The Terminator and The Usual Suspects are very similar in many ways. People die in both of them. And they are regarded as two of the best movies in modern cinema. One is about a cyborg sent from the future to assassinate the mother of humanity’s last chance, the other about a gimpy Kevin Spacey and a mysterious underworld figure. Very similar indeed.
Both movies were recently released by MGM and 20th Century Fox in book format. Book format!
The Terminator is an expertly written novella, the prose flowing off the page like the direct spawn of Shakespeare and Hemingway. There are rumors of a Pulitzer in the near future. As for The Usual Suspects, the book is also quite good, though the ending is significantly different than in the movie. Thankfully, the ending is unimportant.
Wait, the “books” aren’t really books?
The books in question are actually just new packaging for the two films. They look like small hardcover books and each contain about 25 pages of information about the movie at hand, as well as trivia and actor biographies. Most importantly, the books also contain the films in Blu-Ray format.
The books offer little that couldn’t be found on IMDB or Wikipedia, albeit presented in a slick, easy-to-read format. Unfortunately, for those who like bonus features, the books are about as special as the Blu-Ray packages get. The Blu-Rays themselves don’t have much special content.
The Terminator comes packaged with seven deleted scenes, a featurette on creating the visual effects and a retrospective, which has James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger looking back on the success of the movie and how it came to be.
The Usual Suspects doesn’t have anything.
Both movies look great in Blu-Ray format, though both have been polished up to look as nice as they ever will before. This new book format provides nothing new, other than slick new packaging as a way to extract more cash from fans. If you don’t own these movies and don’t care about special features – this may be the way to go – but since they’re new, they also cost twice as much on Amazon.com as other Blu-Ray versions.