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.
(From the Minds of the) Coen Brothers
This new collection packages together four Coen Brothers films on Blu-ray: Blood Simple, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona and Fargo. The set gives fans a nice—although by no means comprehensive—sampling of the brothers' oeuvre, including their 1984 debut film, Blood Simple, about a sleazy bar owner who hires a private detective to kill his wife and her lover. Miller's Crossing is about feuding gangsters in the Prohibition era. Raising Arizona stars Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter and John Goodman and is arguably the funniest film the brothers ever made. Fargo, which won Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress for Frances McDormand, is the movie that sparked a newfound obsession with the North Dakota accent.
What's New?: Fargo has been available on Blu-ray since 2009. The three other films in this set made their individual Blu-ray debuts the same day that this collection arrived on shelves this month. The extras—including commentaries, featurettes, galleries, interviews, trailers and TV spots—are identical whether you buy the films individually or in this set. The only difference is the medical-book-inspired packaging on the collection, so it basically comes down to simple math. (From the Minds of the) Coen Brothers has a list price of $70 while the list prices of Blood Simple, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona and Fargo are $25, $25, $25 and $35.
Skip or Double Dip?: Since you can find this collection for even less money than the list price, it makes more sense to buy the films bundled together than separately if you want all four. You betcha.
The Mummy Trilogy
The three Mummy movies starring Brendan Fraser—The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emporer—have been available individually on Blu-ray since 2008. The first two paired old-fashioned adventure with modern CGI effects and concerned the resurrection of the ancient Egyptian mummy Imotep, the legend of the Scorpion King (who got his own spinoff movie), and how Fraser's on-screen wife, Evie (Rachel Weisz), played a part in it all in a past life. In The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emporer, the action moves to China and Maria Bello steps into the role of Evie in a film where the highlight is a brief battle between Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh.
What's New?: This new set contains the same Deluxe Editions that are available individually. Each are stuffed like a pharaoh's tomb with making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as deleted scenes, outtakes, interviews storyboard comparisons and much more. The only difference is the packaging on the box itself, which holds the trilogy together, and, again, the price. The Mummy Trilogy lists for $50 and can be found for much less than that on sites like Amazon. If you want all the films and bought them separately, it would cost more.
Skip or Double Dip?: If you already own the Mummy movies you want, skip on this set—you're not missing anything. If you suddenly have the urge to "walk like an Egyptian," save some cash by getting the trilogy bundled together in this set.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Late writer-director John Hughes's teen comedies of the '80s connected with a generation like nothing has since, and 1986's Ferris Bueller's Day Off remains a humorous testament to how one's time could be better spent. Matthew Broderick plays the titular character who skips school and takes a spontaneous romp around Chicago along with his girlfriend and uptight best bud, leaving his teacher to drone on at school, "Bueller? Bueller?"
What's New?: Ferris Bueller's Day Off was first released on Blu-ray in 2009 with an assortment of "choice" bonus features, including a cast reunion, a making-of featurette, "Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tapes," "Who Is Ferris Bueller?," "The World According to Ben Stein" and a class album. This month's double dip has a new slipcover with a foldout map of Bueller's travels on his day off as part of the film's 25th anniversary commemorative packaging. All of the other extras are identical to the 2009 release.
Skip or Double Dip?: If you already have the original "Bueller…Bueller…" Edition and buy this new Blu-ray just for a foldout map, Paramount should send you a letter of appreciation.
The Final Destination 3D
This fourth entry in the Final Destination film series was the first one to be shown in theaters in 3D and, as a result, made more money than any of the previous entries and prompted this summer's Final Destination 5. The Final Destination, like all the FD films, opens with a teen having a spontaneous vision of an impending disaster—this time at a NASCAR race—and saving a bunch of people who were meant to die in the calamity. Death doesn't like to be cheated, however, and the Reaper soon comes looking for those that escaped its touch by offing them in inventive ways, like a guy who gets his innards sucked out by having his bottom stuck to a pool's drainage pipe. The acting in this sequel is uniquely awful, so watching people die amazingly in 3D is a crucial selling point.
What's New?: The Final Destination 3D first arrived on DVD and Blu-ray in early 2010 with a few pairs of cheap anaglyph red-and-blue glasses included for the 3D version of the film. Whether on DVD or Blu-ray, though, the anaglyph glasses create a headache-inducing, warped-color experience that becomes a type of torture if you attempt to watch the entire film this way. The same extras (alternate endings, "Body Count: The Deaths of The Final Destination," storyboards and additional scenes) are included in this month's double dip, except this new version is a Blu-ray 3D that has the real 3D version of the film for those with 3D-capable systems. The difference between the anaglyph technology and Blu-ray 3D is as drastic as the quality uptick between VHS and high definition.
Skip or Double Dip?: The Final Destination 3D is not a great movie, but if you bought it for some gory rated-R 3D effects at home, jettison that old version and double dip.