In My Humble Opinion: Travis couldn’t be more right on this point. I know I own about 3 or 4 different versions of the original Star Wars trilogy so I feel his pain…enjoy.
Before we begin, how about a little introduction? My name is Travis and besides being the co-host of the popular local access show, Sean’s Humble Opinion Live!, Sean and I have been friends for a long time. We’ve collaborated on a number of projects over the years and now he has been good enough to give me a little space amidst his own humble opinions to air some of my own delusional, half-formed notions, mostly a place for me to complain about things in all likelihood. So, for the purposes of this blog, I am Chewbacca to Sean’s Han Solo, Keith Richards to his Mick Jagger…the Oompa Loompa to his Willy Wonka. Now, let’s get started.
Finding examples of the greed exhibited by the entertainment industry is about as simple as finding a DUI on Lindsay Lohan’s driving record, but one practice in particular has been blanching my tomatoes. Yesterday was the long-awaited release of the first installment of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy work, the Hobbit, on Blu-Ray and DVD. Now, for the record, I am a life-long, Lord of the Rings dork and the Hobbit has been my favorite book since I was 10 years old. In any event, I caught the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in theaters around Christmastime and was fairly determined not to like it. Turns out it was okay. I had a few notes (that’s another blog entry entirely), but overall it was an enjoyable film experience. I figured I’d buy the Blu-Ray when it came out, no problem, but a little research quickly revealed that New Line is already planning an “extended edition” for the Christmas buying season. Besides the face-slapping question of how much more can Peter Jackson really wring out of Tolkien’s text for an extended version, this other edition presents a problem for old Travis. After showing my son the Rankin & Bass animated version of the Hobbit from 1977, on top of the relentless advertising campaign for the new movie, he’s currently Hobbit-obsessed and wants to see the live-action movie some kind of bad. So, do I pony up the money for the regular old theatrical version, knowing that it lacks content that will be available in a few months or just wait it out for the extended version? Well, try making a 6 year-old wait 9 minutes for something, much less 9 months.
So, I bought it. And when the extended version comes out, I’ll probably buy that too. I can’t decide which is worse; the complete disregard the movie industry has for me as a consumer or my utter stupidity for continuing to fork over my hard-earned for essentially the same damn thing over and over and over again. I already own 3 copies each of the Lord of the Rings movies, so what’s the big deal, right? Thank god I’m not a ‘serious collector’ as I also found that several retailers had their own, “exclusive releases” featuring bonus LEGO figures or collectible books or hobbit DNA or whatever New Line’s marketing department could strap to the box. If somebody is obsessed enough, they could probably be on the hook for 10 copies of the same movie under the pretense that each copy is “collectible” in its own way. Hate to break it them, but in 10 or 20 years, Rick Harrison and the Pawn Stars will not be helping them to triple their investment in Hobbit Blu-Rays.
Nope, in a few years, the conglomerate of movie studios and electronics manufacturers will have forced a new format down our throats that puts Blu-Ray to shame. And I’ll be buying yet more copies of my favorite movies. Thank you, sir, may I have another.