I was looking at my DVD and Blu Ray collection the other day and began to ponder a few things. First, there are some DVDs in my collection that I like a lot, but which I’m not sure I really needed to own. For example, I own The Way of the Gun on DVD. It’s a good movie, and I really like it a lot, but do I really need to own it? Probably not, but I distinctly remember buying it for less than $10 and the disc features a great commentary track (Christopher McQuarrie is a genuinely interesting and engaging guy – if you’re interested, check out the Q&A from Creative Screenwriting Magazine for a taste).
On the other hand, I also realized that I don’t own a single Coen brothers movie. Considering that I love the grand majority of their movies (if I were to put together a top 100 of all time list right now, there would be at least 2 of their movies if not more), I wondered why this was so. Well, it turns out that their movies have generally bad DVD releases. Most don’t have much in the way of special features, and only a couple have commentary tracks. Furthermore, now that I have a Blu Ray player, it would be nice to upgrade to a BD. Perhaps I’m blowing things a bit out of proportion. The Fargo BD seems to have more special features than I remembered, so maybe it’s time to pony up, but still.
I find this happening with a few movies. I’m sure everyone could come up with a big list of movies they’d love to see a good release for, but here are some of the movies or directors I’d like to see better releases of:
- Grindhouse: This one kinda infuriates me. The theatrical cut was around 3 hours long total, and it consisted of a double feature of films, with some fake trailers thrown in between the two movies. But the movie sorta bombed, so when it came time to release on DVD, each movie got their own extended cut and DVD. Basically, the original experience isn’t available on DVD or BD (in America, at least), and I’m not going to buy it until it is (even though I truly love the movie).
- Ghost in the Shell: This sort of thing happens a lot with foreign releases, but I always have trouble figuring out which version to get, and there always seems to be some bizarre flaw in all the various releases. Most recently, there was a sorta remake of the movie, called Ghost in the Shell 2.0, where they’ve redone a lot of the animation and audio. This is all well and good, but the BD that was released seems to be a mess. According to various accounts, the packaging talks about a bunch of special features that aren’t actually on the disc. Then there’s also the news that the disc includes the original version of the movie, but from everything I’ve seen, the original version of the movie is also poor quality and features the updated audio. This is kinda frustrating because apparently a really nice special edition set was planned, but I guess it got canceled or something. Anime on BD in general seems to also be a sore spot, but I’ll leave it at that.
- Raise the Red Lantern: I love this movie, but it has a really terrible DVD release (and no BD release). The movie appears to be gorgeously photographed, so I’d really like to see an HD version…
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno: I like the movie, but what really bums me out about the DVD/BD is that it doesn’t include a commentary. I know a lot of people don’t like or care about commentaries, but Kevin Smith commentaries are among the best I’ve ever heard, so it’s really disappointing that there wasn’t one for this movie. Heck, I’ll even listen to Kevin Smith commentaries on movies that aren’t his (he has a great commentary with Richard Kelly on the Donnie Darko Director’s Cut DVD and he even did a pretty funny one for Road House(!)) I know Kevin Smith has talked a bit about how disappointed and depressed he was that the movie didn’t do better, but that’s exactly the kind of movie that’s ideal for a commentary track. Perhaps Smith doesn’t want to burn any bridges in Hollywood or something, but I’m sure at some point he’ll be able to site down with a couple friends and record a great commentary.
- Watchmen: There are so many damn versions of this movie that I’m a little baffled. There’s the theatrical cut, the directors cut, and the ultimate cut. Each of with had a separate DVD/BD release, and despite branching technology being available, none of the DVD/BD releases used that.
- Miyazaki on Blu Ray – It would be really nice if this would happen someday. The DVD releases are pretty good though, so there’s not a ton to complain about, but still. I want Spirited Away on BD!
Well, I could probably go on and on here, but I feel like I’m getting to whiny, so I’ll leave it at that.