The Illusion of Trying
The DVD and home theater communities are abuzz with the recent announcement by Miramax COO Rick Sands that Kill Bill will have no less than six DVD releases: Volume 1, Volume 2, Special Editions of each, a combined box set, and the Tarantino box set. When Sands gleefully announced this last Tuesday, the DVD community was irked - why can't they just give us one version, the best version, the first time?
The truth is, studios have been doing this since before DVD - heck, since before Laserdisc. Army of Darkness has had no less than eight releases in the US alone; many other films, like Men in Black, have three or four. Studios are re-releasing films that came out on DVD in the format's infancy, like The Fugitive, and spending time to restore the transfer so it looks better on a home theater system. In truth, I own two different versions of some movies that I really enjoy, like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. If a re-release has a cleaner transfer of the film, one that will look better on my TV, I'll get it. In fact, I planned ahead for that.
I've refused to buy into the eight versions of Army of Darkness, but I believe that I am the exception to the rule. The reason Sands had the balls to make that announcement is that he knows people will still buy it anyway, because they've been buying it anyway up until this point. If it wasn't profitable to have eight versions of AoD and four of MiB, the studios wouldn't have made them. And we're not talking about a remaster, we're talking about out-and-out greed. So why can Sands be so nonchalant about it? Because he can. Because people will still shell out for it - after all, they've been doing it for years.
Not to get too ranty about this, but I honestly think this is a major problem with American society. We see things we don't like, but we don't often say or do anything about it, so long as no one's calling attention to it. If there's a guy shouting on the subway, we look the other way. If a politician is obviously being corrupt, unless there's some kind of specific probe into it or a news story covering it, we look the other way. And now, the politicians and the studios and whoever else is out there have figured out that they can get away with just about anything. Hell, they can be obvious about it, because they know, historically, that people are still going to buy - or at least look the other way.
So, go take your soma, because everything is OK. Really. They've been doing this for years, nothing to worry about.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
The Illusion of Trying