The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘dvd-roms’

Digital Doesn’t Mean Perfect

Posted by BigWords on August 28, 2009

I’ve gone through plenty of disks over the years. CDs, DVDs, games, multimedia… Recently I have noticed that some new ones aren’t quite up to the standard of previous years, and it might be that we are – as consumers – letting some companies get away with releasing inferior products. There’s going to come a time when digital downloads are fast enough to satisfy even the most die-hard film geek, but we aren’t quite there yet.

This post is getting to the point. Don’t worry.

The Xbox-360 disk of The Darkness, an excellent horror-suspense-action hybrid, was the first recent game to give me trouble. I bought the game in a now-defunct Woolworths store when it came out and immediately had problems with it. It would play fine for a while before freezing on one of the cutscenes. Taking it back for a different disk solved the problem for a few days before the same glitch appeared. Another trip back to the store.

Long story short, I eventually got another disk (a third one) online. It worked perfectly. For a few days. I don’t know how many people experienced this particular problem, but all three disks couldn’t have been random exceptions to the quality control. The cutscenes, which brought to mind Oz and The Sopranos, were fun, but they didn’t seem particularly hard to render. Maybe it was just the disks, but my machine has never crashed on any other game.

Flash forward to this week, and I eventually got around to buying The Spirit, Frank Miller’s re-imagining of the classic comic-strip character. I would tell you how much I liked or disliked the film, but it won’t play. Not in the R2 DVD player, the region-free one, the new laptop, the old Vaio laptop or even my rig. It is coming up either ‘wrong disk’ or ‘please insert a disk’ when I try to play it.

Irksome, and rather difficult to remedy as I bought it in a town I don’t normally visit. It was from a chain, so I am planning on popping into my nearest branch tomorrow to see if I can get another copy. Normally I wouldn’t be bothered by a faulty disk, but I really wanted to see the film.

Is technology being taken for granted? I remember getting my first CD (Leonard Cohen’s Greatest Hits) after years of listening to cassettes, and the excitement of a new format. Now when I buy CDs I normally treat them as just another disk to add to the collection. The magic has worn off. Same thing goes for games. Only, where games are concerned, the first ones on CD annoyed the hell out of me. Endless FMV sequences that weren’t skippable, and having to watch them over and over and over again…

Maybe the machines have good taste, and refuse to let me sully Will Eisner’s memory with a lesser adaptation. I wonder how they will feel about Supergirl

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It’s Not A Waste Of Money, It’s A Chance To Compare And Contrast…

Posted by BigWords on August 9, 2009

There was a time, many, many moons ago, when I had a fairly decent library of video cassettes. There was probably a couple of thousand bought films, and another four or so thousand films which I had recorded off the television, not taking into account the immense number of television series which I managed to accumulate over the years. Nowadays I stick to DVDs or DVD and CD-Roms with downloaded material burned to disk. The thing which always bothered me about videos was the noticeable deterioration, with every use adding to the destruction of the image on the tape in a small way.

DVDs don’t have this problem, though they have managed to create a parallel and equally frustrating problem which is becoming apparent as my collection nears record levels. I’m a compulsive buyer, so when I see something that sounds like it might be good to watch, or just because it is on sale, I go ahead and lay my money down. This wouldn’t be a problem, but I have noticed that I am accumulating a number of duplicates which aren’t technically the same film twice bought over. I needn’t explain this to long-time DVD aficionados, but some people might be staring at the screen with a funny look on their face.

Back when Daredevil was released on DVD it was the butchered studio version which – honestly – didn’t make much sense. The Director’s Cut followed soon after, and I have both. The issue arrives with the versions of the film not being collected in one easy box set. Thus I must have two boxes taking up valuable space. The Hellboy disk is another case entirely, and it requires a bit of explanation, especially due to the nature of the third release, which outdoes everything…

Originally released was the single disk version of Hellboy, which was fine enough on its own. That cost me £8, which I thought was a decent enough price at the time. The 2-disk edition came along a short time later, at the (I thought) hefty price of £12, but yet again I had to have it, if only because there was more insights from Guillermo del Toro, Ron Perlman and Mike Mignola. I loved the film, so it was a no-brainer that I would buy the new release. A little time later there was a neat 3-disk box-set which I managed to pick up for £10. I don’t know if I should feel aggrieved that a single film cost a total of £30, or if I should be glad I liked the movie so much…

The latest film to make me wince at my own stupidity spending habits has been Fight Club, which I originally picked up in the single disk edition. You know, the one where Brad Pitt is holding up the bar of soap… Well, I managed to find the 2-disk version (with a beautiful slipcase) for only £3 in a sale, but considering I paid out £12 for the first copy, I’m now left with the impression that someone is laughing, somewhere, at me.

It isn’t as if the cost is the main issue, though it does add up over time, but rather the expectation that only films which do well on DVD are given the opportunity at getting shiny new releases with a wealth of additional material. How do they judge ‘successful’? By the number of sales of the single disk editions? Maybe? And who is buying all those releases? It me, and people like me. Am I being screwed over? Yeah. Will I keep on buying DVDs? Of course.

An interesting note, and a personal moment of WTF which cropped up when I was clearing out my cupboard: I have six copies of Blade Runner.

The video cassette, a copy taped off the television with the different ending shown on Channel 4, the Laserdisc, a Japanese DVD, the newish revised 2-disk DVD and the big box set which cost an amazing £36. I even have the Marvel comic-book adaptation, though I am ashamed to admit that I don’t own the original short story. Yes, my priorities are all messed up. I will get around to the short story eventually, don’t worry…

The wonders of Blu-Ray have yet to make a big dent in my collection, and I have the feeling I’m going to need to replace everything again. And when the replacement for Blu-Ray comes along (reported earlier this year) I’ll need to spend out more money. The relentless need for new formats and more tech to play them on is becoming a bit of a chore. Am I being screwed? Hell yeah. Will I keep upgrading? Watch this space.

If some bastard comes up crystals to store films on, I’ll kick their head in…

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