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Old 11-15-03, 06:33 PM   #1
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Vaporware (fluffy) extras on the increase?

I was just wondering if any of you have noticed how much less substantial the event (blockbuster) releases have become. I just picked up Terminator 3 and besides the commentaries, that second disc contains very little good information. While the visual effects tour was interesting, they breezed by some of the most important steps in creating the effect way too fast. While perhaps not as visual, the T2 Ultimate Editon contained much better extras, even if simply text based. At least the information on making the film is archived on the platter.

In Finding Nemo, the visual commentary was great but other than the cousteau featurettte, the second disc contains little information on the actual making of the film. Pixar releases used to be known for their superb attention to detail in every aspect of the movie and contained a second disc packed with such information.

Even other high profile Disney releases contain way too many useless extras like games and previews and theme park ads. These do not warrrant an extra disc, IMHO. Disney Animation used to have excellent Collectors editions (Tarzan, Emporor's New Groove, etc.). What happened?

Has hollywood, for the most part, forgotten how to make a good DVD? With the mainstream acceptance of our favorite format, do the corporate bohemeths simply want to sell us a movie with some added value material (like an enhanced CD) and have they forgotten how to cater to the film buff/collector? This excludes of course, New Lines' absolutely exhaustive LOTR EE DVDs, and the upcoming Alien Quadrilogy with 45 Hours of good bonus materials.

It sort of reminds me when CD-ROM drives became cheap and mainstream and every media company was tripping over itself to release as many discs as possible, packed (!) with useless and poor quality vaporware.

I don't like where this is going as a trend.
Old 11-15-03, 06:35 PM   #2
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Yeah, I agree sadly a lot bonus features have
become worthless fluff pieces. Many of these 2 Disc Sets! have felt like they could have been one- especially T3.
I love those real long making of docs on some of the older Universal releases- those were great! Making ofs are HBo promos now moslty......

Last edited by xfilekr; 11-16-03 at 01:02 AM.
Old 11-15-03, 07:06 PM   #3
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A lot of bonus features have always been worthless fluff pieces.
Old 11-15-03, 07:33 PM   #4
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There used to be alot more great things to go along with the fluff though. Now there are TV commercials and stuff that have to be done, and it's cheaper and more space efficent to have 5 hours of extras if those extras are fluff.
Old 11-15-03, 08:08 PM   #5
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I strongly agree with every point you make in your post. I actually passed on buying NEMO (the first animated or pixar disney dvd i passed on) and just borrowed it from my neighbor, because of the crappy features.

And remember the Miyazaki releases, Spirited Away etc? They were by far the worst 2 disc editions ever produced in the history of DIsney, or for that matter, the entire dvd industry.

The main dvd production houses for the majors seem to have arrived at a glossy formula for putting flashy menus and intro titles and bullet points on packaging, but once the buyer brings the item home, they find there is no 'there' there.

But perhaps I am even more extreme in the other direction. I am one of the few people who wouldv'e appreciated even more info on LOTR:FOTR EE! I thought they could've spent more than 30 or 45 minutes on the bigatures and the digital effects.

I think digital effects is the one segment that dvd producers have the hardest time documenting in an engaging way -- it can be very interesting, but sometimes, even if there is a long docu on the subject, they end up being too simplistic, or as you said before, skipping over important steps (or just using talking head interviews, instead of demos). At least what LOTR had was extremely well produced.
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Old 11-15-03, 08:38 PM   #6
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It amazes me that anyone would not buy a movie they like/want to own just because of it's "lack" of features. I was always under the impression that it was the movie that mattered.
Can someone explain to me why "movie fans" on the Internet seem to hate every movie they see?
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Old 11-15-03, 09:34 PM   #7
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Originally posted by pdjennings
It amazes me that anyone would not buy a movie they like/want to own just because of it's "lack" of features. I was always under the impression that it was the movie that mattered.
we agree on this pdj. although we have different tastes....we are collectors of our fav films. I take what I get with extras...very little complaints. I feel lucky just to have the film in my library...which is the whole point in having a library. I never judge a dvd by lack of features....crazy talk. gee....Dragonslayer has no features. I think I'll leave it out of my collection.
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Old 11-15-03, 09:40 PM   #8
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They were by far the worst 2 disc editions ever produced in the history of DIsney, or for that matter, the entire dvd industry.
The two-disc "special edition" of Bad Taste tops that easily. I'm sure there's plenty of others.
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Old 11-15-03, 09:45 PM   #9
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Originally posted by gutwrencher
Dragonslayer has no features. I think I'll leave it out of my collection.
True enough . . . you couldn't have paid me to keep Dragonslayer out of my collection. At the same time, it could have had some awesome extras come along with it, that I would have preferred to have.

