DVD extras

There’s good commentary and then there’s all the other commentaries and unfortunately the vast majority are those others. I’m sure the director of Torque had a lot to say, but no one really needs to hear it. Still, the Pixar movies often have good commentary. Especially the deluxe commentaries where they break up the movie to show mini-documentaries about the production of the film. The Kevin Smith movies have all had commentaries often funnier than the movie (especially Mallrats, where a good portion of it is spent making fun of Jeremy London and Kevin Smith announces that DVD will never overtake Laserdisc) and of course Fight Club’s commentary track made me fall in love with Brad Pitt, Ed Norton and David Fincher. The Zodiac commentary with James Ellroy is fantastic, if a little weird. He didn’t have anything to do with the movie, after all, and he hasn’t written any books on the Zodiac killer. I kind of wonder if it was just because Fincher was originally doing Black Dahlia and they became friends before that fell through.

I wouldn’t mind seeing all crappy commentaries replaced with Doug Benson and friends doing the commentary. Especially for godawful movies. (Like, say, Torque.)

I generally like deleted scenes. As much as people dismiss them as ‘that was deleted for a reason’, they’re just as often good scenes that just got cut for time. Hell, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets would have been a far, far better film with half of those scenes restored to the film. Other movies like Keeping the Faith or Galaxy Quest have deleted scenes with gags as good as anything in the film.

Alternate endings don’t generally interest me that much. Though if you want to see a real stinker, the alternate beginning for Mallrats is worth a watch.

Unless I love the movie or have heard crazy things about the behind-the-scenes, I’m not usually all that interested.

Special packaging? Ugh. I’m sure someone loves their Target edition of Transformers that was actually a DVD case that could turn into Optimus Prime, but I’ll pass. As for tchotchkes, that’s usually why I’ll get SE versions of games, but they’re usually pretty lame for movies. That said, I do still have a Usual Suspects Zippo and a Nails Cigarettes Zippo from Dogma. So sometimes I can be suckered in.

Guilty. ;)

Galaxy Quest also has a Thermian audio track, which is just the actors inhaling their lines instead of exhaling them, or at least appears to be mostly this. I’ve never made it more than half an hour into that.

And of course, once you finish watching the movie, you can activate the Omega 13 on the DVD menu, which… well, let’s just say it’s my favorite menu gag ever.

I generally like commentaries most, but Bahimiron is right that most suck. Some good ones:

This is Spinal Tap: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer do a mock-review in character as though it were a real documentary, with the angle that Marty DiBergi really screwed them in his portrayal.

Almost Famous: Cameron Crowe is there with a troupe of crewmembers, and his real life mother. Who is hilarious, and says stuff like “You had Frances McDormand in bare feet there. I never go barefoot around the house, I think it’s disgusting”. Also, cue uncomfortable laughs from Crowe during the scene were the kid loses his virginity. It’s also cool to hear a ton of rock history from Crowe, and some of his real-life adventures that the movie was based on.

My Basic Instinct DVD has a commentary by Camille Paglia for a “feminist” analysis of the movie (spoiler: she liked it). You can tell she’s reading off notes, but it was still quite interesting.

Good commentary is always the best, but the problem is it’s so often dull as dishwater that it’s rare I can bring myself to find out if this time it’s a gem.

The one must-have extra on any BD (or DVD, if you will) for me is the behind-the-scenes making-of documentary (and not one that’s simply promotional or back-patting). I attempted to view a couple of movies in my collection with the commentary but I end up wanting to watch the movie and find the commentary distracting instead; as a result, I never bother with the commentaries.

I watch most/all of the extras on every movie (or tv show) I buy. It’s one of the reasons I tend to avoid the bare-bones releases that Alliance is notorious for on BDs in Canada. Even mediocre movies can have extras that are worth watching if you like the art of film-making.

This reminds me my 8 1/2 DVD got messed up. It was working fine when I first purchased it but now it won’t play - the second disc seems fine though so I should definitely check that Nino Rota documentary (loved his scores) which I never did watch.

Criterion has had some great releases over the years but after about 9 purchases I just couldn’t keep paying $35 to $50 for their collections. Some full priced special or collector’s editions from other studios are just as feature packed and half the price or less.

Still, they’re pretty awesome for releasing films we wouldn’t get DVD versions of otherwise.

Anyway, “making of” documentaries are the only extras I usually check out. Not a fan of director’s commentaries or deleted scenes, so that’s where my vote is going.

Oh wait! The commentary track for Monty Python’s Life Of Brian was great (Criterion version).

I’m also a sucker for cool packaging/artwork I guess.

i liked the star trek packaging that was a model of the enterprise with the blu-rays in the saucer section.

the commentaries for seven samurai was awesome. the guy was a film historian, so he goes into detail on everything: actors, director, history, film shots, editing, setting, theme, characters, plot, film box office performance/reception, funding etc.

Having watched some Pixar Blu-Rays recently, the absolute highlight in the extras has got to be their Studio Stories. Charmingly animated little vignettes about life working at Pixar. They pretty much have me ready to up and move to Emeryville.

Funnily enough, The Fast and the Furious had a pretty good director commentary. A shocking amount of thought went into making that solid, but dumb movie (the proof of which is how bad all the sequels have been by comparison).

But yeah, most of everything is crap, but a good commentary track or (more rarely) a good “making of” can be as good as the movie itself.

Deleted scenes were 99.999999 percent of the time deleted for a good reason. Alternate endings are either useless or they make me angry.

Don’t care about packaging at all.

Other than the very rare exception (Lord of the Rings trilogy, some Monty Python movies) I’ve found DVD extras to be tedious, obvious fillers. They certainly wouldn’t be a factor motivating my purchase, especially since I find maybe one in 100 movies worth owning.

IMDB lists around 480k titles, so you must have a hell of a collection!