Boiling Point

I’ve got a bit of an obsessive compulsive issue when it comes to DVDs and Blu-rays. I’m one of those suckers who will get caught every so often in a double-dip if I’m not paying attention. If I am being observant, I’m the guy who waits four extra months to get a disc with some special features attached. I really dug Transformers 3 and wanted to watch it again, but I’ll be damned if I was going to buy a disc with no extras on it!

The issue that has my panties all aflame this week is all about special features and the lack thereof. Oh, most discs today come with some special features on them, but the “featurette” has become the bane of my existence. It used to just be what they called small extras on the disc, but now they’ve really emphasized the -ette, meaning mini, small, or useless.

I recently popped in The Thing (2011) for a viewing. I enjoyed the movie, mostly because of the grotesque creature designs and my undying love for Carpenter’s film. So, enjoying the movie, I was pretty excited to revisit and take a look at some of the special features. There were two “featurettes” included, The Thing Evolves and Fire & Ice. 

The latter feature came first for me, because I do what I want, and let me tell you it was an interesting four minutes (and by that I mean it was a short four minutes). The Thing Evolves was actually pretty decent, closer to fourteen or fifteen minutes, but why even have Fire & Ice as a separate feature? When it’s that short, just push them together and make a cool 20 minute little feature.

There is a lot of this going around, you get a disc and read the back of the packaging and think you’re in for a treat because there are like 10 featurettes listed! Cool! Wait, why are they only ninety seconds long? This is bullshit!

If you have ten 90 second little pieces of shit, that’s 900 seconds. Divide by 60, carry the one, type it into a calculator and that equals 15 minutes. Oh, hey, that’s the size of one cool feature – so again, why are we dividing this into a dozen small sections that I have to keep picking up my remote and hitting “Play” to move on to the next one for? Advertising I guess? For show? To make the back of the package look stacked? Fuck. Makes no sense!

At least those discs have some special features, I just have to use this short paragraph to give the middle finger to discs that are “rushed” to press because people “demand” to see the film again sooner rather than later (Fuck you, James Cameron, Avatar sucked). Put some features on the discs. There is a lot of space there. Use it. Releasing a bare bones disc has become common place, and I want to partly blame Netflix and Redbox and similar services, since those rental copies generally don’t include features. So, since the company is already pressing rental discs, why not try to trick a few consumers into buying a shitty release?

On the subject of special features, let me tell you which ones aren’t special at all: U-Control, BD Live, pocket BLU and anything like that. Pocket BLU is neat because you can unlock content, but that content is often stored on the disc anyways, or just some shitty trailers. Those ‘special features’ all assume for some reason I want to play with my iPhone during the movie or get live weather updates while staring at the menu. No thanks. D-BOX motion doesn’t really shake me up either, who has a fucking D-BOX chair in their house?

Trailers for other movies and photo galleries aren’t shit either. What’s so special about that? You already gave me the option to watch trailers when the disc was first inserted, I’m not going to go back and look at them from the special features menu, especially when I have an internet connection and can call up any trailer on demand at any time. Pretty much the same goes for photo galleries – I have the internet for that, plus I have the movie to watch so I probably just saw all those photos, but as moving pictures.

Don’t get me wrong, a photo gallery of behind the scenes stuff might be neat, as long as it’s part of a bigger collection of special features. When it’s listed on the box as a selling point, you know you’re about to get a shitty set of extras.

What is cool? Making-of featurettes, commentary, deleted and extended scenes, stunt featurettes, documentary stuff. All of that is cool. We like those. Especially if they have some meat to them and aren’t some 90 second internet released piece of shit that you sent out to all the websites two months in advance as advertising. We want original content with some thought behind it. Put the special in special features, not the “special.” (Confused? Read this)

In summation, most discs today are coming equipped with ‘full special’ (that is to say, retarded) special features. They’re either short and disjointed or absent all together and let me tell you, when I come across a movie I enjoy and I want to further experience, this lack of depth in the ‘special’ features pushes me past my boiling point.

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