I guess the thing that I am wondering about all of this is that, in addition to the "fluff" extras (although I like a lot of the documentaries), a lot of these DVD's still have empty space on the discs. So, what is going to be the point of having the new format DVD's with more storage space? Many DVD's don't use what they have now. It'll be nice to have things like the LOTR movies not needing to have the disc change in the middle, but those exceptions are few and far between.
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Old 11-16-03, 12:55 AM   #10
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I strongly agree also. The Microsoft Bloat is coming to DVDs, folks! Give us all of those "fluff" extras because more is always better, right? And cram as much as possible into one DVD, and compromise the quality of the movie while you're at it.

I think many of us would prefer blockbuster releases with just a couple of worthwhile extras (commentary, trailer, and perhaps one quality docu. on the making of the film).

Per my recent post on DVD undersizing and compression quality issues, give more space to the main movie and eliminate the fluff, please!
Old 11-16-03, 02:33 AM   #11
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You know, if they'd just leave the damned movie off the DVD there would be a whole lot more room for special features! Would that make you happy, Pasolini?
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Old 11-16-03, 04:24 AM   #12
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Originally posted by Mr. Salty
You know, if they'd just leave the damned movie off the DVD there would be a whole lot more room for special features! Would that make you happy, Pasolini?
good god, the animosity towards my post surprises me and seems to be a bit ugly! I wasn't even the originator of this thread - why attack my post? Special features have been around for dozens of years - and are on almost every disc produced in one form or another. Why do you act like it is some sort of unrealistic demand to want good features??

First of all, I love Dragonslayer I own it. I picked it up for a few dollars used a couple weeks before street date, somehow. I'd love it even more if it wasn't bare-bones, but what can I do - its paramount after all. At least they are consistent!

But I knew and loved that film, so I know I will re-watch it. Perhaps I should've clarified that I hadn't seen Finding Nemo before, so it would have been a blind buy for me otherwise. Then I read about the lack of features on the review sites, so I decided to borrow it. Since I can do so again next time i want to see the movie, I decided not to buy it (or at least to wait a couple months 'til i can buy it used for almost nothing). Since I don't have kids, Disney animated movies are more interesting to me via the adult behind-the-scenes stuff, rather than watching them over and over and over again, or the kids' games.

You know, almost every big movie (and a multitude of smaller ones) have had excellent features. You guys act like it is some weird abberation that a few people are obsessed with. Obviously, the studios keep producing dvds with more and more features (or more and more 'pretend' features, as the original poster of this thread was getting at), someone out there likes them too, other than me.

For me, special features were the main reason I started collecting dvds, and have over 1300 of them. It was the initial thing that separated them from vhs, or watching them on tv (i didn't have laser disc, nor did i have a big screen tv or surround sound, so i didn't appreciate those aspects until later). I will always do a blind purchase on a well-respected movie if it has excellent features, while I usually save 'movie-only' blind buys for rentals. Even if the movie is just 'ok', I can be entertained by the features. However, with a rental, I don't usually have time to watch all the features in a few days - so hence the reason I purchase.

With LOTR:EE discs, the entire raison d'etre is special features! Special extended cut (a special feature) plus two discs of features. So, yes, in that case, i was happy that they left the 'damned movie' off and only put special features, technically! But i actually have bought other dvds that are only 'special features': Document of the Dead (a docu on the Dawn of the Dead) and the Matrix Revisited.

