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DVD Releases for September 23, 2008 - Part I

September 23rd, 2008

Aaaahhhhhh! POP! ... That sound you just heard was my head exploding. This week we had a new record for spotlight reviews, and with TV on DVD kicking into high gear and summer blockbusters starting to come out soon, I don't think it will slow down. (Additionally, I have close to a dozen DVDs that arrived late, and I was only able to get to less than half of them for this week. So look for another huge batch next week.) As for the quality releases, there were a few that caught my eye, but none more than The Godfather Trilogy on Blu-ray. Sure, it doesn't push the high definition format, but this is the best these films have looked in decades and any film buff will want to have them in their collection. Meanwhile, last week's release of Duckman - Season One and Two also deserves to be awarded the DVD Pick of the Week. While there are not as many releases this week as last, there are so many spotlight reviews that the list had to be split into to. Part II can be found here.

Alvin and The Chipmunks - Holiday Gift Set - Buy from Amazon
All three holiday special DVDs, including the new Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration, but don't worry, if you own the previous two releases, you can buy the new one separately.

Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration - Buy from Amazon
This DVD has 4 episodes from the TV series, not all of which deal with Thanksgiving in a direct way.

  • A Chipmunk Celebration - The trio try out for a Thanksgiving pageant, but when they wind up getting the roles the others wanted, and they are afraid they will embarrass themselves on TV, and in front of all of their relatives.
  • Food for Thought - Theodore needs to pass his American history exam, or he can't go to the amusement park. So Alvin and Simon try to teach him all he needs to know, including the story of the pilgrims, which is the only connection to Thanksgiving, but that's better than the next two episodes.
  • Cookie Chomper III - A stray cat wonders into the house and the three boys try to hide it from Dave for as long as possible. But they soon find out that Dave not letting them keep the cat is not the worst thing that could happen.
  • Dave's Getting Married - Dave's dating a new woman, and it is getting serious. However, she has three boys of her own, and they are a lot like Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. Too much like Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, and they instantly hate each other.
There are no extras on the DVD, nor are there subtitles or proper chapter placements. There's only a play all button in terms of DVD design.

Trick or Treason - Buy from Amazon
This DVD came out in 2006 and contains 5 stories. However, while there are more stories, the total running time is less than Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration.

  • Trick or Treason - Alvin wants to get into the Monster Club and is willing to do anything to do it. This includes getting his two brothers to help, and even battling Pumpkinhead, the new kid in town.
  • Babysitter Fright Night - Dave has to spend the night at the studio mixing their latest album so he hires a scary babysitter to sit the chipmunks. After watching a movie, they believe she is a criminal and wants to kill them. Not really a Halloween story, but it aims for scares.
  • Theodores's Life as a Dog - After watching a scary movie, and accidentally eating a doggie biscuit, Theodore thinks he will turn into a Werewolf. Or a weredog. Or something of that nature.
  • Nightmare on Seville Street - The boys go to the movies with Dave, but instead of seeing Fuzzy Bunnies, the three sneak into see Horrible Harold part 11. It goes without saying that this is a bad idea.
  • No Chipmunk is an Island - The three boys get into a fight and they decide they all need their own rooms, so they each get to sleep somewhere new. (Wouldn't it make more sense if one of them stayed in their old room?) But their dreams of living alone turn to nightmares... literally, as all three have bad dreams about what living alone will be like.
As the above release, there are no extras, no subtitles, and no proper chapter placements.

A Chipmunk Christmas - Buy from Amazon
Three Christmas related episodes, but they are all full episodes, unlike the Halloween DVD where four of the five stories were half length episodes.

