with a commentary track, a making-of documentary, multi-angle storyboards and a gallery of promotional material.
What's New?: The new 25th Anniversary Edition is cocked and loaded with commentaries, a six-part documentary, "Best of the Best: Inside the Real Top Gun," behind-the-scenes featurettes, a survival-training featurette, music videos and an interview with Cruise.
Skip or Double Dip?: Open up the wallet, go into the danger zone and double dip for this top anniversary edition.
The Usual Suspects:
Who is Keyser Söze? That was the question in director Bryan Singer's fantastic 1995 neo-noir about Los Angeles con men starring Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro and Chazz Palminteri. The film was first released on Blu-ray in 2007 with the only extra being the theatrical trailer.
What's new? Instead of seizing the opportunity to include all the DVD extras that were left off the 2007 version, this new Digibook edition contains only a few trailers and the photo book.
Skip or Double Dip?: If you don't want to get conned into paying $34.98 for only a photo book.