Easter egg hunts: 10 of the wildest hidden features on DVDs you may already own
If you, like many among us, are retreating into “comfort food” movies in these shelter-at-home times, you can still mine cool new content from some of your favorite DVDs and Blu-rays. So this Easter weekend, how about a quarantine-safe Easter egg hunt of the digital kind?
The term “Easter eggs” has more recently come to apply to fan-servicey little details right there on the screen in films. But back in the before-times, when we got our movies on physical discs, some came with hidden features. You’d have no idea they were there and had to hunt around the menus with your remote in the hopes of finding something ... until hero nerds took it upon themselves to find them for you.
He’s a force on the dance floor
Many Easter eggs are brief gags, such as the hip-hop Yoda clip sequestered in the DVD of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.” At the main menu, highlight the THX logo and enter George Lucas’ favorite number, 1138, to see the Jedi master bust a move.
What a tangled web
The two-disc DVD version of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” has lots and lots of Easter eggs. Most of these are gold for comic book fans, such as featurettes on characters and artists. One that might appeal more broadly is a CGI blooper reel: On Disc 1, go to Main Menu / Special Features / Commentary / Special Features. Press the left arrow on your remote to highlight a Spider-Man symbol / Enter.
This one’s secrets are ‘Incredible’
The original “Incredibles” DVD is simply packed with hidden features. Probably the most famous among these is an abbreviated version of the film told through the magical medium of sock puppetry. Find it by going to the Set Up menu and waiting. Eventually, an Omnidroid appears in the top right-hand corner. Press the Up arrow and Enter to see it.
If you go chasing rabbits ...
Fittingly for a film about discovering a hidden reality, the home-video version of “The Matrix” fully embraces the treasure hunt. The disc famously contains secret content you can find by clicking on “red pills” and “white rabbits.” For instance, when you go to the Cast and Crew Menu / Warner Bros, you’ll find a red pill that leads to a featurette about the film’s concept. If you go to Special Features / Making the Matrix / The Dreamworld / Continue, you’ll have an option to “Follow the White Rabbits.” Then when you view the film, in certain scenes, a white rabbit icon will appear in the lower left-hand corner. Clicking on them will take you to behind-the-scenes featurettes.
I thought we weren’t supposed to watch that video
The whole conceit of “The Ring” (2002) is that if you watch the “Cursed Video,” you die. So of course, the whole thing is hidden on the disc. There are different instructions for Blu-ray and DVD users; for instance, on Blu-ray, go to Extras and highlight “Don’t Watch This.” Press the left button on your remote until nothing is highlighted and hit Enter. You can find the video online now, but the recommendation here is to watch it this way because of some spooky tricks attached to this experience.
The ‘Godfather’ sets won’t disappoint you
Both “The Coppola Restoration” set of “Godfather” movies and “The “Godfather DVD Collection” have numerous hidden features. Two of the fan favorites are a scene from TV’s “The Sopranos” in which the gang tries to watch an “advance bootleg” of the movie, and a clip of James Caan’s screen test, in which he brings his best Marlon Brando imitation. In the “DVD Collection”: You can see the “Sopranos” clip on the Bonus Materials disc: Go to Galleries (in the DVD credits). Click Next until the scene comes up. To see the Caan clip on the Bonus Materials disc: Go to the Family Tree. Click on Sonny / Caan’s photo / a second Caan photo.
‘Puss’’ secret booty
The DVD of “Puss in Boots” has some fun little cat treats. These are waggishly identified by finding icons of Humpty Dumpty. One finds Puss failing to pose for the movie poster, distracted by a dot. He is a cat, after all. Go to Extras / Special Features / Preview. In the first menu entry, use your remote’s Up arrow (this also works in the last menu entry, using the Down arrow). There’s Humpty! Hit Enter.
This one’s a natural for a ‘Treasure’ hunt
In keeping with the spirit of the movie, the DVD release of “National Treasure” (2004) contains a fun hidden code-breaking game to unlock more special features. For those who want spoilers and cheat codes, they’re available online. For those who just want to get started playing and figure it out themselves, go to Main Menu / Bonus Treasure Hunt. At the end of each clip is a two-letter piece of the code. Correctly assembling the pieces and entering them in the final screen will set you on your way.
Batman has his secrets
Christopher Nolan must be a fan of Easter eggs because several home-video releases of his films have great ones. The “Memento” chronological-order version is one of the very best (see below) and “Batman Begins,” for instance, includes many secret nuggets on the second disc of the DVD set. “Insomnia” has footage of an actual avalanche that occurred during filming. “Inception” includes a motion comic detailing the heist that sets up the film. One of the most famous Easter eggs is the “Jokerized” version of the trailer for “The Dark Knight”: On Disc 2: Play Trailer 3 / Type 56537 (“Joker” on a phone keypad) on your remote (allow for a pause before it plays).
‘Memento’ backward is forward
This is one of the Holy Grail Easter eggs. “Memento” brilliantly unfolds in reverse chronological order. But there’s a totally different way to experience it: in correct chronological order. This feature is available on both the Limited Edition DVD and 10th Anniversary Blu-ray. If you have the 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray: Begin playing the movie. Activate the pop-up menu / Extra Features / Next / Select the “Tattoo Gallery” with your remote’s left button.
On the second disc of the limited edition DVD, the menu is a series of images set up like a psychological test. According to DVD Talk.com, “Select the Clock, and choose C on the following five pages. You’ll see a quiz that shows four illustrated panels of a woman changing a flat tire on her car. The quiz asks you to place the panels in chronological order. The trick, of course, is to place the panels in backward order, which is 3, 4, 1, 2. After you do so, the film begins playing its scenes in chronological order.”
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