The Rock/Armageddon - Why the Criterion treatment?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Matt Fisher, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. Matt Fisher

    Matt Fisher Second Unit

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    I wasn't sure whether this should be placed here or in the DVD section since it kind of deals with both, but anyways, I've been building up a small portion of the Criterion Collection and it got me to thinking about The Rock and Armageddon. I was just curious if anyone knows how these got to be part of the collection, if Michael Bay had some special connection, and, unless it's just me, what am I missing that puts these films in the same league as the works of Cocteau, Godard and Fellini. They were introduced rather early in the collection (Armageddon is #40, and The Rock is 108), and I tried to find some history on this issue but couldn't really find much, any info is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I'm not sure why two of Bay's films are used, but I'm pretty sure it's just Criterion releasing mainstream films every now and again. It was much more common for them to release non-art-house stuff in the days of their laserdisc releases.
     
  3. Lev-S

    Lev-S Second Unit

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    Michael Bay is a pioneer of Hollywood Dreck. Therefore, he plays a significant, if not annoying, role in cinema.
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Only if you limit Criterion's history to its DVD product. In fact, the collaboration with Bay/Bruckheimer began in 1997 with the release of The Rock as a special edition LD box set. At that point, Criterion had already been around for 10 years and had released hundreds of titles. The stated mission of The Rock LD was to apply the Criterion approach to the Hollywood hit-making machine -- not so strange a notion when you look at the influence of that machine on the history and development of film.

    I've always figured that the Armageddon DVD was a continuation of a collaboration that both sides were happy about. Criterion has a history of making filmmakers feel well taken care of, so that they come back for later films. But it's not likely to happen again with a blockbuster. Criterion released Armageddon at a time when studios like Disney hadn't yet grasped the potential of DVD special editions. Today I can't imagine any studio turning over a high-profile hit to Criterion, when they can go out and hire a David Prior or a Charlie de Lauzirika and keep the whole thing in-house.

    M.
     
  5. Matt Fisher

    Matt Fisher Second Unit

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    Thanks for the words, I knew Criterion had been around for quite some time without LD, but I didn't know they had worked with Bay on the medium, so that makes a lot more sense.
    I guess just a little continuation on the question, but Traffic was released on Criterion nearly 5 months after being on the shelves in a regular edition release. Do you think Soderbergh just wasn't really happy with the regular release, or is there some other reason. It was released in 2002 (June: regular, Nov: Criterion). There were definately some SE projects out on shelves by then.
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Soderbergh, too, had a history with Criterion. They'd done an LD box set of Sex, Lies and Videotape which has extras that I believe aren't available anywhere else. I suspect Soderbergh just wanted to work with them again. And Traffic, while successful, doesn't fit the profile of a blockbuster. It may have been released by a major studio, but it has the style of an art film.

    You're not likely to see a Criterion edition of Ocean's Eleven. [​IMG]

    M.
     
  7. Matt Fisher

    Matt Fisher Second Unit

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    Interesting, I've been really getting into their releases lately, so just trying to learn all I can, thanks.
     
  8. Mike Wadkins

    Mike Wadkins Supporting Actor

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    its due to them being the height of blockbusterdom its excess as an art form that drips style
     
  9. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    For a while, Criterion had a deal with Disney to do special editions for some of the more adult labels such as Hollywood, Mirimax, Touchstone, etc. "Evita" for example was a full blown SE on LD as well as "The English Patient" which, as far as I know, have not been ported over to DVD. Disney reaped the big bucks on the initial bare bones releases and Criterion got some popular titles to help bolster its bottom line while doing all the work, and risk, on the SE versions. I don't know if that relationship is still intact now that Disney sees great value in SEs as evidenced by their double dip of "Pirates of the Caribbean"

    As for the "The Rock" and "Armageddon" I like them as guilty pleasures and the Criterion versions are well done. I don't blame them for wanting to make a few quick bucks which can then subsidize the release of more interesting and obscure titles.
     
  10. Ben_@

    [email protected] Stunt Coordinator

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    Look at it this way: there are lots of titles that CC puts out that very very few people will buy, but people will definitely pick up The Rock or Armageddon. Its that kind of business that keeps the whole thing going. I think its a smart move on CC's part.

    I could also agree that these films really are important in that they have set the tone for over-the-top summer fair, as well as being the epitome of the Bruckheimer/Bay style.
     
  11. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I don't doubt at all that they are primarily included for financial/contractual reasons, but I actually do think Bay's films are the kind of pinnacle of the kinetic high budget action films of the '90s. Remembering that Armageddon had the full support of NASA, which was quite an accomplishment. It may contain many traits that are disliked around here, but they're about as pedigree'd as populist entertainment can get.

    However, this is a fight that is lost at the HTF. [​IMG]
     
  12. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    It's simple as that,they need money to finance the ones they really want to, and can release.
     
  13. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    I seem to remember that Bay himself pushed for the Criterion treatment for these films and having a few high profile titles couldn't hurt Criterion either...I imagine it was mutually beneficial for all concerned.
     
  14. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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    I too think they release a few mainstream titles now and then to bring in the $$$ to finance the release of small non-mainstream titles.

    If I ever collect the entire Criterion Collection, highly unlikely unless I win the lottery, the Armageddon one is the only one I'll skip due to my dislike of the movie, unless someone buys it for me for my birthday or Christmas, and then it'll just sit on the shelf collecting dust. [​IMG]
     
  15. Ravi K

    Ravi K Supporting Actor

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    Criterion hasn't released too many mainstream titles on DVD, but it seems like their arthouse releases have exploded in the past year, so they must be doing well. Videodrome, Slacker, Short Cuts, Battle of Algiers, Fanny and Alexander, the Casavettes box, etc.
     
  16. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

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    They were the most embarassing tentpole releases in the history of an otherwise stellar and remarkable company. And I'm sure Bay was the prime mover for such releases. When the company started out wih DVDs they were very nervous.. would they sell as well as LDs? It took them a while to fully make the leap.. for such a small company, it must have been a scary decision, which could have sunk the company if not handled right.. Hence the Faustian deal with Micheal Bay.

    When I look at the list of relatively obscure CC release for early next year, it would appear that the company is now flourishing, and it may be a long time before they release material that is beneath them again.

    ---

    As far as Bay/Buckhemier movies setting the tone for those summer, brain dead popcorn flicks as an argument for justifying their "importance", I suppose the Friday the Thirteenth movies should get CC treatment as well for setting the tone for teen slasher flick genre? Not all trends and trendsetters are created equal, or have equal merit.
     
  17. Ric Bagoly

    Ric Bagoly Producer

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    Love both films, and cherish my Criterion copies...
     
  18. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    I have a feeling that Peter Becker's tombstone will say: "Armageddon?!"

    DJ
     
  19. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    Don't forget the Criterion Collection laserdiscs of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, RoboCop, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and...yes...The Prince of Tides.
     
  20. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    Prince of Tides, nominated for 7 Oscars, isn't exactly in the same category as a summer blockbuster. It's no mystery why Criterion would want to produce a special edition of such a film (although they probably regretted the choice after the agonizing production).

    DJ
     

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