DVD menu spoilers

This is a pretty petty rant, but just in case it’s a slow news day on QT3 I’m putting it out there.

I spun up the War of the Worlds (2005) DVD last week to watch it with my girlfriend (who hadn’t seen it), and the flashy animated introductory DVD menu shows about 10 seconds of footage from the film, almost all of it money shots of the tripods (initial emergence, attack on the ferry, etc). This really pissed me off, because they did a great job in the marketing of this film of keeping the tripods hidden so that we’d all see them for the first time when we see the film in its full context. Unless of course you’re seeing it for the first time on DVD, in which case you just had some of the best shots in the film flung at you in a half-assed montage. So much for spoiler alerts.

I wonder if I went through my DVD collection how many other examples of this I could find. I was trying to think of the worst case scenario, something like a shot of the Keyser Soze reveal or the warden ripping the poster from the wall in Tim Robbins’ cell at Shawshank being front and center in the DVD menu.

Seems like this would not be so much of a problem when older movies are re-issued, but when a new movie like War of the Worlds hits DVD, don’t the menu producers take into account that a lot of people will be seeing the film for the first time and don’t want this shit thrown at them in the menu?

The conspiracy theorist in me might say something here about film companies trying to lightly punish you for not seeing the film in the theater.

I hate DVDs that want to show me half the movie on the menu. That’s incredibly annoying.

Amen. Had the exact same reaction.

Also find it irksome when “previews” for upcoming films become a “synopsis” for the film. I skipped watching the Constant Gardner in part because I felt I had already seen it after the preview.

Inside Man, on the other hand, was handled great. The preview was basically the first 10 minutes of the film. Sets everything up well.

I can’t remember the movie, but I saw a preview just recently that was totally like that. It gave you the premise, then a capsule summary of the major plot points. At the end, I just looked at my wife and said “Well, now we don’t have to see it.” She nodded.

The Matrix DVD did that.

And yeah, the first time I saw it, ever, was on DVD. :-/

I hate DVD menus in general. Three screens of unskippable four second logo requirements, having to skip past the mandatory previews, and THEN attempting to skip the montage just to get to the damn menu itself. “This operation cannot be performed at this time.” WTF.

Similarly, I hate on shows like Battlestar Galactica or Justice League Unlimited where they show clips from the show you’re about to watch during the opening theme. Those always get skipped or fast-forwarded when possible.

Most previews do that now, don’t they? Right there, that’s the strongest possible argument for NOT seeing a movie in the theater.

War of the Worlds is sitting on my coffee table right now, gonna watch it tonight for the first time. Does the montage loop, or can I avoid seeing the tripods, etc, if I turn off my TV until it’s clearly at the menu screen for a while?

Alternatively, I suppose I could just manually jump straight to the appropriate title/chapter and start watching the movie.

Hear hear. I started shutting my eyes during BSG’s opening motage because it gave away way, way too much of the show.

I also agree with frigging DVD menus and unskippable stuff. I put Lost in Translation in the DVD player the other day, and it starts with a really long unskippable promo/previews thing. You can fast-forward through it, but still. I wish there was some good way to know whether the DVD had that on it, because I seriously would avoid buying a DVD with that crap. Charge me an extra dollar or whatever, but let me just watch the movie I want to watch.

The Sopranos DVD sets have a little text episode summary right next to the “Play Episode” button. If you’re a fast reader, it’s almost impossible to keep from skimming that thing before the episode starts. I had to start closing my eyes when starting an episode.

There’s an introductory montage, then it goes to the actual selectable menu options. I don’t think there’s anything too bad playing once the menu options are up on the screen, but there’s definitely some stuff. I would not look while all the loud intense music is playing, then hit PLAY as quickly as possible once the options are up (the music becomes softer at this point).

Yep, and the DVDs of BSG give an entire episode synopsis when you select the episode. So in the act of trying to start the episode, chances are you will absorb spoilers as well.

The HBO discs also do that stupid “synopsis” thing.

Ronald Moore loves those intro montages on BSG. He won’t get rid of them so I have to shut my eyes.

This is called “User Operation Prohibited”, or UOP. There’s a couple of software dvd players that ignore this patch. Thinking of buying one, and building an MCE box just for this thing. it’s ridiculous to buy a dvd and have to suffer through commercials.

annecdote: Was telling young cousin (16), did you know that when we were your age we didn’t have to watch half an hour in freaking commercials before the movie? if the show said 4 PM you could get there at 4:05 PM, buy the tickets, and sit down just as the previews ended?

Then her face dawns with a “Really??” which made me realize my sarcasm was wasted. She really has never watched a movie without the hour-long commercial/previews.

Closer to topic: When a movie preview shows all these “money shots” and action shots it means it’s gonna suck. If that’s as good as it gets, little 3 second clips are supposed to be the highlight of cinema, then I can safely skip it. </rant>

Based on the Oscars I’d say it isn’t a ‘theory’


Ronald Moore loves those intro montages on BSG. He won’t get rid of them so I have to shut my eyes.

Did I imagine that they took the montage away from a few episodes and then brought them back? God, I hate those drums.

Anyway(Spoilers!), the exploding ship in the 2nd or 3rd to last episode made me want to cry.

Charge me an extra dollar or whatever, but let me just watch the movie I want to watch.

No shit.

I find this happening with my PVR as well, when I fall behind on a series or look at the upcoming schedule. I’ve already got a general idea of what happens in this season of BSG even though I haven’t finished the first season DVDs yet…

One case where it helps though is in avoiding the next-week previews at the end of a show. If I’m watching it on the PVR, I’ll stop as soon as the episode is over and move on to the next show, whereas if I’m watching it as it’s being broadcast, I’ll usually leave it on that channel and wind up noticing the preview.