Content Filter

| October 4, 2016

startrekbeyondchoices

If you listened to this week’s podcast, Ep. 270: Podcasterminds, we discussed the news that Paramount would once again be spreading the Star Trek Beyond home video release’s bonus content across different retailers. They did this before with Star Trek Into Darkness, and studios do it often with other films. But like most things today, we don’t get outraged until it directly affects us. James clearly expressed his frustrations with that model while Ryan shrugged it off as business as usual for the studios. But, I fall into James’ camp. I can’t shrug it off. I’m a Star Trek fan and “that’s just business” isn’t an acceptable excuse for me.

It’s so easy these days to get your entertainment fix online. You can order a blu-ray from Amazon and it’ll show up at your door, sometimes even before the release date. Or, you can avoid cluttering your shelf with plastic and just watch it online via digital download. In fact, the studios prefer that be your only option but that’s a discussion for a different article. So then, what’s the incentive to stand up, get in your car, battle road morons to get to the store, battle shopping morons to get to your movie, then possibly discover they’ve sold out of that movie? But wait! There’s one last copy buried under a different tag! Congratulations! You’re either old and afraid of change or you’re a collector! (Or both)

I’m not a fan of streaming. It’s convenient for trying out, exploring options for entertainment. But the selection isn’t permanent, the picture quality is always fluctuating, you usually don’t get bonus features, and there’s often a service outage when I want to watch something the most. If I LOVE a movie, I want to own it. What’s more convenient for me is to walk over to my shelf, grab the disc and put it in a blu-ray player that’ll unlock all those bonus features and play the video stream at a consistent rate as the artists intended, and do all that on a whim. Also, I’m a graphic design nerd, so creative package design and box art has an all access pass to my wallet.

So, needless to say, I’m buying Star Trek Beyond on blu-ray in November. And, I’ll walk into ANY store that sells it and come home with a couple of discs that compact the entire experience of Star Trek Beyond because it’s the 50th anniversary of Star Trek this year and Paramount is going all out on making that experience magical and memorable for fans.

Wrong!

Paramount, taking a page out of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, is about to exploit your fandom. How big of a fan of Star Trek are you REALLY? Are you fan enough to go to all the outlets selling Star Trek Beyond and complete the experience? C’mon pussy! There’s only one 50th Anniversary ever! You bought every series on DVD and then re-bought TOS and TNG on blu-ray, and also TOS one more time because we remastered the effects for re-broadcast and put that on a newer release! You probably even have a bunch of dusty old VHS’s with only two TOS episodes on each tape in a box somewhere. Are you really gonna argue buying 4 or 5 copies of the same movie is too expensive for you? You baby. A Klingon would kill you where you stand!

Fortunately, America is still free enough that you’re not required to buy everything Paramount produces. (But someday, mark my words, it’s coming. When companies finally rule the nation with impunity and it’s the law to buy 4 or 5 copies of a single movie because Paramount is too big to fail and such a failure would destroy the economy, you’ll buy that fucking Star Trek XXVIII brain implant!) Thus, you have a choice of which copy of Star Trek Beyond is right for you. Here’s what they’re offering format wise: http://www.startrek.com/article/beyond-blu-ray-combo-packs-available-nov-1, which is fine EXCEPT it doesn’t specify a couple things. It reads like DVD owners and 4K Ultra HD adopters don’t get bonus features and 4K doesn’t get 3D.

Now after all that, we also have retailer exclusives (incentives, but for the customer or the retailer? *wink*): http://www.startrek.com/article/star-trek-beyond-blu-ray-details-revealed with some cool things like Amazon and Walmart each have gift sets with model ships in them. But if you look closer, you’ll notice Amazon’s 4K Combo has that aforementioned 3D Blu-ray disc included in their bundle. So that must mean Amazon has the best, most complete purchase of the film? Nope. Target has it’s own second bonus disc with 45 minutes of EXCLUSIVE bonus features. iTunes gets the director’s commentary track. Best Buy has the Steelbook.

Ryan’s correct that retailers have always had product exclusives, but they were often limited to different box art which is a purely cosmetic exclusive and doesn’t limit your experience of the film. Most people don’t do this kind of research before they buy their movie so they don’t even know they’re missing anything. Can you imagine buying Harry Potter and the Cursed Child only to later discover Barnes and Noble’s copies had an extra chapter in them? People would lose their god damn minds! Comics publishers have been selling variant covers for decades but they don’t leave out pages and panels inside some books and not others. I gotta buy the $15 sketchbook variant to get the page that fleshes out the hero’s arc? Fuck yourself.

In the end, we can only vote with our wallets to encourage change. If you don’t like what Paramount is offering you, you can follow James and wait for an acceptable re-release. It’s not ideal but I’m going with the Steelbook. At the end of the day, it’s pretty special that this movie has so many options at all. Meanwhile other great films like The Nice Guys get no special treatment. I’m sure I’ll be disappointed 3 years from now when I’m exploring the special features, wanting to listen to Justin Lin and Simon Pegg’s thoughts about the film, but it’s a small price to pay for shelf image consistency.

Buy Star Trek Beyond November 1st at whichever retailer has the thing you want most. Fuck it.

About the Author:

His earliest memory of nerdiness is discovering the Star Trek motion pictures when his parents (presumably) accidentally rented the first one on laser disc. He attended his first convention at the age of 12 and has been to many Star Trek conventions since, as well as SDCC, NYCC, and E3 twice. He’s also an avid TMNT fan who has each of the first four issues of the original comic book signed by Eastman AND Laird. Brad also favors Batman and loves Nintendo so much he still plays his Virtual Boy from time-to-time. When he’s not immersed in nerd media, he’s out competing at bar trivia or working on several creative projects like podcasting, producing short films, publishing books, and drawing cartoons. His favorite film of all-time is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie and with over 600 DVD’s and blu-rays in his collection, Brad is surely a Reel Nerd.
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