REALLY buying discs for supplements

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jamie Cole, Dec 31, 2001.

  1. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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    For people who love films, it's a great time to be alive... I've bought more than 200 DVDs in 2001 and have started to see an interesting trend in my buying habits...

    I can name several discs I've picked up in the last year that I really did buy JUST for the supplements. We're given more access to the world of filmmaking than ever before, what with all the great documentaries and supplemental material out there. Some say (and I understand the sentiment) that this diminishes the "magic" of the movies themselves, but I love getting inside the filmmaker's mind and seeing their motivations and methods.

    For instance, I can't watch "The Exorcist," often; in fact, I may never watch it again. But I love the DVD for the excellent doc, "Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist," which I can watch again and again.

    As much as I love "Magnolia," I just can't always find three plus hours to watch the movie. But the most excellent documentary on the DVD is watchable again and again, as well.

    Same for "Carrie," "Dressed to Kill," "The Abyss," and "Phantom Menace" (something about Lucas and Speilberg looking at that droid and acting like kids in a toy store just makes me smile).

    Anyway, just wondered if anyone else feels this way, and has recommendations for other discs that offer that kind of insight into filmmaking.
     
  2. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    Personally, buying DVD's is all about the movies themselves for me. Sure, special features are great, but I don't really care to watch documentaries, listen to commenteries, etc., about a film I don't really like. For me, the most important thing is that my favorite movies are given good audio and video transfers and in their OAR. Extras are great, but they won't make me not purchase a disc if I absolutely love the movie.
     
  3. Tom-G

    Tom-G Screenwriter

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    I can't recall ever purchasing a DVD strictly for the supplements. Like Andrew, I care more about the presentation of the movie. There are some films which contain supplements I love and add to the joy of owning on DVD--releases like T2, The Phantom Menace and Fight Club.
     
  4. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I do like extras, but I'm getting tired of fluffy EPKs and f/x documentaries. I've seen all that before. What I like are supplements that really enhance the movie. I love a good commentary. For instance, Rogert Ebert's two commentaries were informative and never boring. I wish he'd do more of them. A good documentary is a definite plus. One example: the gladiator doc on the Gladiator disc which was more entertaining than the movie itself! Trailers are a must and I wish studios would pay more attention to them as far as presentation. I also like well-written biographies and filmographies - it's nice to have that information right there.
     
  5. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    With few exceptions, I rarely revisit the "extras". Once I've heard the director's commentary (if I'm able to sit through it without dozing off), that's it! I loathe f/x "how we did it" background stuff. I don't want to know how they did it, it takes away the magic.
    First and foremost, it's the film and only the film in it's best possible presentation. I'm fond of trailers but I think I could live without the rest.
     
  6. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

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    I have to agree with Andrew. It's all about the movie.

    Jon
     
  7. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    (Takes a breath, says a prayer, and enters the minefield)

    I like both the movie and the extras. The movie because it's exciting to revisit, and the extras because I like to visit what goes on behind the scenes, on the cutting room floor, and in the corridors of entertainment superpowers. Some discs I own are bare-bones ("Crimes Of Passion", first pressing, as an example. The disc is as naked as Kathleen Turner gets in that film, but it's unrated and in 1:85:1 anamorphic, so it's okay. JI might get next year's re-release, though). Other times, they're stuffed to the gills. Then there are some I wish will be stuffed but they won't (a lot of Touchstone titles next year, for example. I hope they at least do 'em in OAR. That will justify a purchase). I'll buy the Touchstone titles bare-bones if it's in OAR and can help foster interest in SEs ("Ruthless People" must be in OAR. If not, forget my purchase!)

    So, I love both. Give me OAR and some extras, even if it's just a trailer, and I'll be a happy man.

    Sincerely,

    John "Miffed that 'Moonstruck' is only in full-screen, and wants an OAR re-release" Kilduff
     
  8. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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    One of my favorite extras is on the special edition of Se7en, where the telecine operator shows how he tweaks the color balance of a scene. I found this absolutely fascinating, and it made a great DVD even better.
     
  9. Doug Pyle

    Doug Pyle Second Unit

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    My first priority is always the film - OAR, quality transfer & sound, etc. Still, there are several DVDs I own that I'd have passed over if not for the great extras.
    I held off on both Terminator DVDs until I had heard so much about the extras that I caved in and got both. Turned out the films were better than I'd remembered too!
    Same goes for The Abyss.
    The commentaries on Apollo 13 & the SFX insights into both Matrix and Men In Black tipped the scales in favor of those.
    If it weren't for R.E.'s praise of HTF's DVD of the Year, I would not have picked up Moulan Rouge (which I was not interested in; but again, pleasantly surprised by the film, which was not at all like the trailers & talk-show clips portray it).
    I never got the bare-bones Brazil even though it is one of my favorite films. I held out for Gilliam's version to be released, and I would have taken it sans features. Criterion's Brazil is among the best ever for intelligent & informative extras (including the "Battle of Brazil" doc and the "Love Conquers All" studio hatchet job, with commentary to point out exactly how messed up that studio version was).
    The list of films I bought bare-bones because I love the film is longer than so-so films I bought for the great features. Still, I do appreciate insightful extras (not PR fluff), and that can make the difference in a close call.
     
