DVD Easter Egg 'Secrets'

Perhaps DVD's greatest contribution to the enjoyment of movie buffs and even casual viewers (besides delivering a much sharper noise-free picture and six channel Dolby digital surround sound) are the inclusion of so-called extras accessible through the DVD menu.

These 'secret' little extras might be interviews or live commentary with the director and screenwriter, available on a second audio track as the movie unfolds, biographies of the actors, or other extras now referred to as "Easter eggs." These typically include outtakes and other on-set bloopers.

Easter eggs originated with computer programmers who buried secret bonuses in their software applications. Called "Easter eggs," you had to hunt for them and, even then, many were frustratingly difficult to unearth.

But as DVD reissues of movies have proliferated, DVD producers have begun to include all manner of Easter eggs, even going so far as to advertise the bonus "eggs" available on a new DVD release.

Here's a sample of a few eggs waiting to be unearthed on some recent DVD releases:

On the Star Wars -Episode I: The Phantom Menace DVD, you can view outtakes by going to the "Options" menu on Disc 1. Then you enter the number 1138, which of course is part of the title of George Lucas's first movie feature, THX 1138. Apparently you have to enter the first two digits of the number by hitting the 10+ key and then a 1 or vice-versa.

On the Moulin Rouge DVD, you can access an outtake of stars Nicole Kidman and Ewen McGregor kibitzing around when Kidman can't keep in character during a take. To find this "egg," you go to "The Cutting Room" section on the bonus disc then click on "Main Menu." Then you keep hitting the left arrow on the remote until a red windmill appears. Click on the red windmill. There are also other "eggs" you have to hunt for on this DVD.

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