  • A Chipmunk Christmas - Dave books Alvin for a solo performance at Carnegie Hall but, in an uncharacteristically kind act, Alvin gave away his harmonica to a sick fan. And the three boys have to look for a replacement without Dave finding out that he gave it away. This TV special is from 1981, and there is definitely a different look to the Chipmunks compared to the TV series that followed. Also, this features the song that got the Chipmunks going in the first place, so it should be a lot of fun for fans of the franchise.
  • Merry Christmas Mr. Carroll - The Chipmunks' version of A Christmas Carol, which has been done about a billion times.
  • Dave's Wonderful Life - And finally there's the Chipmunks' version of It's a Wonderful Life.
Again, no extras, no subtitles, and no proper chapter placements leaving just the play all button for DVD design.

For those who have the previous two holiday DVD releases, Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration might be a little light on Thanksgiving content, but it packs more on a per minute cost. Those who didn't grab the previous releases, but have had their love of the Chipmunks re-ignited thanks to the movie will likely want to check out the Holiday Gift Set. However, for TV on DVD releases, the price per minute is too high to justify more than a rental.

The Anderson Tapes - Buy from Amazon
A 1971 film starring Sean Connery. In the movie, Connery stars as John "Duke" Anderson, a thief just released from prison, who plans one last, massive heist. Reviews for the film are excellent, and not that many people are familiar with the film, so it is certainly worth checking out. It is making its DVD debut on this featureless disc, but it is still worth a rental for most, picking up for fans of the actor or the director, Sidney Lumet. This is part of the Martini Movies line, which also features $ (Dollars), Affair in Trinidad, Garmet Jungle, and The New Centurions, all of which come out this week.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: America's Greatest Monuments: Washington D.C., Animalia: Welcome to the Kingdom, Blow, Cirque Du Soleil - Corteo, Deception, The Godfather, L.A. Confidential, Leatherheads, Madagascar, My Blueberry Nights, Ronin, Run, Fat Boy, Run, Sex and the City, Shrek the Third, Stories From the Vaults: Season One, and The Way to Paradise - Music Experience in 3-Dimensional Sound Reality
A good mix of first run releases and catalogue titles. It is one of the latter, The Godfather Trilogy - Blu-ray that is the biggest selling release of the week, and for good reason. There are a couple of others that are worth looking into at the very least.

Boston Legal - Season Four - Buy from Amazon
The show that brought William Shatner back into prominence. Shatner and James Spader have so far won a combined three Emmys, and the show in total has won five and has been nominated 18 times, but this year was its weakest at the award ceremony so far. That said, it is still worth checking out, even if the extras are light.

Brothers and Sisters - Season Two - Buy from Amazon
This show deals with the Walker family, a rich family living in southern California who has to deal with problems running the family owned business, as well as problems with the family. In the first episode of season one, the patriarch of the family, William Walker, dies. This sets into motion events that will unveil secrets, both personal and business related. Season Two starts off where the events of season one ended, and if you don't remember, they recap it during the preamble for the first episode of season two. There are divorces, deployments, financial irregularities, political ambitions and more.

The phrase that can best be used to describe this season, and you are likely as sick of this phrase as I am, "Strike Shortened." That's right, there are only 16 episodes on this 5-disc set, and there appears to be a stumble late in the season, as if they had to readjust their season-long plan due to the strike. Additionally, the season started to feel more like a soap opera at times and less like a drama. There are some parts that are arguably better than season one. This is especially true of many of the storylines involving Nora Walker; for instance, dealing with her son being in Iraq, and later dealing with trying to find herself as an individual, not as a mother, or a wife. Other storylines include Kitty and Robert's engagement and how that effects the dynamics on the campaign. Specifically Kitty going from a political player to just a fiancée. Overall I was only satisfied with this season, and I hope the soap opera aspect of the show is dialed down in season three or it runs the risk of jumping the shark too soon.

Extras on the 5-disc set include audio commentary tracks on three episodes featuring various members of the cast and crew. The rest of the extras are on disc five, which has nothing but extras. Things start with seven deleted scenes that run just over 9 minutes. There is also a 14-minute featurette on the number of guest stars that appeared in season two. There's a 6-minute featurette on the food stylists and a 10-minute featurette on the sets. Finally, there are 4 minutes of outtakes.

