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Paula Patton plays Jane and Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt in "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions. (April 28, 2012)

The fourth “Mission: Impossible” is arguably the best in the series and the best action film of 2011. Paramount Home Entertainment has just released the video version in the U.S. It has a gorgeous transfer (on Blu-ray disc, at least), rich sound, and a great selection of extras — kind of.

That is: everything about it is first-rate — except the marketing, which creates a problem that requires a warning. There are three versions you can purchase: the normal, one-disc DVD has only a few extras; the standard Blu-ray package (one BD with the film and a few more extras, plus one DVD with only the film); and a slightly more expensive three-disc version (one BD and one DVD, each with the film only, and a second BD with roughly twice as many extras).

Clearly, if you love the film, you want the three-disc edition. The catch is that it's a “Best Buy exclusive.” So any fans who didn't know this and who bought the disc elsewhere, well, tough luck, you bought the wrong one.

This sort of “exclusive edition” marketing setup stinks, frankly. Three years ago, when “Woodstock” arrived on Blu-ray, Amazon had an exclusive edition with a bunch of extra numbers, and Target had an exclusive edition without those, but with a bunch of others. So you would have to buy both to get all of these (unless you knew that the U.K. version, which has no region restrictions, had all the tracks from both American editions).

Under any circumstance, this should lead to a bunch of angry customers. But in this case, Paramount has made it worse by sending reviewers the Best Buy version, apparently without making it clear enough to the reviewers that it's not the standard release. To distinguish them, the cover of the two-disc version has Tom Cruise facing left; the three-disc, facing right. Unfortunately, many reviews show the cover of the two-disc version, running with a review of the three-disc edition (without mentioning the issue at all).

So if you want the additional hour or so of supplements (which, by the way, are mostly quite good), make sure Tom is facing the lower right-hand corner of the package.


"Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol" (Paramount Home Entertainment, three-disc Best Buy exclusive edition, $52.99; two-disc Blu-ray/DVD, $44.99; DVD, $29.99)