Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Just roll the bloody film!

I miss video.
No, I don’t miss the hissing, crackly sound, the grainy picture or the stretching and distortion of this film through continued use….usually during very specific points in movies of a particular nature.
What I miss is the freedom, the utter, indescribable bliss of being able to fast-forward through the anti-piracy warnings, the copyright notices and those fekking, over-elaborate, “is this the film? Oh no, it’s not.” Studio logos. Dear GOD, how I miss being able to sit down in front of the TV and having the power to zoom straight to the opening credits.
But that privilege has been stripped from us by the mighty Satan that is Dynamic Video.
Press it as hard as you like; the ‘Skip’ button is there only to taunt you.
No longer can we watch a film from the get-go. First, we must endure 25 minutes of legal bumf, displayed in writing so small that only those rich enough to have jumped on the high-def band-wagon can read.
Then we come to the insanely lengthy studio logo, which is animated to a fan-fare that may as well be a funeral dirge as, by this point, all but the most sedate people will have woven a crude noose from their chair-lining.
God forbid the studio is celebrating an “anniversary” the year of the DVD’s release – this animation goes on for even longer.
25 years? Since what? I put the disk in?!
On a few occasions, I’ve witnessed this animation run TWICE. Once to inform you of the studio that made the film (in case you missed it plastered all over the box) and again to remind you that it’s one of their DVDs you’re watching (in case you thought you were in a cinema).
Thanks, chaps. Can we see the film now?
‘Course not!
With the formalities out of the way; on comes the menu, which is completely unresponsive until yet more time-wasting animations play, revealing the options available in obscure ways that make no sense until you’ve actually seen the movie (which, by now, seems unlikely to ever transpire).
When this has at last finished, those that have not yet hung themselves out of boredom may be thinking that they’ll live to see the film.
“Huzzah!” some will cheer….all too soon.
DVDs have one last evil act to commit: compulsory spoilers.
These are the little clips from the movie that play either as the menu is running through its tedious animation or when you click on an option and they invariably contain some gripping scene or piece of action.
At least, it would be gripping, had it not been removed from the context of the film. Its carefully scripted build-up hacked away by people that clearly know squat about film or entertainment in general.
They may as well just print on the screen “Willis is a ghost!” or “Spacey is the killer!”.
I think I’ve just worked out why piracy is so rampant on the DVD format.
People don’t buy them because they want to watch films on the cheap, they buy them because they want to watch films without having to wade through all of the above. Something pirates kindly cut out.
Thank ye, Jack Sparrow!

(I will not be upstaged by a chipmunk!)


Joliet68 said...

The bloody piracy ads!!! They put piracy ads on at the beginning of a DVD you've just purchased, legally, from a shop.

Isn't this preaching to the converted? The very fact that I'm watching this epileptic fit inducing ad means that I have taken the legal route of buying legal DVDs.

The answer is that you put the DVD in the player and while the seemingly endless warnings/ads/idents do their thing you go to the kitchen and make the tea/gather snackage. Hopefully, by the time you've done al that you only have to battle the main menu.

Jamie said...

I don't what it's like in Blighty these days, but over here (Austria) I'm required to select the language for the anti-piracy ads first. That's meant that a few times where I've put the dvd and then gone to brew up I'm still stuck at the start. Cue the patronising "You wouldn't steal a car" jibes. As someone once said on B3ta, "I would if I could download one". :D

Castaway Carter said...

The thing that gets me, is films in other languages. I have a few Japanese films, that I hate watching in English, with the terrible dubbing.
I will start the movie, get through the opening stupidity you have already mentioned, and be all set to watch the bloody thing, when all of a sudden, one of the characters starts talking, and I realize its the wrong language. No problem, I think. There is a little drop down menu that comes up if I right click! How useful!
If it effing worked! Which, by the way, it never does. So, you have to go back to the bloody menu, to get to the language option thingy. However, once restarting the movie, it has switched itself, somehow, back to the language you didn't want!
For me, this will go on until I am to tired, or to angry to watch the damn movie... Then I go read a book. No Legal warnings, no previews, and no language selection. Blissful.

Bentos said...

I've found a few times that the menu or return button can skip all this shite. Doesn't work all the time but more often than the skip ahead butt.

Nice to see you blogging Jack, this is an ideal format for what you normally put in the sketchbook part of the site.

John said...

The piracy adds have much the same effect as all the anti-drug advertisements we get here in the states... and that is, a strong urge to do the exact thing which they are trying to discourage.
The first time (which I beleive was relatively recently) that a dvd wouldn't let me skip all the bullshit left me quite stunned. Now, however, I am resigned to the fact that, just like when going to the cinema, I must watch about one minute of advertisement for every two mintues of actual motion picture I hope to view.
My solution? The mute button and a novel.

Tony said...

Heh, heh. It's insane how badly everybody has to suffer for a little entertainment. You think something that takes so long wouldn't take the fun out of the actual enjoyment?!? Jamie, I feel horribly sorry for you. Sometimes, the legal writing is displayed again in a different language. Why can't they just put in a two-second fade in/out sequence with both languages installed in impossibly small text? Nobody cares about these, anyway, and this law is broken all the time. It hardly matters, anymore. I miss video, too...

CzB said...

I also hate these piracy ads. There are some that starts to describe 'pirated videos are smaller, are in lower quality and so on and so on.

On the other hand I know how to solve the menu problem. When the menu animation starts press the menu button. It will start the movie instantly. Then if you want to change the settings use the audio and subtitle buttons. (Note: Of course there are some DVDs that do not support the audio and subtitle buttons during the movie. But only 20% of my DVDs are like this.)

Tatter said...

"I will not be upstaged by a chipmunk!"

What about a chipmunk with a frickin laser beam?

Peter said...

Hmm, thanks to open source dvd software, I don't worry about that anymore. I put the disk in, and the movie starts. No menu, no warnings, nothing, just the movie. And, if the language is wrong, I just pick another one from the file menu. I don't even have to stop the movie unless I choose to do so.
Man, I do not miss it-- especially the spoiler clips. Even trailers are too much for me, personally.

rali said...

It all started with those damn animated menus... Curses!

Another thing that annoys me is that most of the ones I own will sit and spin on the menu forever after the movie ends. This really sucks if I fall asleep while watching a movie and then woken up at 4am by the repetitious music and sound effects.

I miss the days of VCRs just rewinding the tape, spitting it out when it was done, and turning itself off. :)

Dohickey Jones said...

joilet68 has a good point, if we're watching the piracy ads then surely the chances that we're watching a pirated DVD is pretty slim - unless you buy your DVDs from a pirate with a strong sense of irony.

We probably shouldn't shout too loud though - 'cause there's a fairly obvious fix to the piracy ad problem - and that's embedding it in the player itself - don't think 'The Man' won't do that if it comes to it.

Based on the discussion here I might just start marketing a DVD player that autoskips all the unskippable stuff, shows fake interference lines when you pause and plays some fake rewinding noises at the end for 10 minutes before ejecting the disc.

Should be a winner :)

Paul said...

If I was full of power and influence... as well as being the producer of something like "Balls of Steel" (Or any other *hilarious* hidden camera progam), I'd find out where the staff on a studio's anti-piracy unit went for lunch or go shopping and subject them to some kind of Are-you-sure-you're-buying-the-genuine-article rant before they pay for anything. Would be good if they were in a branded store like Levis or something. "If you buy jeans from a market stall" "I'm not I'm in Levis".. person ignores them and carries on.. oh you get the idea.

(Oh, Jolly Jack, more foxy/squirrely bespectacled bookish types please. They make me feel funny in my tummy)