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1997-1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002+

Give Me the DVD!

"Let's not and say we did." My mother used to throw that at me every time I wanted to do something or buy something really neat. And I grew to really hate hearing that, especially when it concerned the purchase of more Star Wars figures. But now, I've found a good use for it. "Wait for Star Wars on DVD? Let's not and say we did."

I read the editorial by Chris Knight on Jan 4, 2001 about entering the world of DVD and was at first excited. A member of theforce.net staff (finally) getting into the DVD game! But then he starts talking about all the cool stuff one can get on DVD, like on the Matrix, with it's "follow the white rabbit" nonsense.

I don't know if he remembers, but when the Matrix DVD first came out, all that added stuff only added problems on many people's players, not to mention you can't even watch the trailer except on DVDRom! On the other hand, I don't think I've heard one complaint about somebody's barebones DVD of say, Spaceballs, locking up or glitching out. But they are happy that it's out. And it does have a commentary with Mel Brooks to boot. But it doesn't have any "follow the brown mawg" features or useless DVD-Rom material to bog it down.

Now I'll be honest, I think some extra features are pretty neat. And when I go to buy DVDs, if there are two editions, I buy the better, cause there's no sense buying a Metro if the Corvette is only a dollar more (so to speak). A Bug's Life CE, Toy Story Ultimate Toy Box, Men in Black LE; all super packed editions. But the thing to remember is, these were all movies I liked in the first place, the extras are just, well, extra goodies.

But on the other hand, I have many DVDs of movies that I love that are just the movie and maybe a fluff-piece or behind the scenes. The Star Trek movies come to mind, they were my initial reason to get into DVD (I had done my homework and knew it was going to be a cold day in you-know- where before we saw our favorite trilogy on DVD). I saw that they wouldn't degrade like tape and the no rewinding was cool; when I saw the picture clarity and sound, it was like gravy. Good stuff for sure, but not a life or death matter. In fact, the Trek DVDs are barebones, but they are letterboxed with good sound and I don't have to worry about my DVD player stretching the tape or eating them. That's what makes me different than the person that will see the DVD release of their favorite movie at the store, and then not get it because the studio didn't use a time machine to get a commentary from the director who's been dead for ten years. What's that saying about cutting off the nose to spite the face?

So what am I getting at? As much as I love Star Wars ( I have since childhood, I was 3 in 77, I grew up with Star Wars), the thing I love the most is the movies. Yeah, I've got some of the tech manuals and seen the making-of specials on the Discovery Channel, but they're interesting once or twice. But, how many times do you watch the movie? I couldn't begin to count the number of times I've seen Star Wars. I was at the point growing up that I could do the dialogue of the trilogy almost spot on. Annoyed my folks to no end. And I'll admit I've even got the letterbox box set that came with the From Star Wars to Jedi tape and I have watched that a couple times, because it is interesting. About once a year, as opposed to the movies, which get watched many times a year. Here's the deal: I would really like a barebones edition of the Star Wars trilogy now. Widescreen, Surround Sound, maybe a few trailers even. How about a packed collector's edition down the road? If' I'm still a SW junkie then, I'll probably get it. But if it were to never come out? Wouldn't bother me that much. As long as I can put a shiny disc in and see Obi-Wan offer advice, Anakin yell "Yippee!" or Luke whine about power convertors, I'll be happy.

I'd also like to point out another angle on this issue: I have read complaints from some people that actually don't want the extra stuff on a DVD, ever, and wonder why they can't just buy a cheaper movie only version. And not just as a stopgap either. They don't want the extras spoiling the magic, and they don't think they should have to pay more for stuff they don't want.

And for Mr. Knight's first issue, why the heck is recording so important to people?! CD recorders weren't affordable for fifteen years after the introduction of the format and that didn't stop people from buying CDs. You don't have to throw out your VCR, in fact, I've still got mine, it's just not used as much as the DVD player. There are plenty of people that have massive movie collections on DVD, Laserdisc and VHS. They don't abandon one like an old girlfriend for a new fling, they bring it into the circle, enjoying them all. OK, maybe that's not the best example, but the point is, if you want to record General Hospital or the Cubbies losing again, keep the VCR. But if you want to watch high quality movies on a non-degrading format, the answer is DVD.

Oh, and as for VCR's being a faithful 20 year-old gadget, I guess so, as long as you regularly feed it a tape J

Guest Editorial by Scott Samons
Email the Force.Net staff:
January 7th, 2001

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