This month, "Bonus Points" dissects the extras on DVDs from two of 2004's film adaptations: "Starsky & Hutch," a screen version of the '70s TV show, and "Hellboy," the cinematic rendering of Mike Mignola's popular comic.
"Starsky & Hutch"(PG-13)
Release Date: July 20
Rupert Evans and Ron Perlman star in "Hellboy," which will be released on DVD this month with loads of extras.
(Egon Endrenyi -- Revolution Studios)
"Starsky & Hutch" is hardly one of the year's funniest movies. It wasn't even the funniest movie released last March, when it debuted on screens. Given how tedious this alleged comedy is, I'm pleased, and a little surprised, that some of the DVD's extras are actually worth watching. The single disc includes a commentary track by director Todd Phillips (who also helmed "Old School"); six deleted scenes; a gag reel; and one of the most brilliantly conceived featurettes I've ever seen on DVD (see below for more details). It's worth renting "Starsky & Hutch" just to watch that nine-minute "Last Look" documentary, a take-off on the typically titled "First Look" features that appear on many DVDs. Unfortunately, you may have to sit through all 101 minutes of the lame movie in order to fully appreciate the doc.
Most Brilliant Bonus Point: If you've grown weary of making-of documentaries where cast members prattle endlessly about their wonderful experiences on set, get ready to laugh long and hard at the "Last Look" at "Starsky & Hutch." With deadpan facial expressions and dialogue that sounds completely serious, various members of the cast speak frankly about what a colossal failure the movie is. Owen Wilson notes that during filming the "excitement kind of got beaten out of me," adding that "sometimes you get a feeling the ship's going down." Carmen Electra and Amy Smart nearly get into a catfight, while Jason Bateman offers blunt criticism of Phillips: "Todd's asking us to jump through hoops and be little circus monkeys and come up with funny stuff that's not on the page." This approach would be amusing if "Starsky" were a good movie. The fact that it's a bad one makes the tongue-in-cheek comments downright hysterical.
Most Pointless Bonus Point: Snoop Dogg, who plays Huggy Bear, hosts a feature called "Fashion Fa Shizzle wit Huggy Bizzle." For those who don't speak "izzle," it's a short look at the ostentatious costumes Snoop wears in the movie. Neither funny nor particularly enlightening, the short film serves little function. Even Snoop fans won't say "bow wow" or "yippee yay."
Easter Egg Alert: On the special features menu screen, click on one of the star icons to find an Easter egg starring Vince Vaughn. Wearing his character's signature 'stache, Vaughn sits down with a security guard and engages in a brief game of Brady Bunch trivia. It's mildly amusing, but Brady experts may balk when he asks who hit Jan in the nose with a football. Come on, Vince, everyone knows it was Marcia who got clobbered.
Release Date: July 27
Fans of this better-than-average comic book movie will likely spend more time watching the DVD's extras than the movie itself. Packaged as a two-disc set, "Hellboy" has two commentary tracks; footage of storyboards and animatics; detailed character bios; deleted scenes; DVD-ROM functionality, which includes a printable version of the screenplay; and a nearly 2.5-hour documentary called, "Hellboy: The Seeds of Creation." Some of the supplemental material is a bit dull, an inevitability on a DVD packed with so much stuff. But it's put together lovingly and with enough quirky surprises to satisfy admirers of the muscular, bright red, Budweiser-drinking hero, played by the charming Ron Perlman.
One word of warning: Director Guillermo Del Toro says during a deleted scene commentary that an extended version of the film will be released on DVD in a few months. Though no release date appears to have been set, "Hellboy" lovers may choose to wait for that second incarnation of the film. But if they buy this one, odds are they won't be disappointed.
Most Detailed Bonus Point: The biographies, which appear in both illustrated and text formats, are filled with obscure, often amusing facts about "Hellboy's" principal characters. For example, Hellboy's 16-page bio, as written by Del Toro, explains that he "is easily amused by flatulence," likes Pixar movies and dislikes Charlotte Church.
Bulkiest Bonus Point: The aforementioned "Seeds of Creation" documentary certainly provides an admirable behind-the-scenes look at everything -- and I do mean everything -- involved in bringing "Hellboy" to the big screen. Unfortunately, many moments in the overly long doc are flat-out snoozers. This one's for hard-core fans only.
Strangest Bonus Point: One section of the DVD features four cartoons recommended by Hellboy, including three old Gerald Mc Boing Boing cartoons and a creepy animated version of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." A DVD extra with literary merit? Who knew?
Also on DVD in July: Fans of the Fisher family will be happy to see that "Six Feet Under: The Complete Second Season" is now on DVD. On July 13, a special edition of "The Manchurian Candidate" debuts, just in time for the theatrical release of the updated, Denzel Washington version. And if you love '80s TV shows about alien births, say hello to "V: The Complete Series," which comes to DVD on July 27.
Coming in August:"Kill Bill: Vol. 2" on Aug. 10; "Good Fellas: Special Edition" on Aug. 17; and "The Passion of the Christ" on Aug. 31.