Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dust Collector's Edition

Perhaps it's my more practical side speaking. Perhaps it's my latest efforts to simplify my life by getting rid of clutter. Whatever it is, I just don't get DVD's that come with so much stuff!

The picture above is of the Casablanca super duper de-luxe edition that is being released this December. Besides the discs containing the film and extras, it also...

"...is elegantly boxed in an intricate laser-cut Moroccan design and will include such collectibles as replicas of actual props (Victor Laszlo´s "Letter of Transit") as well as a number of Warner studio documents (an executive´s letter commanding a new PR image for Bogart from gangster to romantic lead; a note from producer Hal Wallis re-titling the film to Casablanca; and a memo from Wallis to Jack Warner strongly urging casting Bogart over George Raft)... a branded passport holder, luggage tag, photo book and a mail-in offer for a reproduction of the original movie poster."
Now, I realize this is one of the most beloved movies of all time (and with good reason), but does it really need enough doodads to choke a horse?

Part of me understands it. DVD collectors are fetishists. They like the look of a DVD and the shiny case, especially when it's nicely designed. Looking right now at my collection, I can point out how my copies of The Adventures of Robin Hood, Dogma, The Incredibles, Kingdom of Heaven, Once Upon a Time in the West, Rio Bravo, Seven Samurai, Titanic and Yojimbo as being great examples of this.

This is something that the studios will never understand when they start fretting about piracy. Cheap as it is, a burned CD labeled with a magic marker is not going to be nearly as appealing as a purchased DVD. The packaging can be as important as the content. And it's legal, too.

But packaging is one thing. Things such as luggage tags and passports are quite another. At least Casablanca gets points for subtlety and taste. At least it doesn't feature a goofy looking bust of Keanu Reeves.

But I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't admit to my preorder of the Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition coming out in October. Not only are they bypassing a standard cardboard case with a tin, but it also comes with four lobby cards and (cough) a goofy looking bust of Crow T. Robot.

But in my defense, it's not like there are other versions of this out there to buy. And it certainly isn't going to be a trend in my future purchases. I refuse to have to allow as much shelf space for DVD knickknacks as I provide for the DVD's themselves.

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