Brian Hiatt
October 15, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

From Neo to Nemo, the season’s heroes are squeezing onto DVD this fall, and of course, they’re bringing deleted scenes and other goodies along. We rounded up the top six cinematic options for reliving the sunny season:

The Matrix Reloaded


WHAT’D IT MAKE? $280 million

COOL SPECIAL FEATURES Despite their saga’s humorlessness, the Wachowskis were smart enough to include the brilliant ”Matrix” parody (with Will Ferrell as the Architect, claiming ”I have no idea what I just said”) from the 2003 MTV Movie Awards. Plus, there’s an in-depth look into the creation of the movie’s freeway chase — the part of the movie even detractors enjoyed.

WORTH WATCHING AGAIN (AND AGAIN)? Yes, even for those whose faith in the trilogy was tested by lousy dialogue and overblown action scenes. The original ”Matrix” was the ultimate DVD movie, and with its endless mysteries (Why can Neo use his powers in the real world? Who is the Merovingian? What happened to Tank?), the oft-criticized sequel is home-theater-worthy as well.

Image credit: The Hulk: ILM

The Hulk


WHAT’D IT MAKE? $132 million

COOL SPECIAL FEATURES Xbox owners should get their trigger fingers ready: The DVD to Ang Lee’s take on the Marvel man-beast will include a playable level from The Hulk game. Non Xboxers will have to settle for a documentary showing Lee acting out the Hulk‘s scenes while wearing a motion-capture suit. Oscar-winning director smash!

WORTH WATCHING AGAIN (AND AGAIN)? Maybe, with heavy remote-control use. Click past all the psychodrama, and find the parts where the Hulk takes on radioactive dogs, the entire U.S. military, and an oh-so-evil Josh Lucas. Just don’t skip Nick Nolte’s scenery-chomping performance (except for the part where he turns into a giant cloud of energy and tries to eat the planet — or whatever).

Image credit: Finding Nemo: © PIXAR/Disney

Finding Nemo


WHAT’D IT MAKE? $334 million

COOL SPECIAL FEATURES ”Making Nemo” shows how Pixar’s computer-animation masterminds turned bits and bytes into sea life. And Jacques Cousteau’s son, diver Jean-Michel Cousteau, stars in a new, just-for-the-DVD short film about Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the film’s setting (we’d call it a documentary, except that the movie’s animated characters pop up along the way).

WORTH WATCHING AGAIN (AND AGAIN)? Sure. The broad comedy of scenes (like the one in which Albert Brooks’ neurotic clownfish and Ellen DeGeneres’ daffy, amnesia-prone blue tang attempt to ”speak whale”) are hilarious enough to merit repeat viewings. But it’s the fantastically detailed underwater animation — with every frond and anemone aglow — and subtle gags, like the Boston-accented lobsters, that’ll keep us journeying under the sea.

X2: X-Men United


WHAT’D IT MAKE? $215 million

COOL SPECIAL FEATURES Eleven deleted scenes, among them an extended (and even more visceral) version of the claw-tastic final clash between Kelly Hu’s Deathstrike and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. The behind-the-scenes featurettes include a look at Nightcrawler’s BAMF-ing, but unfortunately, they don’t give an insight into director Bryan Singer’s infamous on-set clash with Halle Berry.

WORTH WATCHING AGAIN (AND AGAIN)? Yup. Hardcore X-fans will no doubt be pressing play just to catch the obscure references to the comic books (check out the names of the file folders on Deathstrike’s computer). And newcomers will probably want to get several chances to figure out who all those mutants are supposed to be — and what the enigmatic last scene means.

Image credit: Terminator 3: Robert Zuckerman

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines


WHAT’D IT MAKE? $149 million

COOL SPECIAL FEATURES Governor Ah-nuld finished his commentary right before announcing his campaign; listen in for hints on his political philosophy. Plus, a ”special effects lab” lets you build a customized action scene by combining various explosions and other effects — just make sure you let the Governator triumph.

WORTH WATCHING AGAIN (AND AGAIN)? Perhaps not. Although director Jonathan Mostow did his best, inert performances from Nick Stahl and Claire Danes — and a flagrantly illogical screenplay (it seems to pretend the apocalypse-averting events of ”Terminator 2” never happened) make this the weakest ”Terminator” yet. Stick with James Cameron’s originals.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl


WHAT’D IT MAKE? $283 million

COOL SPECIAL FEATURES Johnny Depp is forced to explain his endearingly preposterous portrayal of eyeliner-loving pirate Captain Jack Sparrow in a commentary track. And a behind-the-scenes feature shows us just how those pirates turned into skeletons in that too-scary-for-kids moonlight scene.

WORTH WATCHING AGAIN (AND AGAIN)? Sort of. The swoon-worthy pairing of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley should be enough to get some viewers to watch summer’s biggest surprise hit once more. And Depp’s eccentric swashbuckling is a career highlight. But the ramshackle plotline may start to grate on the third (or fifteenth) viewing.

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