The return of a certain green ogre, his princess bride and a wise-cracking donkey was this past summer's top draw, with more than $439 million in theater sales. It trails only "Titanic" and "Star Wars" as the highest grossing box-office film ever.
Now "Shrek 2" comes to DVD on Friday in two packages lush with extras and special features. The stand-alone DVD from DreamWorks Home Entertainment is $19.95, while the "Shrek: The Story So Far" gift set -- which includes "Shrek 2," the first "Shrek" movie, the "Shrek 3-D" film short, and a bonus DVD with behind-the-scenes materials -- is less than $40. The films are rated PG.
In addition to scene, audio and subtitle selections that are standard fare on today's DVDs, "Shrek 2" has two filmmaker commentaries, a reel of technical goofs, a feature on new character Puss in Boots (voice of Antonio Banderas), information on the cast and music, production notes, interactive activities for children and a new featurette called "Far Far Away Idol," starring an animated Simon Cowell.
The animation goofs are surprisingly interesting, giving a behind-the-magic feel for what a challenge digitally animating a feature film must be. And the cast interviews add proof to the theory that Mike Myers, who voices Shrek, can add charisma to even the most awkward Q-and-A format.
The children's menu is charming and easy to navigate. It gives quick access to the film's musical numbers and organizes favorite scenes in fun categories such as Gross Out and Laugh Out Loud. The DVD even has a few simple games kids can play with a remote control.
The crown jewel of this extras package is the "Shrek" team's spoof of Fox's "American Idol."
"Far Far Away Idol" has the animated characters of "Shrek" competing to become the kingdom of Far Far Away's top pop star. The characters are animated with the lifelike attention to detail expected of the "Shrek" franchise, though the humor is not always on par with its namesake films. But the real fun of "Far Far Away Idol" is seeing how expertly the DreamWorks animators have captured Simon Cowell's lazy scorn.
Current DVD/Video Releases
Around the World in 80 Days (Walt Disney Pictures: DVD $29.99; VHS $24.99; PG available Tuesday) Jackie Chan stars in this movie based on the novel by Jules Verne. The disc includes deleted scenes, an alternate opening, commentary, a music video and behind-the-scenes material.
Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Columbia TriStar: two-disc DVD $34.94; PG; available Tuesday) Stanley Kubrick's venerated classic is being presented in a special 40th-anniversary edition. A remastered, high-definition version of the film is packaged with interviews with actors Peter Sellers and George C. Scott and former defense secretary Robert S. McNamara, as well as documentaries about Kubrick's films and the making of "Dr. Strangelove."
The West Wing: The Complete Third Season (Warner Home Video: four-disc DVD $59.98; available Tuesday) Aaron Sorkin's drama about Democratic President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his administration scored five Emmys, including best drama, in its third season. The DVD set -- available on Election Day, naturally -- contains 23 episodes and a documentary on the NBC series.