I’m with Drastic. The movie itself is what I buy/rent DVD’s for. Give me a good transfer of the film, a clear soundtrack, and scene access, and I’m happy. I just finished watching “Thesis”, that’s all it has, and I am satisified because it’s a fantastic movie. The main attraction of the Criterion Collection DVD’s for me is the fantastic picture quality. Compare their “The 39 Steps” to anything else available, and you’ll see it’s well worth the $30.
But I also like extras. “Making of” are fun when they’re well done, as on the “Psycho” DVD (fun fact: Anthony Perkins wasn’t there for the filming of the shower scene because Norman wasn’t there). Commentaries can be a lot of fun, and not just director commentaries. Roger Ebert’s commentary on “Dark City” makes for increased appreciation, and any Hong Kong import with a Ric Myers commentary is worth seeing. “This Is Spinal Tap” has a commentary track done by the characters in the film, and “Ghostbusters” has two commentaries, one done MST3K style and a second done with subtitles containing essentially the same information, allowing you to get the film soundtrack and commentary information at the same time.
Shorts are fun, too. The Criterion version of “Carnival of Souls”, besides having the theatrical and director’s cuts, includes a bunch of safety films made by the director, and they’re pretty entertaining for industrial safety films; you can see sparks of talent there. “Rush Hour” has a student film by Brett Ratner, which is badly inept, confirming my suspicion that Jackie Chan’s screen presense is the only thing that keeps that film alive.
Well done menus can be fun. On “What Dreams May Come” you can choose from Heaven or Hell menus. You know you’re hooked when you eject the dvd just so you can reload just to see what the other menus looked like. “Memento” and all the James Bond special editions are good examples of interesting things done with the menus.
And let me add my praise for the deleted scenes from “Boogie Nights”. There are two gems. The first has Don Cheadle trying to explain to Julianne Moore why her car stereo is having problems (too many “quads per channel”) and the second is a 10 minute continuous take of Dirk Diggler trying to play a bar scene, and botching it over and over.
The deleted scenes on “Unbreakable” are also good stuff. Check out the ‘carnival’ scene–yeesh!
Alternate endings are also interesting. The original ending of “What Dreams May Come” is 10x the ending in the theatrical version. But the original endings of “Final Destination” and “Army of Darkness” are both inferior to the ending that was in the theatrical release.