Resisting the Blu-ray
I am a movie lover, but I keep telling myself I don’t need Blu-ray to prove it.
What’s the big selling point? As my wife reminds me, I don’t have a high-def TV, so picture and sound quality aren’t my biggest concerns. There’s the argument of durability; so far, I haven’t had much problem with my DVDs, and I own so many that I haven’t come close to wearing any out.
Special features? Well, I used to be a junkie for those. I own the four-disc Extended Editions of all three of Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings films. Each of those extended movies is three-and-a-half to four hours long, and I watched them multiple times. Each of the three sets has documentaries clocking in at longer than the films. I watched all of those. I watched two of the four available commentaries on all three films. Are you totaling those hours up? I’m trying not to.
Obviously, this was all before I had kids…
The DVD Revolution
Honestly, I resisted DVDs when they first came out, too. For a while. I had quite the VHS collection. (Still do, as a matter of fact, but none of those have gotten any play time in the past decade.) What did I need DVD for? How could I justify the extra cost?
Well, when I saw my first DVD, I knew. It was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a movie so old that its digital restoration on DVD looked absolutely fantastic. I got my DVD player for Christmas in 2001, and there was no looking back. We still have a VCR in my house, but we use it strictly for recording TV shows to watch later. (Yes, I’m still firmly entrenched in the 20th century.)
As they take up much less shelf space, collecting DVDs was a no-brainer for me. And as they only get cheaper, I continue at an alarming rate. Yeah, I said “alarming”; my collection of DVDs numbers well over 500 (or, about half the films on my Flickchart). I’m trying to remember how many movies I own that I haven’t even seen for the first time yet, or even how many favorites I have in the format that I haven’t even watched since I watched them on VHS.
It’s a sickness.
I kept an eye on the Blu-ray/HD-DVD battle. Gotta tell ya, I always suspected Blu-ray would win. (Disney backed it; Blu-ray drives were included in PS3s, but HD-DVD drives had to be purchased separately for XBOX; when Warner Bros. – which had released both formats – decided to go exclusively Blu-ray, I declared it the nail in the coffin.) When victory was secured, I started salivating.
Of course, I started thinking that upgrading to Blu-ray would be great, mostly because I wouldn’t have to replace all of my DVDs. And, sooner or later, I will get that high-def TV, right?
The expense was a big stumbling block. I’d become a family man after the DVD upgrade; two – soon to be three – kids’ mouths to feed is a big deterrent to extra expenses like a TV, when the tube we’ve been using since my wife and I got married almost twelve years ago is still working just fine. (So’s that VCR, which is even older.)
But disc prices are coming down. A lot of Blu-rays (at least, ones that aren’t brand-new releases) are comparable to the prices I’ve always spent on DVDs. Player prices are coming down. I had a big plan to buy a BD player after this last Christmas; and especially when I saw one for less than 90 bucks, I thought, “I can afford that!”
“But you don’t have the TV for it.”
Thinking About It
Seriously, how much better is Blu-ray? I have watched one movie in the format. It played off of my brother-in-law’s PlayStation 3 to his giant projection TV. Hancock. Maybe not the best movie to test the waters, but it was the one Blu-ray disc he had. I dunno; didn’t look so different to me.
Some time later, we watched The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 on my brother-in-law’s LCD. (Yeah, my brother-in-law has all the toys; he makes me wish I knew more about computers.) I gotta tell you, that movie looked pretty darn good. And we were watching a standard DVD.
The picture and sound quality seem to not make enough of a difference to me; it wasn’t like the revelation I’d had watching Snow White ten years earlier.
But surely those bonus features I like so much make the difference. Especially when the studios are starting to pull crap like this:
Driving Me Nuts
I actually saw Terminator Salvation in the theater. (That’s somewhat rare for me.) As a big Terminator fan, I enjoyed it, but considered it the weakest entry in the franchise. (Yes, I’ve seen Terminator 3.) Nonetheless, I intended to purchase the film on DVD…eventually.
But then I took a look at the three versions of the discs that got released, and I was, shall we say, quite annoyed.
Here were my choices: a single-disc DVD with just the theatrical version of the movie; a two-disc DVD with the Director’s Cut and a few bonus features, the second disc being a digital copy; and a Blu-ray with both versions of the film and all the bells and whistles.
(*Insert colorful metaphors here.*)
Well, I was considering switching. I’ll wait for that one until I have Blu-ray.
“But you don’t have the TV for it.”
Gr. Well, not only that, but how often am I watching those bonus features anymore? Family man, right? I don’t have time to sit around all day watching that stuff. And truth be told, when it really comes down to it, I’d rather use my time to watch more movies.
I wound up with that bare-bones, single-disc DVD when I was able to find it pretty cheap shortly after Christmas.
My toughest personal movie battle.
Recently, I picked up Scott Pilgrim vs. the World for a decent price. And I’m ecstatic that whoever was in charge of the DVD didn’t forget to include the extra stuff. There’s plenty on this one standard-def disc to satisfy me: a trivia track, not one, but four commentaries, bloopers, a buch of deleted scenes, and several galleries. That’s pretty great in this day and age when most of the studios are starting to ignore the standard DVD buyers who still want the goodies.
And, I haven’t gotten to purchasing it yet, but I’m absolutely thrilled about the DVD release for The Social Network. I looked at it when it first came out, and it looked like the stupid single-disc version didn’t even exist. They put out a nice double DVD that appears to have every bonus feature listed on the Blu-ray. I want to officially thank whoever’s responsible for that.
I don’t care how much the studios are pushing it; I’m gonna keep telling myself I don’t need Blu-ray. There was nothing wrong with my picture and sound quality before, and while I like the extras, how many of them am I really going to watch? I know somebody’s going to fire a compelling argument at me as to why I am wrong here, but I say, keep putting out those DVDs (and don’t forget to keep a few of the goodies, please)!
Of course, in hindsight, I’m realizing that for only five bucks more, I could have bought the combo pack of Scott Pilgrim and had the Blu-ray to save for later…
It’s a sickness.
This post is part of our User Showcase series. You can find Nigel as johnmason on Flickchart. If you’re interested to submit your own story or article describing your thoughts about movies and Flickchart, read our original post for how to become a guest writer here on the Flickchart Blog.