I want a good DVD/BD version!

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.

6 thoughts on “I want a good DVD/BD version!”

  1. I would never think of selling any of my dvd’s. I hate change because I have to re-buy all of my favorite movies. This ends up costing me a tun of money and I will soon have to pick up another hobby.

  2. Heh. I have the Way of the Gun dvd, but I think it’s a fantastic movie, and pretty much a must-have.

    It’s always interesting what you can and can’t find on dvd, isn’t it? I’m always interested by which things get nice treatments, and wonder who makes the call. Why have we never, for example, got a DVD box set of Kill Bill? And why hasn’t the rest of Moral Orel been released yet? Inquiring minds want to know!

  3. I don’t dislike that I own Way of the Gun or anything, I just don’t see it as a necessity.

    The thing I find interesting isn’t just what is and isn’t on DVD (I thought of another one I want to see a DVD release for – Gabriel Over the Whitehouse), but which movies get the all out special edition Criterion treatment. It’s so frustrating that filmmakers I like a lot like Tarantino and Coen Brothers get these lackluster releases when Michael Bay gets huge 3 disc editions.

    Kill Bill is another one (er two) that I’ve been holding off on for a while. The DVD/BDs just seem to be kinda bland. I keep hering about another cut of the film (called something like “The Whole Bloody Affair”) that Tarantino wants to release, but apparently it hasn’t come out yet. I assume Tarantino just doesn’t like to do commentary for his own movies, but for crying out loud, that dude has lots of friends who could do a great job (apparently Tarantino likes to do commentary on other people’s movies – I’ve not heard it, but the commentary with Edgar Wright and Tarnatino on Hot Fuzz is supposed to be great). The Coens are a different matter. They did a commentary on The Man Who Wasn’t There, and it was great. But as far as I know, it’s the only one they’ve done (supposedly there’s a fake commentary thing going on with Blood Simple). But then, maybe I’m just a commentary snob.

  4. Yeah, I always wonder about that. QT isn’t my favorite director, but for as big a following as he has, you’d think more of his stuff would get the sort of deluxe treatments that other, complete crap, films get. Instead, nothing.

    I watch the commentary sometimes, but not frequently. The last commentary I watched was for the Invader Zim dvds (my favorite commentary tracks, by far, too. They’re hilarious).

    re: Way of the Gun–I unabashedly love that film, but I think that my enjoyment of it is a lot greater than most people’s. It was, I think, my favorite film that year. Certainly one of. I don’t even know exactly why, but I love that film. It was definitely a must-have for me. That I found it for less than $10 just made it like candy.

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