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DVDs' Hidden Treats Await Skilled Hunter

Discs* Blooper reels, deleted scenes, trailers and more are rewards for those clever enough to find them.

November 28, 2001|MARC SALTZMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Although sales of DVD players have been booming for the last two years, many consumers still don't know that some of the movie discs they watch contain more features than those listed on the box.

In the trade they're called "Easter eggs," because you have to hunt for them.

They are hidden gems for movie lovers, a secret section planted on the disc that serves as a reward for those savvy enough to uncover them. They may be blooper reels, deleted scenes, mini-movies, trailers, video games or interviews.

Most are passed on by word of mouth or via popular DVD Web sites such as DVD Review (www.dvdreview.com).

According to Billy Pidgeon, an analyst with Jupiter Media Metrix, "Easter eggs" add value to the DVD. "Since eggs are primarily spread by word of mouth, it helps generate buzz about the DVD when people find out about them, plus it gives them another reason to go back to the DVD," he says.

"Because eggs are easy to add to a DVD," Pidgeon says, "I think they'll become even more pervasive. But they're not really for the casual DVD consumer; eggs appeal to the fanboy, the movie fanatic. It certainly adds to the excitement of owning the DVD and it's something to show your friends when they come over."

With that in mind, here's a handful of new eggs to look for on current DVD releases.

* "The Godfather DVD Collection"

There are many eggs buried in this five-disc set from Paramount Home Video.

From the main menu, select the "Set Up" section and then tap the Right button on the DVD remote. A globe will appear on the screen. Now press Enter (or Select on some DVD players) and watch a humorous collage of famous "Godfather" scenes-in multiple languages, from foreign-language versions from throughout the world. Want to know what "Ba-da-boom" sounds like in German?

Another egg can be found in the "Galleries" section of the disc. Scroll down to "DVD Credits" and press Enter. Now, click "Next" four times to be treated to a hidden clip from "The Sopranos" as Tony & Co. attempt to watch a bootleg version of "The Godfather" on DVD.

* "Shrek"

As if the 11 hours of extra footage weren't enough on this two-disc set from DreamWorks Home Video, there are two eggs to find, too.

Pop in either one of the two discs and select the "Special Features" menu section. Now press the Up arrow twice, until the Gingerbread Man's buttons turn orange. Now press Enter to read a random "fun fact". Did you know there were more than 1,000 fairy tale creatures who invaded Shrek's swamp at the beginning of the film? Each time you visit this egg, it'll be a different fact.

A second egg is on the second disc. Navigate over to the word "Play" but do not press Enter. Instead, press the Up arrow on the remote and a musical note will illuminate orange. Now press Enter to view the "Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party."

* "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace"

There are a number of eggs cleverly hidden on this LucasFilm/Fox Home Video release, including undocumented deleted scenes and a handy THX audio and video setup screen.

But the finest egg contains amusing outtakes. Here's how to access it:

On the first disc, go to the "Options" menu and type "1138" using your remote control (Lucas' first feature film was "THX 1138"). On some DVD players you may have to press "10+," then "1" and then "3" and "8." Now, sit back and enjoy two minutes of bloopers. Who knew R2D2 had such problems keeping upright?

* "The Terminator: Special Edition"

Fans will undoubtedly get a kick out of the many hidden eggs on MGM Home Entertainment's re-release of this sci-fi film.

From the main menu, go to the "Special Features" area and press Down on the remote three times. A small square at the top of the screen will turn green. Press Enter to watch four randomly generated featurettes on the making of the movie.

Another well-hidden collection of five featurettes can be uncovered in the "Languages" section of the DVD. Scroll down to highlight "Francais." Instead of pressing Enter, press the Right button on the remote and a box will turn green on the right-hand side of the screen. Press Enter for a randomly generated featurette.

* "Moulin Rouge"

The Fox Home Video release contains many hidden eggs; here are two good ones:

On the second disc, click "More" to enter the second page. Press Right on the remote until a red fairy appears on the theater screen. Now press Enter to be taken to a silly dancing scene.

From the main menu, select "The Cutting Room" and then click Enter. Tap the Right button on the remote four times until a hidden red windmill appears on the screen. Click Enter to view Ewan McGregor serenading Nicole Kidman to Elton John's "Your Song."

* "Basic Instinct: Special Edition"

Artisan's special edition of the thriller features a few eggs (and an ice-pick pen, as well). The top one:

Scroll down and select the "Special Features" section. Press the Right arrow key once to illuminate the ice pick. Press Enter and it'll turn red. Now viewers can watch a lengthy rehearsal sequence with Sharon Stone, including the infamous interrogation and lie detector scenes.

* "Tomb Raider"

Go to the "Special Features" section on this popular Paramount Home Video disc and scroll down twice using the remote. The two waves at the bottom of the screen will stop flashing (below the words "Main Menu"). Press Enter for an emotional two-minute interview clip with Angelina Jolie and her real-life dad, Jon Voight, talking about working together on this film.

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