Brothers and Sisters needs to watch that fine line between drama and soap opera. During Season Two it might have crossed over a few times, but the quality is still strong. On the other hand, due to the strike shortened nature of this season, the price is a little high on a per minute basis. That said, it is still worth picking up, but I can't be too enthusiastic about it.

C.S.I. New York - The Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon
Not as good as the original, but far better than its predecessor. Extras on the 6-disc set includes audio commentary tracks on select episodes, and a quartet of featurettes. Worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

Caillou - Caillou's Winter Wonders - Buy from Amazon
The latest DVD release for Caillou. Caillou is a Canadian animated series that focuses on the adventures of a 4-year old boy and his family. The show aims to be realistic, which means Caillou occasionally is stubborn, can grow frustrated at times, and forgets to be polite. These behaviors mean he is not always the best role-model, but by showing a protagonist going thing the same situations as the target audience it is more empathetic and as long as there are adults watching with the kids to explain why such behavior is wrong, it should help kids.

This single disc release contains four episodes with fourteen stories that run for 84 minutes in total. There's a winter theme to the stories and in them Caillou waits for the first snow to fall, makes snow angels, learns to skate, goes tobogganing, plays hockey (it is Canadian after all), goes caroling (which I always considered a form of punishment (for both the people wandering in the cold singing and those forced to listen)), learns about winter celebrations (io, Saturnalia!) and learns how Maple Syrup is made.

Extras are limited to short character bios, DVD-Rom features, and a message to parents. This is not much, but it is on par with previous releases from this franchise.

Fans of Caillou should have a fun time with Caillou's Winter Wonders, even if it is way too early for Christmas. (No Christmas before Halloween. Thanks.)

Cashmere Mafia - The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon
Created by Darren Star, who also helped turn Sex and the City into such a massive hit. The show was advertised as if it was going to be a next Sex and the City, but weak reviews and the strike helped to kill it after just seven episodes. However, I don't think it would have lasted even if it was given a full season.

Lucy Liu, Miranda Otto, Frances O'Connor, and Bonnie Somerville star as four powerful women trying to make it-- You know what? The plot really doesn't matter, because this show doesn't set itself apart from countless others, including Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, Lipstick Jungle, etc. With so many shows that are so similar, it had very little time to set itself apart, and it can't. After watching the series I can't really tell you much about the characters. Lucy Liu's character is a big deal in the world of publishing. One of them is in the fashion industry, but I can't remember which one. There's a lesbian relationship, which is handled well, but not in a way that makes it stand out. Nothing about it made it stand out, and just two days after watching it, I'm having trouble recalling any real details, which is a really bad sign.

Extras on the 2-disc set include a quartet of featurettes: Revenge Sex, Move In or Move Out, Kiss My Glass Ceiling, and Pick A Team, Any Team. Each one is about one of the main characters and in total runs just 9 minutes. There are no subtitles, no real opening credits so no need for proper chapter placements, but there are play all buttons.

Most TV shows fall victim to fickle audiences and an over-saturated market. Cashmere Mafia was one such victim last year. This could explain why this 2-disc set is nearly devoid of extras. Fans of the show might be interested in buying, but it is hard to recommend others even rent it. At only seven episodes, it is not satisfying enough to demand repeat viewing, and since there are not going to be any more episodes, it seems pointless to jump in now.

Deception - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Perhaps not one of the worst movies of the year, but it was nonetheless quite terrible. It also bombed at the box office, and while the DVD has better extras that expected (audio commentary track, deleted scenes, making of featurette, and more) it is still not worth renting. The Blu-ray has no additional extras, but it costs less than 20% more, which is a great price. However, it is not enough to make up for the quality of the movie.

