Digital Breakdown: ‘Transformers’ more than meets the eye 

You’d think "Transformers" wouldn’t be good because it’s based on a kid’s cartoon and directed by noted blow ‘em up director Michael Bay. Surprisingly, that’s not the case. Actually, it’s far from the mundane adaptations that Hollywood has been cranking out in the past five years. It’s a smart, action-filled romp with jaw-dropping special effects and a plot decent enough to be mildly believable — that is, if gigantic robots from Mars fighting a civil war actually did visit Earth.

The two-disc DVD special edition has nine feature ettes, concept art, an image gallery and more. While the set is great, and worth the money, an extended edition of the film will likely come out sometime next year. Wait for that and rent this.

Price: Standard definition, $36.99, Blu-ray/HD definition, $39.99.

Rent or buy: A great rental.

GRINDHOUSE PRESENTS: PLANET TERROR — TWO-DISC SPECIAL EDITION

Talk about ying and yang in reference to Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s failed project "Grindhouse," a double feature including a film by each director. Tarantino’s "Death Proof," which came out on DVD a few weeks ago, is all about setting a mood and compelling, although somewhat unnecessary, dialogue. Rodriguez’s "Planet Terror" is all about gory goodness; it’s the quintessential modern-day, big budget zombie flick.

It’s a great selection on DVD in an extended, unrated version that cuts up the gore, ups the zombies, and ups the over-the-top enjoyment of a flick that would have soared as a stand-alone film. A second disc has special features including a 10-minute "film school" and audio commentary by Rodriguez, an interesting audience screening track commentary, five making-of feature ettes, a poster gallery and trailer compilation.

Price: $29.95.

Rent or buy: Buy.

THE REAPING

It’s never a good sign when a film is introduced, postponed, then re-introduced into theaters at a far later date. That was the fate of "The Reaping," starring Hilary Swank as a myth-busting scholar who stumbles into a situation where the 10 Biblical plagues become a reality in a small, secluded town. Check out the DVD’s special feature that shows how to create your Biblical plagues in your backyard.

Price: Standard definition, $28.98, Blu-ray/HD definition, $39.99.

Rent or buy: A good rental.

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP — THE COMPLETE SERIES

In 2006, NBC introduced two shows that focused on what goes on behind the scenes at a "Saturday Night Live"-like sketch comedy show. "30 Rock" with Tina Fey survived, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" didn’t. It was taken off air before the season’s mid-point, the remaining episodes were "burned off" in the summer.

For those who missed some episodes, all 22 are included here on six discs, accompanied by one audio commentary about the pilot and one mediocre featurette.

Price: $58.98.

Rent or buy: Buy — fans only.

Other DVDs coming out Tuesday: "A Mighty Heart," "That 70s Show — Season Seven," "Return to House on Haunted Hill," "Sam Katzman Collection," "Ice Spider," "Kings of South Beach," "Hollow Man: Director’s Cut," "Christmas Do Over," "Crazy Love," "Murder Party" and "Girl 27."


Read all of Peter Brown's DVD reviews at Digital Breakdown on Examiner.com.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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