Wednesday, September 20, 2006

May the Format Be with You

by StrollerGuy and Tim the SaneLunatic

Three cheers for George Lucas! His finances finally dropped low enough to succumb to the repeated demands of his fans. Or should I say former fans? Most of us have had more than our share of his self-serving indifference to all that made him great.

But that is another subject entirely.

Several recent discussions, including the late-night coffee slurping sessions that Tim and I enjoy, have made what should be obvious…well…obvious.

What a “cash cow” the DVD format has turned out to be!

Immediately evident are the “populist” qualities: ease of use, portability and storage, durability, compatibility, and versatility. All of these characteristics have conspired to quickly and permanently bury the VHS-loving society of yesterday.

And we did not see the downside…not right away, anyhow.

I have been bitching about this for a while, mainly since “Clerks X” was released; but I am sure those without their heads up their asses noticed it long ago. The much-hyped rollout of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, complete with the “previously unavailable on DVD” early theatrical versions put the questionable concept “front and center.” No longer can it be ignored.

How many Star Wars editions do you already own?

There is: VHS, VHS Special Edition, DVD Box Edition, “Second Trilogy” Individuals, and now “First Trilogy” Original Theatrical Edition Individuals. You can bet your bottom dollar that there will also be a Complete Deluxe Boxed Set (featuring ALL SIX movies), and a 30th Anniversary Edition of “Episode IV” next year. In fact, Mr. Lucas is counting on it – your bottom dollar, that is.

And he is not the only one, either. Already, the shelves are filled to bursting with Collector’s Editions, Deluxe Editions, Bonus Editions, Special Expanded Editions, Anniversary Editions, and (of course) the rabidly sought-after Special Deluxe Collector’s Bonus Special Expanded Anniversary Editions – 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, and 25th, respectively.

Basically, Hollywood has found the ultimate ATM: selling you the same movie over and over and over and over. And over again.

You already knew this – on some level, at least. Now, get ready for the bad news. Since you have finally converted your massive video library from VHS to DVD (several times over with each successive reissue, no doubt) – guess what?

There is a brand-new DVD format awaiting mass production just over the horizon. THIS time, you’ll need a new player as well.

If that is not reason enough to go on a killing rampage, chew on this – after you convert EVERYTHING over, including the new, expensive Digital HDTV (also needed by 2009), most of it will be useless and unnecessary.

By then, Bill Gates will have completed the ownership transfer of All Creation, and the entire spectrum of entertainment will be accessible only via computer…

…running Windows Special Deluxe Anniversary Edition.
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