Dinosaur King - The Adventure Begins - Buy from Amazon
The latest TV series based on a card game. In this show, we follow the adventures of a trio of friends who call themselves D-team: Max, Rex, and Zoe. One day they see a meteorite crash to Earth and it leads them to strange artifacts that allow them to summon dinosaurs, both the cute cartoon versions, as well as fighting computer graphic, including those from the insidious Alpha Gang. It could easily be considered a sequel to Yu-Gi-Oh, or Pokemon, or Medabots, or Beyblades, etc., etc., etc. The main difference is the dinosaurs, which is both a positive and a negative. On the one hand, dinosaurs are cool. I think we can all agree on that. On the other hand, there are a lot fewer cards to deal with then in Yu-Gi-Oh and it gets repetitive fast. There's only so many times you can see "Electric Charge" before it loses its charm.

The episodes included on this DVD are...

  • Prehistory in the Making - How the show began with Max finding the first dinosaur, a Triceratops he names Chomp. It also includes the first encounter with the Alpha Gang and their Tyrannosaurus Rex named Terry.
  • Battle at the Pyramids - Another dinosaur is located, this time in Egypt, but will the D-team capture the Spinosaurus, or will Alpha Gang get it first? Perhaps Zoe can help with Paris, her Parasaurolophus, while Rex can join the battle with Ace, his Carnotaurus.
  • Tanks a Lot! - There's a Saichania, which is a close relative of the Ankylosaurus, running amok in a museum in London and both the D-team and Alpha Gang want to capture it.
  • Bungle in the Jungle - While traveling to the Amazon to try and capture a Saltasaurus, Max and Chomp get separated.
  • Rubble Trouble - A fire-breathing Carcharodontosaurus is causing trouble at the Great Wall of China. But more troubling, Max and Rex are fighting and without teamwork they won't be able to save the day.
Extras on the DVD are nearly non-existent with just a Behind the Roar 30-second spot, which is mostly an ad, and a sneak peak at the upcoming video game, which is 100% an ad.

For fans of this sub-genre, the Card Battle turned Cartoon Series, Dinosaur King lives up to its predecessors and The Adventure Begins provides reasonably entertainment for the dollar, but I would prefer full season sets. I would wait till such a release came out for a purchase and merely rent this one, but it seems full-season sets for kids shows are very, very rare.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 16th. However, the DVD screener arrived late, hence the delay in the review.

Duckman - Season One & Two - Buy from Amazon
A cartoon featuring Jason Alexander as the voice of Duckman. The show started a long time ago, so long that when it debuted The Simpsons had been on the air just two years. Wow. It's practically prehistoric.

The characters in the show include...

  • Duckman - A short-tempered, hedonistic Duck who works as a Private Detective, although work is too strong of a word.
  • Cornfed Pig - Duckman's partner in his Detective business, and his most loyal friend. ... I mean only friend. He also does all of the work and has a near superhuman ability to put up with the crap that Duckman throws his way.
  • Aunt Bernice - Duckman's sister-in-law, whom he hates. The feeling in mutual. She owns the house Duckman and his sons live in, because Duckman's wife willed it to her so the boys would have a stable influence in their lives.
  • Ajax - The older and dumber of Duckman's three sons. The only one that you can tell shares some genes with Duckman, although Ajax is a far kinder person.
  • Charles and Mambo - The wiser and more conjoined of Duckman's three sons. Their intellectual nature is foreign to their father, but at least they have each other to talk to, not that they always agree with each other.
  • Grandma-man - Bernice's comatose mother, whose only form of communication is flatulence. Never say this show is too highbrow.
  • Fluffy and Uranus - Duckman and Cornfed's secretaries. They are overly cheerful teddy bears that usually die horrifically at least once an episode.
  • King Chicken - Duckman's nemesis who was a schoolmate who was ostracized by Duckman in school and who is now bent on making Duckman an outcast in his own life so he knows what it is like to be ostracized himself. Mwa ha, ha. Buck, buck, buck. Only makes a few appearances the first season, but was a popular recurring character.
  • Terry Duke Tetzloff - Played John Astin, a.k.a. Gomez Addams. Only made one appearance in the first two seasons, so I will save this character for when Seasons 3 & 4 come out.
The show balances the humor and social commentary. The show handles both the lowbrow humor and high-minded takes on the social institutions like education, religion, TV, comedy, and others. There are also several parodies of specific shows, like Inherit the Wind, Easy Rider, etc. It takes a few episodes to get going, but once it does, it is one of the best little-seen cartoon series from its day.

