6 DVD Special Features That Go beyond the Director Commentary

Saturday, May 18 by Gregory Wakeman

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DVD features are now all the rage for movie fanatics. Sometimes, they even manage to eclipse the feature film that they are accompanying by revealing hidden secrets and anecdotes about its production that were unknown to the masses. They are not all gold though, in fact some documentaries, commentaries and deleted scenes can be so tedious that you can’t help but fall asleep whilst viewing them. But when they are done well, they can be remarkable. Here are the greatest DVD special features that go beyond the director’s commentary.


“Rushmore”

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Wes Anderson’s delightful cult movie revolves around Max Fisher, played by Jason Schwartzman, an ambitious but ignorant student, who runs his own theatrical troupe. The end of the film sees him create an homage to “Apocalypse Now” so it was no surprise to find a trio of interpretations to “Out of Sight,” “Armageddon” and “The Truman Show” on the movie’s DVD features.


“Reservoir Dogs”

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Quentin Tarantino turned into Hollywood’s golden boy after the release of his 1992 crime thriller, but it took a long time for the former video store clerk to hone and perfect his script. A feature on the DVD to “Reservoir Dogs” reveals the heartache that he went through at the 1991 Sundance Institute, where he worked on his script and received a lesson in film direction.


“Star Wars: Episode 1”

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Jon Shenk, a 27 year-old graduate of Stanford University, shot over 600 hours of footage when documenting the production of "The Phantom Menace." And through these clips he managed to create a mesmerizing fly-on-the-wall documentary that genuinely rivals "Episode 1" as a piece of cinema.


“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”

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James Cameron’s sequel to his pre-apocalyptic masterpiece turns the tables as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator goes up against Robert Patrick’s T-1000 as he looks to protect John Connor from his demise. The ending to "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" is one of the most emotional in celluloid history, but the movie’s alternate ending on the DVD is definitely worth checking out to compare. 


“Memento”

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<p class= Christopher Nolan’s mesmerizing tale of amnesia and deceit is beautifully structured to keep viewers engaged, but if you’re tired of watching it in that fashion you can always click on the “Clock” feature of the DVD to reconstruct the movie into its chronological order. It’s kind of interesting, but soon loses its novelty.


“El Mariachi,” “Desperado,” and “Once Upon A Time in Mexico”

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Film schools are expensive places. So rather than striving to save thousands of dollars in order to attend one, just save yourself your time and pennies by watching Robert Rodriguez’s “10-minute film school” featurettes, which gives you practical and no-sense advice on how to succeed in the film business.