Thought I'd drop a word in on the Best Buy Bonus Disc. I've watched the full thing over now and I have to say, things like this make DVDs what they are. There are no deleted scenes, but you sometimes catch the "behind the cameras" view as the cameras are filming small instances of cut footage - things like the Librarian saying "Master" at the end of his first line, or Farder Coram explaining "alethia is Greek, meaning 'truth'."
Keep in mind this is only about forty-five minutes of film, no fancy menu titles involved.
The Bonus disc contains:
- Cast Interviews
What I really enjoy about the section of cast interviews is that they go beyond Nicole, Daniel, Eva, and Sam. I adore the acting they did, but at the same time we have seen a number of interviews with them. Who we haven't seen are people like Jack Shepherd, Jim Carter, Tom Courtenay, Steven Loton, Clare Higgins, Simon McBurney, and Ben Walker: all of whom give some lovely interviews with a mix of cuteness, funny, and love for Pullman's books.
The stunts section covers mainly Lyra's stunts and some overall coordination of the Bolvangar fight sequence. Stare awe-stricken as the camera tracks an invisible Iorek rampaging through Trollesund knocking down barrels and frightening the town's citizens! The section ends with the wire-work of Eva Green and the aerial coordinator.
The section of locations covers a number of different areas, only tracking the many months of work at Shepperton Studios briefly before going out to the wider world of "exciting" locations away from green screens. What was most interesting here was seeing the way they integrated exteriors and interiors with real places: how weird to see a string of modern houses resting just behind the authentic Trollesund Einarsson's Bar! As well, Director Chris Weitz takes the cameras up to Svalbard, and to a gorgeous glacier located in Switzerland. Even a few of the more "mundane" locations: a true-life restaurant, a simple forest, and a pumping station are vamped up in style for The Golden Compass movie.
This isn't something I would've been thrilled to pay the ten-ish extra dollars for - the bonus disc isn't a free addition - but Best Buy apparently offers "new releases" on sale and put the final cost of my two-disc edition with bonus disc almost exactly at the cost of the two-disc alone. However, the two-disc alone was probably on "new release" sale as well!
This is pretty much exactly what I love about DVDs, though: this is my thing. I can't tell you how often I've watched the behind-the-scenes and making-ofs and directors-commentaries of my favorite movies - even if the director's and cast commentaries do say nearly the same things at nearly the same bored tone.
However, this is something you likely won't get to see without paying for it at Best Buy - the hefty "death threat" / Magisterium logo at the end tries its best to scare the pants off anyone wanting to get this the cheap and illegal way. And of course, at the end of the day if we ever do get a director's cut extended edition, hopefully this content will be available there, too.
Reviewer Rating: five-star value at sale price. Four stars at full price for cost and length.