  10. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    If its a great film that is presented properly, no need for extras as the film will sell itself. Great film, great extras, a real no brainer. So so film with great extras, that may tip the balance for the purchase. Stinker with great extras....who cares (see "Wild Wild West").

    What makes a good extra? Well, IMHO this is what I like:

    1. A good commentary that actually tells me something about the making of the film, the actors, the history, its place in film history. Good examples: Ebert's commentary for "Dark City", the Universal "Monster Series", Criterion version of "Henry V", "Se7en", and Kevin Smith's films (he is his own worst critic). Bad is anything in which you have actors and directors say "Oh yeah, I remember that guy." (any commentary with Ahnold).

    2. Good behind the scenes doc ala "Jaws" (too bad they edited the version originally on the LD, "Close Encounters". Well, you get the idea.

    3. Trailers.

    4. Use of subtitled commentary. "Star Trek" made an excellent use of this feature by Mike Okuda.

    5. Special effects demonstrations. I really like know how its done.

    There, my two cents.
     
  11. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I can't afford to buy discs for the extras... nSo no, I only buy discs for movies I'll watch again and again.
     
  12. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    Jamie,

    Here are a few releases I own with excellent extras:

    - 12 Monkey's Collector's Edition - Excellent documentary that covers everything from writing the script to shooting the movie and ends with Gilliam's visit to Letterman the night the movie premieres. Funny how the documentary is totally played down on the back of the DVD. I had NO idea it was an hour and a half until I started watching it (at 1am!)

    - The Abyss - Another excellent documentary, not to mention all the other material that can be found here. I haven't even gone through it all and it was the first disc I bought.

    - Twin Peaks: Season One - Wow, commentary tracks, interviews with the cast, crew and others...this one is a winner.

    - Final Destination - The commentary by Morgan and Wong is just great. I was amazed by how many little things were in the scene. It made me appreciate the movie a lot more.

    - The Bond movies - Most of them contain a "making of" that makes me wonder "how the heck did the movie actually get made?!?" I haven't even listened to any of the commentary tracks, but these are really solid releases if you ask me.

    - Fight Club, T2, ID4....I haven't even gone though the extras on these because....well....there's so much there is scares me!

    Gord
     
  13. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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    I knew this would spark an interesting conversation... [​IMG]
    OF COURSE I enjoy the movies, but occasionally I run upon a supplement (usually a really great documentary) that, even though I can't or won't watch the movie repeatedly, makes keeping the disc worthwhile. As I mentioned, "The Exorcist" is one of those.
    I also have the "12 Monkeys" disc; excellent doc.
     
  14. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I love extras and there are loads of DVDs I’ve got which I wouldn’t have bought but for the extras. These include The Abyss, Star Trek TMP, Terminator I and II, Snow White, Men in Black, Ghostbusters and Die Hard. I like scene specific commentaries such as John Frankenheimer’s for Ronin where he goes into detail about how shots were set up because it gives the viewer an appreciation of what it’s involved in making a film. The worst extras are rambling non-scene specific commentaries, such as some of those for the James Bond series and some “making of” featurettes which are little more than publicity items. Best set of extras in my opinion: the Fantasia Legacy box set.
     
  15. Anthony_H

    Anthony_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Alright... the self designated "Mr. Extra" is highly discouraged with pro-extras threads that are saturated with "all I want is the movie" posts. I realize that this being a HOME THEATER site..that there are those here who value the decibal level of their toys rather than the content of what they are actually watching. However... for a FILM fan such as myself... there is nothing better than something which gives me insight or a deeper respect for a film..let's say...I've enjoyed since I was a child. A truly in-depth documentary ..commentary...historical perspective... will always guide my purchases. Try the SUPERMAN SE content..... the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD SE content.... even the recent MAD MAX.... bliss...
     
  16. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  17. Bob Christensen

    Bob Christensen Stunt Coordinator

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    Now if the extras were only presented in DD or DTS!
     
  18. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Fando y lis is the one DVD I bought more for the extras (one in particular) than for the film, itself.
    Fando is OK, but not much more than a curiosity - and probably completely unwatchable for many of you! However, the disc includes La Constellation Jodorowsky, a great feature length documentary on Alejandro Jodorowsky with fairly extensive clips from all his good films (including the possibly never-to-be-seen-until-someone-dies "El Topo" and "Holy Mountain"). There's also a good deal of info on his Panic Movement days in the theater and tons of stuff on the aborted Dune project.
    So, along with the wacky Alejandro commentary (and all the materials from its riot-causing premier), this is the one disc that I bought more for the "extras" than the feature.
     
  19. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I purchase DVDs primarily for the extra content. I own over 300 DVDs and probably have only watched the films on 1/3 of these. For most of them, I have seen the film, but not since I purchased the disc. On many of these discs, I find the commentary or documentary to be better than the film itself.

    In fact I'm implementing a new criteria for purchasing discs. I will only buy new discs that are either mandatory favorites or if they have extras. I don't have the money to continue purchasing bare-bones discs of mediocre movies. I will rent featurless discs.

    If I had to choose what features are my favorite, I would rate them like this.

    1. Commentary track.

    2. Documentary

    3. Trailers
     
  20. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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