"Shrek 2" (Rated PG; List price $29.99)
Release date: Nov. 5
Buying the "Shrek 2" DVD is a no-brainer. As soon as your kids get their hands on it, the sequel to 2001's animated fractured fairy tale will immediately go into heavy rotation in your family room. It's best to accept that, make the investment and avoid racking up ridiculous rental fees.
The "Shrek 2" DVD will satisfy the appetites of most Shrek and Fiona fans.
Happily, the folks at DreamWorks have created a fun, extra-filled DVD that's worth the money -- especially since most stores are selling the single disc for under $20, significantly less than list price. A clever menu screen patterned after the "Brady Bunch" grid leads viewers to numerous bonus features, including featurettes about the making of the movie, the cast and the film's music; several games, including "Find Puss in Boots" and the trivia quiz "Save Fiona!"; a pair of commentary tracks by the filmmakers; and, best of all, an "American Idol" spoof starring several characters from the land of Far, Far Away. While some of the behind-the-scenes featurettes are dull -- and may look familiar to those who saw HBO's short documentary on the making of "Shrek 2" -- kids will get a kick out of much of what's here, particularly the technical goofs that show distorted versions of Donkey and Princess Fiona.
Since odds are that you'll end up buying "Shrek 2" (if you haven't already), take pleasure in knowing that, despite a few flaws, it will be a purchase with a decidedly happy ending.
Most Clever Bonus Point: The "Far, Far Away Idol" competition, which features an animated version of snarky "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell, is definitely the most creative and entertaining feature on the DVD. Between the Big Bad Wolf's rendition of "Hungry Like the Wolf" (backed up by the Three Little Pigs) and Puss in Boots's spirited version of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," it's difficult to decide a winner in this contest. But the DVD gives you a couple of ways to vote: You can pick your favorite on the DVD itself, or cast a vote on www.shrek2.com.
Least Insightful Bonus Point: During the featurette about the music used in "Shrek 2," Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz illuminates the movie's theme song by noting, "'Accidentally in Love' just means, what are you going to do? You're in love." Gee, thanks for clearing that up.
Most Kid-Friendly Bonus Point: The DreamWorks Kids section of the DVD not only contains game and DVD-Rom features, it also organizes moments from the movie in a way younger viewers may find useful. The Favorite Scenes option, for example, allows "Shrek" fans to watch excerpts based on specific categories, including "Gross Out!," "Puss in Boots" and "Laugh Out Loud." Hmmm . . . guess which of those will be the most popular?
"Gone With the Wind: Four-Disc Collector's Edition" (Rated G; List price $39.92)
Release date: Nov. 9
Scarlett O'Hara's Atlanta has never looked better than it does in this newly restored version of "Gone With the Wind," released in a lovely box set in conjunction with the Oscar-winning epic's 65th anniversary. In addition to the remastered film, the compilation contains several hours of bonus material never featured before on DVD, including the excellent 1989 documentary "The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind." Classic film fans will also enjoy "Melanie Remembers: Reflections by Olivia de Havilland," a 38-minute interview in which the actress discusses her memories of the movie, milking every moment for all the drama it's worth. From the multiple documentaries to the reproduction of the "Wind" souvenir booklet from the late '30s and early '40s, this is a DVD that rightfully belongs in the library of anyone who loves the cinema.
Most Educational Bonus Point:: This one's a tie between the aforementioned, extremely thorough "Making of a Legend" documentary and the "Restoring a Legend" featurette, which explains the pain-staking process involved in making Rhett and Scarlett look brand new again. In one noteworthy tidbit, an engineer reveals that the primary audio source for the film was saved from the garbage can by a forward-thinking music editor who hid and kept track of it for decades. Without it, the soundtrack -- remastered here in Dolby Digital 5.1 -- might have been barely audible.
Biggest Bonus Point Oversight:: One feature shows several scenes from the film dubbed in different languages, but none of them includes Clark Gable's most famous line from the movie. And frankly, I gave a damn about hearing how that sounded in German.
Coming in next week's "Bonus Points": An early review of "Seinfeld" and "Live-Aid."
If you have feedback about "Bonus Points" or want to suggest a DVD for review, e-mail Jen Chaney.