Mansion, Master Offer CG Thrills and Chills on DVD

Computer-generated visual effects take center stage as today’s home video releases offer up Disney’s The Haunted Mansion and Twentieth Century Fox’s Best Visual Effects Oscar-nominated Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Directed by Lion King and Stuart Little helmer Rob Minkoff, Haunted Mansion stars Eddie Murphy as a workaholic who travels for a job interview and unwittingly checks his family into a haunted house. Like last summer’s blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Mansion is based on a popular, long-standing Disney theme park attraction. Bringing the ride frights to the big screen was the work of effects houses CIS Hollywood, SPI and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

DVD extras include a blooper reel, deleted scenes, a Haunted Mansion virtual tour, a behind-the-scenes feturette titled Making The Mansion, the featurette Anatomy of a Scene: Ghosts in the Graveyard, feature audio commentary with producer Don Hahn, photo galleries and a DVD-ROM interactive "Morphing Ghost Host Maker." Disney buffs will also enjoy an overview of the history of the Haunted Mansion theme park attraction.

The Haunted Mansion is rated PG and runs approximately 88 minutes. The Buena Vista Home Entertainment release lists for $29.99 DVD and $24.99 VHS.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World employs realistic digital and practical effects by Asylum Effects, Digital Backlot, Industrial Light & Magic and Weta Workshop to depict the wartime showdown between a British vessel and an elusive French warship during the British/French opposition of 1805. Based on two of Patrick O’Brian’s popular novels about British naval hero Capt. Jack Aubrey, the film stars Russell Crowe and his A Beautiful Mind co-star, Paul Bettany.

The special two-disc DVD release includes such bonus features as theatrical trailers, TV spots, six deleted scenes, the HBO First Look featurette, four multi-angle studies, four art galleries, a look at the film’s sound design, an interactive sound recording demo, a split-screen vignette and the featurettes The Hundred Days and In the Wake of O’Brian.

The Twentieth Century Fox Home Video release lists for $39.98 DVD and $34.98 VHS.