Extras start with an audio commentary track on the pilot episode, while disc one also has some of the original promo spots. Disc two has two featurettes, What the Hell are You Staring At? and Designing Duckman. The first runs nearly 30 minutes and tells the story of the creation of the show in a very comprehensive way, as well as looking at all of the characters. (On a side note, I agree with Jason Alexander, if Duckman was around today, he'd be into internet porn, either as an occupation, or as an addition.) Designing Duckman runs nearly 13 minutes and talks about the look of the show. Finally there is Six Degrees of Duckmand, which is an interactive character bio feature.

Duckman Season One was not the best in the show's run, but by Season Two it was at the top if its game. This 3-disc DVD has more than enough extras to be worth picking up, even if you haven't seen the show, as long as you like adult oriented cartoons. Highly recommend, and even a contender for DVD Pick of the Week.

Note: The Amazon link to this release is MIA, so I've linked to the Theatrical Release on that site. When Amazon adds to the DVD to their list, this link should take you there.

The Foot First Way - Buy from Amazon, Maybe
An Indie comedy that many compared to Napoleon Dynamite. I liked Napoleon Dynamite the first time I watched it. The first time.

Danny McBride stars as Fred Simmons, a Tae Kwon Do instructor who finds out his wife is cheating on him, so he takes his friend, and two of his students on a road trip to see Chuck "The Truck" Wallace, his favorite martial arts movie star.

This film falls for the same trap that a lot of Indie comedies fall for, namely they take strange characters, put them into quirky situations, and hope humor flows out of that. However, Fred Simmons isn't a strange character... he isn't just a strange character. He's a jerk. This movie reminded me a lot of Eagle vs. Shark, which I reviewed previously. In that movie, Jarrod was a huge jerk, but his love interest, Lily, came across as very sympathetic, almost sympathetic enough that I wanted to cheer for Jarrod for her sake. Here, Fred isn't balanced by a more sympathetic person. In fact, Chuck "The Truck" Wallace is an even bigger jerk than he is. I guess when the two become rivals you are supposed to cheer for the lesser of two jerks, but I wanted to turn the movie off instead. Additionally, what little humor is in the movie that isn't killed by the unlikable nature of the leads, is killed by the delivery. Timing is important and if a funny joke continues a beat past where it should end, the humor is killed. I know I've brought this up in the past, but it seems to need repeating.

Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, an alternate ending that would make the film about 10 times worse than it is, deleted scenes, outtakes, and a behind the scenes featurette. This is better than most limited release DVDs have, but it is a case of quantity over quality. (But perhaps that is influenced by my dislike for the movie itself and fans will love these.)

There was a lot of buzz surrounding The Foot First Way, with many saying it could have been this year's limited release hit. However, its reviews were only mixed, and while it opened well, it collapsed fast. There were a number of critics who like the movie, but many who really disliked it, and I fall in the latter category, and despite better than expected extras, I can only recommend renting the DVD. And even that might be too much and some who do give it a try will give up before it is done.

Friday the 13th - The Series - Season One - Buy from Amazon
Good news: This show has nothing to do with Friday the 13th, the movie series. (However, I've thought for quite some time that turning the teenage slasher genre into a TV series, or more specifically a mini-series could work.) In this show, cousins Micki and Ryan, inherit an antique shop whose items are cursed, and the pair must retrieve all of the items sold over the years. Think of it as X-Files, but with less aliens and government conspiracies and more supernatural curses.

