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DVD extra appreciation thread

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Inspired by talk of a Lord of the Ring reunion, many of us acknowledged that the DVD extras are at least as good as the film. If you watched them as they came out, in between the cinema releases, the two things will be woven in your memory.

 

Then there are the commentaries, something which I rememberer being as excited about as the film itself. LOTR had four different commentaries, three of which I've actually watched. Even the one with the annoying voice effects man.

 

Lots of classics were released with great commentaries, sometimes ageing stars didn't realise it was being recorded, sometimes people thought no one would be listening and went totally off-piste. Sometimes they descended into an absolute tedium of self congratulation, or complaints about the weather.

 

I have fond memories of watching the commentaries to Kurosawa films, Father Ted and Alan partridge doing it to the first season of I'm Alan Partridge with Lyn, in character.

 

Are DVD extras still a thing?

 

Will they come back?

 

What are the ones worth going back to and checking out?

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They're still a thing. They even made it to blu rays :D

 

Is the annoying voice effects man the one who does Gollum - Andy Serkis? If so I'm glad it's not just me :D

 

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I loved the really detailed behind-the-scenes documentaries that we used to get. My two favourites are "Under Pressure - Making The Abyss" and "Behind The Planet of the Apes"; both very comprehensive and warts-and-all.

 

 

I remember the Total Recall commentary with Arnie and Paul Verhoeven being hilarious.

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It’s sad that these are going by the wayside now. I guess special features don’t sell more DVDs anymore so the studios feel no need to commission them.

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15 minutes ago, Eighthours said:

It’s sad that these are going by the wayside now. I guess special features don’t sell more DVDs anymore so the studios feel no need to commission them.

 

Its definitely sad that they do not seem to have made the jump to streaming services.  Disney+ is heading in the right direction so that gives me some hope. 

 

It might be that Netflix and Amazon do not really care about the extras but as we see more companies launching their own platforms hopefully they will mirror Disney+ and include extras. 

 

That being said, Disney+ is not perfect.  We know there is a commentary track for the first Avengers film but that's not present, nor are any extras for the Simpsons which have already recorded a commentary track for each episode. Be a shame for extras like these to be lost since presumably it is just laziness that would prevent their inclusion. See also Disney taking 6 months to allow the episodes to be watched in their native format which surely cannot have been a difficult technical process to undertake. 

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I remember the Fox release of Alien & Aliens being exceptional, with the Ridley Scott commentary making me understand so much more about the film. It was then I understood how much better DVD was over VHS.

 

However, my favourite is The Thing commentary which is John Carpenter & Kurt Russell drinking scotch and reminiscing about times gone. Some commentary is technical, others insightful but The Thing’s is 2 mates chatting in a bar, occasionally being reminded a film is playing, I love that one.

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Just now, McCoy said:

 

Its definitely sad that they do not seem to have made the jump to streaming services.  Disney+ is heading in the right direction so that gives me some hope. 

 

It might be that Netflix and Amazon do not really care about the extras but as we see more companies launching their own platforms hopefully they will mirror Disney+ and include extras. 

 

That being said, Disney+ is not perfect.  We know there is a commentary track for the first Avengers film but that's not present, nor are any extras for the Simpsons which have already recorded a commentary track for each episode. Be a shame for extras like these to be lost since presumably it is just laziness that would prevent their inclusion. See also Disney taking 6 months to allow the episodes to be watched in their native format which surely cannot have been a difficult technical process to undertake. 

 

It's great that Disney+ are including some of this stuff - I'm surprised that Netflix and Amazon Prime haven't, but hopefully they will as a result. Seems like a very decent 'added value' thing.

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I absolutely love DVD features, especially as I find Blu Ray doesn't embrace them in the same way as DVD did with easter eggs, menu layout etc. I'd still say one of the standout DVD's in terms of menu's, features etc were the Terminator 2 Ultimate and Extreme edition DVD's.

 

 

I even remember Kevin Smith doing some pretty good ones for his DVD's.

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The US Office (the best version of the Office) has hours of deleted scenes for every season - most have now been uploaded to YouTube.

 

From seasons 2 onwards there are hours of them, some series have 3-4h. They vary in quality from excellent to a bit weird and totally out of character. 

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When I started buying DVDs I was all over the extras. The LOTR EE documentaries were incredible, and I definitely listened to a few of the commentaries too. I also once wrote a pretty good essay at university largely thanks to an American Beauty commentary track. :D

 

For whatever reason though, I just stopped caring about extras after a while and don't really miss them. I'd usually rather just watch something else.

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59 minutes ago, Wools said:

However, my favourite is The Thing commentary which is John Carpenter & Kirt Russell drinking scotch and reminiscing about times gone. Some commentary is technical, others insightful but The Thing’s is 2 mates chatting in a bar, occasionally being reminded a film is playing, I love that one.

 

They do a pretty similar thing on the Big Trouble in Little China commentary, just they're paying attention to the film more.  It's an utter delight.

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I used to love the novelty of extras when DVDs were still relatively new - to the point that sometimes a purchasing decision came down to what bonus goodies were included. Some discs were loaded - I remember I bought The Matrix mainly on the strength of the additional features.

