"Shrek 2" is the third-highest-grossing movie of all time in the United States, and when it's released on DVD today, it will kick off what is expected to be the biggest DVD sales season yet, with must-owns like "Spider-Man 2," the first three seasons of "Seinfeld" and "The Lord of the Rings" following close on the ogre's hooves.
Available in wide-screen and full-screen formats, the Special Edition ($29.99) includes commentary by the directors and writers, the inevitable bloopers and a featurette on the advances in CGI technology. The bulk of the extras are kid stuff; there are 20 "Shrek"-inspired games and activities.
If you somehow managed to avoid acquiring the original film or the subsequent two-disc set that included the stop-gap, 3-D, 15-minute short, it's now gathered with the new film and yet another bonus disc that includes a "Shrek 2" making-of documentary and even more fun and games, including a section that teaches your kids how to "Burp Along With Shrek." Four sets of 3-D glasses are also included in "Shrek: The Story So Far," which sells for $54.99, but will be discounted to $40.
Old-school animation fans may be even more excited about "Looney Tunes: Golden Collection Volume 2" ($64.92), an equally well-compiled successor to last year's celebration of classic Warner Brothers shorts. The four discs contain 60 cartoons, most of which have been previously available on laser disc on VHS, but some making their home video debut. Amazon has assembled the ultimate gift for the serious DVD collector: a boxed set -- and that's a big box -- of all 241 titles in the Criterion Collection, from Altman's "Three Women" to Kurosawa's "Yojimbo." (Unfortunately the out-of-print-titles like "The Bank Dick" and "Dead Ringers" could not be included, since the release rights have reverted to other companies.)
It's not Criterion, but the new 40th Anniversary Special Edition of Stanley Kubrick's satirical 1964 classic "Dr. Strangelove" ($34.95) is certainly up to those standards. The two-disc set, packaged in a slip case, appends Kubrick's comic assault on the military-industrial complex
"Festival Express" ($24.98) did get a brief theatrical showing, but if you're a fan of Janis Joplin, the Band, the Grateful Dead and the much-missed Delaney & Bonnie, or just a sucker for the 1960s, you'll want a ticket on this memorable trip.
It's a much-belated account of an attempt to mount a traveling rock festival, via train, through Canada in 1970.
All Simpson fans will need to know about "Simpsons Christmas 2" ($14.98) is that no one sings "Silent Night" in any of the four holiday episodes from various years.
-- Terry Lawson,
Knight Ridder Newspapers