Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Deep Blu

I'm in deep. Deep into Blu-ray, that is.

I've been resisting the format for quite some time, but finally caved upon viewing the cover for the Blu-ray edition of Peter Yates' THE DEEP.

THE DEEP is a favorite of mine, since I'm already obsessed with JAWS and this was the second Peter Benchley novel to be adapted to film. Oh, and that Jacqueline Bisset scene... you know the one.

Anyhow, I've owned it on VHS and DVD, but was shocked to see that the Blu-ray contained two sought out special features (the DVD and earlier Laserdisc had absolutely nothing): The CBS network special, THE MAKING OF THE DEEP (hosted by Robert Shaw) and select scenes from the 3-Hour television version. WHAT?! I must see these extras! So, the next step was purchasing a player and I went on the cheap with the $78 Magnavox bare-bones player at Wal-Mart. BD players don't get any cheaper and, for what it's worth, this is an exceptional player. The downfall is that it isn't BD Live enabled, but at this point, I don't care about that.

Happy to say that the extras on THE DEEP were well worth it, for me anyway. Although, there still is no theatrical trailer available and it would be nice to have the option to incorporate the televised scenes into the theatrical cut. These scenes are great, especially the prologue (featuring Cameron Mitchell!) and they add to the story.

So, now I was truly curious as to what other obscure films were floating around on BD with such rare features. As of yet, I haven't discovered a film to rival THE DEEP in this arena. Most films contain the same extras as their DVD counterparts. But, I've since discovered that there are quite a few exceptions to this rule. If BD is the superior format, why don't most companies do a better job in rivaling the extras of the earlier DVD? Makes no sense that films like THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, CARRIE, COMMANDO, THE GRADUATE, TOTAL RECALL and countless others don't live up to this. ROBOCOP has been issued twice on BD, but both versions are the 'R' rated release. Why would I want that? Oh, and thanks to Fox for retaining all the special features for PREDATOR 2, but none of which, aside from the trailer, for the original PREDATOR. That makes a lot of sense. People do care more about the sequel. (Insert fart sound here.)

I agree that BD is amazing, but studios need to live up to the format's potential. For the most part, I'm only purchasing titles that have the same extras, if not more, and still holding on to my DVDs. For the undemanding, in terms of extra content, BD might be the right choice, but I want those special features that I'm used to. Why downgrade, when we should be upgrading?

I like the idea of former 2-disc DVD releases fitting onto a single Blu-ray disc. (A great example is the release for DONNIE DARKO, which incorporates both prior DVD releases onto one disc, and retains the supplemental content of both.)

As much as I am impressed, I know that the completist in me will always have DVD.


DeanM said...

Maybe it is because the primary audience for BD gives not two fukks for extras. In fact, standard-def extras are hated by people who know what they are really doing with their home video setup. For the same reason theatres do not protect 8mm prints.

So your question "Why downgrade, when we should be upgrading?" is heinously wrong. 1080P video and lossless audio are upgrades. SD extras are not. Moreover, they are a complete waste of disc space that could be put to better use, such as preserving the quality of the main feature or the aforementioned lossless audio.

Please, in future, consult a real home theatre enthusiast before you go making it more difficult for us to make the studios aware of what we have a right to expect.

Nathan Martin said...

As mentioned, I am new to the format, so I appreciate your all-knowing attack.

My argument of "downgrading" was one of consistency in terms of supplemental material being provided, not in terms of feature quality (which I do realize is compromised when the disc contains additional features). I have no problem with sticking to a feature-only representation. My problem lies with the inconsistency from the studios on this matter (as I mentioned with PREDATOR and PREDATOR 2). Again, for the definitive viewing experience, I would purchase these films on BD and keep the DVD editions for the extra content.

Perhaps, you would agree that there would be nothing wrong with a 2-disc edition of a title; the feature on the first disc (with no A/V compromise) and the second disc reserved for supplemental material, whether SD or HD.

But, then again, I give "two fukks" what you think.