I loved this show when it first aired, but I will admit that not all aspects of the series have aged well. For instance, the special effects feel really weak, even given the age of the show. Additionally, it starts slow (especially the pilot, although I liked seeing Sarah Polley in a guest shot) and takes a few episodes for the show to really hit its stride. Well, more than a few episodes. In fact, there isn't a really strong episode till the third disc. That said, the supernatural 'Freak of the Week' format carries the show well throughout its 3-season run. Here there are a number of highlights, including Tales of the Undead, which is about a cursed comic book, Faith Healer, which was directed by David Cronenberg, The Baron's Bride, which deals with vampires and time travel. Overall I would have to say the hit to miss ratio is about 50%, but it is still worth checking out.

On a side note, in one of the earlier episodes, the two have to pass as monks to get into a monastery, but Robey looks way too much like a woman to pass as a man, even if you wrap her breasts and tie her hair back. They should at least have given her some facial hair. Speaking of hair... WOW! That's some big 80s hair on Robey. I forgot how big hair was in the 80s.

Extras on the 6-disc set are nearly non-existent. The first disc has two launch promos: a 30-second one and a 15-second one, while the final disc has the sales presentation. The launch promos have no details and have no replay value, but the 9-minute sales presentation is more interesting, but still feels like a advertisement, which it is.

It has been 20 years since Friday the 13th - The Series first hit the airwaves, and while it is showing its age, it is still worth checking out. Season One is not the best season in the show's run, but it does have a few episodes that can be considered among the best, and even without any substantive extras, it is still worth picking up over just renting.

The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Many consider The Godfather to be the greatest movie ever made and The Godfather II is widely considered the greatest sequel ever made. The Godfather III is neither. (That's not entirely fair. Granted, the third installment in the franchise is nowhere near as strong as the first two, but it is not as bad as its reputation is.) However, the quality of the movies is not the issue here, its whether the new box set is worth upgrading from the previous release...

Yes!

Moving onto the next review...

Alright, I'll give a few more details than that.

Extras include audio commentary tracks on all three movies with Francis Ford Coppola. They are solo tracks, but the director packs in a lot of information and never seems to be at a loss for words. The rest of the extras can all be found on the fourth disc, and there are a lot of extras. Things start with The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't, a 30-minute featurette on the movie, and how it was almost never made. Godfather World talks for 11 minutes about the effect the films have had on popular culture, so much so that even if you have never seen the movies, you know the movies because of the number of parodies that have been done. Next up is Emulsional Rescue - Revealing the Godfather, which is a great featurette on the restorations with a terrible, terrible name. There is a 14-minute featurette called ...when the shooting stopped that is about the editing and post-production of the movie. The Godfather on the Red Carpet runs 4 minutes and has a lot of celebrities talking about the movies while on the Red Carpet to Cloverfield. Nope, not sure why either.

That's it for the new featurettes, but we do have Four Short Films on The Godfather, which starts with The Godfather vs. The Godfather II, which is just a few people talking about which movie was better, the first or the second. Riffing on the Riffing has Richard Belzer giving lines of the movie and his friend giving the response. I have a feeling they could have quoted all 8 hours of the franchise. Take the Cannoli is about one of the key lines in the movie, which was apparently improvised. Clemenza talks about a character that was in the first movie, but not the second, and why. Combined they run just over seven minutes.

The Family Tree is an interactive family tree of the Corleone Family, while Crime Organization Chart does the same, but with the Crime Family. There's plenty to explore for fans of the movie. Connie And Carlo's Wedding Album is exactly what is sounds like.

Finally, there's the 2001 DVD Archive, which has all of the extras from the 2001 DVD release (deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes, images, and text bios).

As for the Blu-ray, it doesn't have any additional extras. However, it looks amazing. It likely looks better than it did in theaters (unless you were lucky enough to see it right away, before the prints started to wear out). Additionally, the Blu-ray is currently cheaper than the DVD over on Amazon, so there's no reason not to upgrade.

Quite frankly, I wasn't expecting the The Godfather Trilogy to hit Blu-ray quite so soon. I'm glad it did and anyone who has jumped into High Definition will want to pick up this 4-disc set. In fact, many who haven't will be tempted to take the leap.

Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and made its home market debut on the 16th. However, the DVD screener arrived late, hence the delay in the review.

Harold - Buy from Amazon
Harold stars Spencer Breslin in the titular role, a 13-year old boy who started to lose his hair when he was five. Now at 13 years old, he acts like a middle-aged man, but he's learned to adapt and he enjoys his life is hometown. But that all changes when his mom gets a promotion and they have to move to a new town. Now he has to learn to fit in at his new school, who are shocked at his bald head and his odd ways.

Ahhhh, the Indie comedy. The typical Independent comedy takes several quirky characters, throws them into some strange situations, and hopes that humor flows from that. It rarely does, and this film is no different. I liked Spencer Breslin's performance as Harold, but there's not a lot here to support it. It's your typical coming of age / social outcast movie. The hook is interesting, but not enough is done with it. And too many of the supporting characters are beyond quirky and are instead irritating.

Extras are limited to 4-minutes of interviews on the Red Carpet.

Harold is not as bad as the film's reviews would indicate, but that is not high praise. I think it is worth checking out, but with almost no extras, the DVD is worth a rental, but that's it.

High School Musical 2 - Deluxe Dance Edition - Buy from Amazon
I reviewed the original release here, and there's little reason to give a full review of the movie. I will give a brief recap...

If you enjoyed the original, then is it very likely you will enjoy this movie. You might even think this movie is slightly better; I did.

As for the 2-disc DVD, the first disc is identical to the original release, except for the ads, which includes a preview for Hannah Montana The Complete First Season. Yes, a Disney TV series coming out on a Full Season DVD. Hopefully Kim Possible will be next. And maybe even Filmore.

Disc two has all of the new extras, starting with four deleted scenes that run just over 4 minutes. This is not a final print form and includes the director's directions. Under Music and More is the dance along, which will teach you the dance moves for one of two songs: "What Time Is It" and "All for One". This is the feature that gives the 2-disc special edition its name, and it is extensive. You can watch the dance steps with instructions, at half speed, full speed, and the last two can be seen from behind, which makes it easier to learn the steps. Or so they say. Personally, I was born without the gene that allows one to dance, so I can't say whether or not this dance school is effective. This section also has music videos for "All for One", as well as more than a dozen music videos for songs from the show that were translated into different languages and done in many, many countries. Backstage Disney has several featurettes on the movie starting with High School Confidential!, which is a collection of short featurettes from behind-the-scenes featuring Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, and the rest of the cast. Most of these are 3 minutes in length, more or less, and the total is just shy of 30 minutes. It would be nice if there was a play all button, but fans should still have a great time checking them all out. Next up it The Making of "Humuhumunu--" nope, not going to type out the whole name. This is a making of featurette on one of the most memorable songs in the movie and it runs five and a half minutes. Cast Favorites spends four and a half minutes talking to the cast talking about their favorite things. (On a side note, two of them said their favorite car was a Porsche, but both times they mispronounced the name.) On Location is exactly that, and there's another set tour with In the Kitchen. Finally, there is a 3-minute sneak peak at High School Musical 3, which for many is the biggest draw for the DVD. ... Well, that and the free movie ticket for Senior Year.

When High School Musical 2 first hit DVD, I assumed there was a Special Edition coming out. And now that it has, I think it was worth the wait. I'm kind of surprised it is not also coming out on Blu-ray, but for those with patience enough to wait, it is worth picking up. For those who already have the previous release, it is only worth the upgrade if you are a hardcore fan, which is true of most fans, especially with the free ticket included.

History of the Joke with Lewis Black - Buy from Amazon
A documentary on the history of humor hosted by Lewis Black. Granted, this is more humor than history, but it is entertaining. Check it out.

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Filed under: Video Releases, Shrek the Third, Madagascar, Sex and the City, Leatherheads, Run, Fatboy, Run, My Blueberry Nights, The Foot Fist Way, Harold, High School Musical 2