dalekboy (dalekboy) wrote,

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100 days of Love and Hate - Day 42

Douglas Adams
I'm not going to write too much here. There are many people who know more about the man and his work than I. I just know that everything of his that I read, heard and watched (I don't have copies of any of the computer games that he was a part of), I enjoyed on multiple levels.

I admired his ability to put a sentence together, the way he played with words was sometimes exquisite. I enjoyed his humour, which ran the gambit from wacky and stupid, all the way through to subtle and satirical, sometimes in the same sequence. I loved the intelligence of his writing, the layering of ideas, his use of science both made-up and real, the way he usually offered explanations that were simple, but didn't talk down.

That he died of a heart attack while working out in a gym, measures up to the kind of dark irony that sometimes pervaded his work. There's a part of me that hopes, when it was all over, that he appreciated this.

He is sadly missed.

DVD releases
Kind of appropriate, given I'm talking about Adams as well, since every version of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy is different to every other version. However what I'm talking about with regards to DVD releases comes from the cynical abuse of the buying public, not creative license.

Multiple versions of the same film. Now I have no problem with the concept in theory - allowing those people who aren't interested in extras to buy a bog standard version of the film makes sense. Those of us who want an extra discs worth of stuff, can pay a few dollars more for them. That's okay.

It's when they don't tell us there are going to be two (or more) versions. It's when, six months later they release one with more on it. It's about the 'Lost Disc' on Pirates of the Caribbean, three different releases of The Mummy in 18 months. It's about taking the buying public and abusing them to make a buck.

Now The Mummy is a case in point. It got released in a standard edition. Then a short while a later in a Deluxe Collectors Edition, which was the one I bought. Then a while after that, came the Ultimate Edition. Now if the Ultimate Edition had been released two or three years after the Deluxe, I would have no complaints. That far down the track, it's practically a new product. But as a film buff, I had no reason to expect that the Deluxe Collector's Edition would be superseded within 12 months.

Pirates of the Caribbean is a much more blatant attempt to rip off the fans of the film. 6 Months after Pirates had been released in a two disc version, they brought out the 'Lost Disc' version, with an extra disc of... er... extras. DVD was still relatively new in '99. You couldn't be sure what the take up of discs with extras was going to be, so I'm willing to give the Mummy a little leeway. But by the time of Pirates, they knew.

It was a huge hit film. The DVD release was going to be huge as well. These days the extras are a given, many movie shoots having a crew running around filming the making of specifically for the extras. The 'Lost Disc' isn't a situation where they suddenly discover that the film is doing well on DVD, let's do a more complete version. The 'Lost Disc' is the companies choosing to hold back on it so the collectors will buy their two disc versions first, then buy the new one.

And the companies complain that people download or burn illegal copies.

If I had known, if it had been stated, that there would be three versions of PotC, I would have waited. But no, as it is, at some point when I can be bothered, I will rent the 'Lost Disc' and burn a copy. I feel perfectly justified in this. Treat me with respect and I will treat you with respect. Try to rip me off, and I won't.

Peter Jackson treated fans of Lord of the Rings with respect. It was announced well ahead of time that there would be the various releases and versions. You could choose to hold out for the yummy ones.

For the record, I don't have any issues with recent re-releases of Fifth Element and the Clint Eastwood 'Dollars' trilogy - Fistful of Dollars, Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - those films have been available for ages. The new versions are effectively a new product. The companies didn't say 'let's hold off five years and then put out the extras', much of this material was collected in the intervening time.

So, when I have the cash, I will happily buy the new versions.

But if the companies want to make a start on dealing effectively with the people downloading and making illegal copies, the first thing they need to do is treat us, the buying public, with a little respect.
Tags: books, love & hate, movies, videos/dvds
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