Plus there are many other films that are re-issued as special feature discs (or were issued concurrently at a higher price), that many of us have upgraded to buy (yes, some of these were also upgraded video too, but the studio went to the sometimes great expense to produce and compile many excellent special features): Star Trek II, Star Trek III, Star Trek IV, Star Trek V, Star Trek VI, Speed, Stargate, West Side Story, Casablanca, Singin in the Rain, Amadeus, Right Stuff, Fargo, all the Bond movies, Traffic, Rushmore, The Rock, Armageddon, Dances with Wolves, the Abyss, Re-Animator, Back to the Future, DUne (the tv show), The Howling, American Werewolf in London, Almost Famous, Die Hard I, Die Hard 2, Die Hard 3, Animal House, Fatal Attraction, The Fugitive, Gone with the WInd, IN the LIne of Fire, Resovior Dogs, Jerry McGuire, Jumanji, Professional, Mask of Zorro, Memento, Monty Python- Holy Grail, Monty Python Meaning of Life, The Mummy, One Flew over Cuckoo's Nest, Pearl Harbor, Pulp Fiction, Rambo movies, Reindeer Games, Exorcist, Four Feathers, Road Warrior, Terminator, Terminator 2, Patriot Games, Clear & Present Danger, Hunt for Red October, Seven, Sixth Sense, Sneakers, many of the Oliver Stone Collection movies, Taxi Driver, Tombstone, Young Guns, True Romance, Unforgiven, Usual Suspects, Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Evil Dead 2, Day of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead (someday), Halloween, Interview with a Vampire, Twister, Lord of the Rings 1,2,3 EE, Mad Max, Princess Bride, Some Like it Hot, Supergirl, Total Recall, Tron, X-Men 1.5, Dead Ringers CC, Robocop CC, Brazil CC, Charade CC, 39 Steps CC, Lady Vanishes CC, Life of Brian CC, The Blob CC, Do the Right THing CC, Spartacus CC, Down by Law CC, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas CC, Beatles' Hard Days Night, THe Grinch, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Strictly Ballroom, Romeo & Juliet, that talking/ singing plant movie that i can't remember the name of, Wizard of Oz, Dinosaur, Tarzan, Heathers, AKira, Suspiria, Opera, and those are only the ones that I own and can remember!!

Many of these re-issue discs have been among some of the most anticipated releases, and the greatest best-sellers of their time. So someone out there cares about special features (and of course better video and sound, in some cases), other than me.

If you don't care about special features, did you not upgrade (or wait to buy) one single one of these discs when the more feature-laden version came out?? (other than the anamorphically-improved ones).
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Last edited by Pasolini; 11-16-03 at 04:30 AM.
Old 11-16-03, 04:34 AM   #13
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Most big budget new releases cost the same whether they are one disk or two (in fact, I pay less new for a lot of two disk sets since they are the big budget, highly marketed movies), so the second disk is really just a marketing tool (2 DISK SET!). I think it would be reasonable to charge more for a second disk if it really had good stuff on it (but just because it is reasonable, doesn't mean I want it to happen).
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Old 11-16-03, 10:19 AM   #14
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To build on Ginwen's point - I think a lot of us are just getting harder to please, also. Those of us who appreciate extras have already seen great documentaries on effects and a film's making on excellent discs, so it becomes harder and harder for studios to top the previous releases with newer releases. I don't expect a Bad Taste-level documentary on a four-month-release-window DVD. Some of the two-discers actually have great stuff on them that new-to-DVD fans or fans of just that movie will definitely appreciate, but to us, it's nothing we haven't all seen before.
Old 11-16-03, 10:49 AM   #15
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Disney has mastered the art of including pointless, fluffy special features like 3-minute documentaries and dumb games...
On the other hand, projects like the LOTR EEs and the Alien set appear to include the best and most in-depth bonus features ever created, so I am not sure if there is a clear trend.
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