 

With that said, I rarely actually watched a lot of them, to the point about the only one I can actually remember is from 'Dude, Where's My Car', where Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott start talking about having tried to hook up with one of the actresses during filming. The International (a Clive Owen flick) had some interesting extras around the locations used in the film, I enjoyed that.

 

Beyond those two though I'm struggling to think of anything else. I guess I liked the added value they provided, but was never actually fussed about the execution - but reading about The Thing, I'm now interested in that!

 

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1 hour ago, Wools said:

I remember the Fox release of Alien & Aliens being exceptional, with the Ridley Scott commentary making me understand so much more about the film. It was then I understood how much better DVD was over VHS.

 

 

This. I have the Alien Quadrilogy boxset and the documentaries and commentaries are fantastic. Bill Paxton is exceptional on the Aliens commentary, really funny. Also liked the fact the documentaries aren't puff pieces, they talk about the creative differences and personality clashes. 

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Every time I hear mention of DVD extras and commentaries I have to post this piece of art. Not sure I could stand 90 minutes of these two but this is entertaining stuff, for all the wrong reasons.

 

Also have to mention the commentaries on the DVD of The Armando Iannucci Shows. It's one of those where they do a commentary for each episode, run out of things to talk about so they just talk bollocks, entertaining bollocks mind. 

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Memorable DVD bonus features I love:

 

* The obvious ones: LOTR, The Matrix, every Edgar Wright film.

* Any Hong Kong Legends DVD with s commentary by Bey Logan (The Killer is one of the most densely packed single-disc releases I've ever owned)

* All the BBC-era Red Dwarf series. Commentaries on every episode, interview documentaries on each series, raw model shots, isolated music cues. (The only thing they were missing was Universe Challenge, because of rights issues.) And then there was The Bodysnatcher Collection, which was ostensibly released to preserve the 1998 Remastered version of Series 1 to 3, but was really an excuse for loads of new bonus features.

* The Die Hard bonus feature where you can re-edit a scene from different camera angles.

 

I always appreciate it when deleted scenes include optional commentaries, or are preceded by a director's introduction to give some context on why they were removed.

 

I also like it when releases of old films include new retrospective documentaries, in addition to all the promotional featurettes that were made at the time. I recently rented the Top Gun Blu-Ray which includes all the Making Of stuff from the '80s as well as the 150-minute retrospective documentary from 2004.

 

The Do the Right Thing Blu-Ray (by which I mean the 2009 20th anniversary release, though it had a Criterion release last year with most of the same features) is also really comprehensive for its archival material: camcorder-filmed actors read through sessions; Cannes Q&A etc.

 

Something I always like is watching a director's commentary and realising that it was originally recorded for a laserdisc release!

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1 hour ago, TomCGCG said:

 

They do a pretty similar thing on the Big Trouble in Little China commentary, just they're paying attention to the film more.  It's an utter delight.


Carpenter’s commentary with Rowdy Roddy Piper on They Live is also brilliant, albeit bitter sweet, as Roddy goes into quite a bit of detail about how tough his life has been since the film’s release. I think he sadly died a few years after recording it. 

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The Garth Marenghi's Darkplace DVD is brillant for these. The actors have commentaries in character commenting on every episode. It's worth watching the whole series again with these turned on (and then many more times because it's an amazing series).

 

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4 hours ago, Pete said:

I have fond memories of watching the commentaries to Kurosawa films, Father Ted and Alan partridge doing it to the first season of I'm Alan Partridge with Lyn, in character.

 

One of the extremely minor side-effects of Graham Linehan's transformation into a Celebrity Who Cannot Handle His Shit On Twitter is that I'll probably never again bring myself to watch his commentaries on The IT Crowd, which I remember being really informative insights into the writing and production of a sitcom.

 

 

As for in-character commentaries: the most famous one is the one for This is Spinal Tap, but though I have it on DVD I don't think I've ever listened to it! :o The first season of King of the Hill also has one or two episodes with in-character commentaries from Peggy and Bobby which I remember being quite fun to hear once.

 

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The recent BR release of Phase IV contains the excellent and totally bananas alternative ending. It's a shame they didn't branch the film so that you could choose to watch with that ending rather than selecting it from a menu, mind. 

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I just recently watched Withnail & I with commentary, and while interesting to hear there were a couple of things I wish the director had kept to himself. He basically used the commentary to moan about some shots he couldn’t do right, and pointed out some things that didn’t work. These are things I had never, and would never have noticed - but since the director drew attention to them, it’s all I can see.

 

 

namely faking the night time scenes inside the cottage by covering the windows, and Monty pointing his torch in the wrong direction - not on the same level but he also pointed out that there weren’t supposed to be any blue skies in the film but the demolition they filmed was on a sunny day and they couldn’t reschedule it, so that scene sticks out.

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4 hours ago, Commander Jameson said:

I remember the Total Recall commentary with Arnie and Paul Verhoeven being hilarious.

 

I think I've only heard Arnie's commentaries from the highlights people have put on YouTube:

 

 

 

 

Another one that got a highlights video on YouTube was Noel Gallagher's commentary on the Oasis music video collection.

 

6:40 - All Around the World: "Robbie Williams based his entire fuckin' career on this song. Is that a man with legs made out of sausages? That's not real! I know for a fact that's got nothing to do with this song!"

9:10 - You have not heard the sound of true despair until you've heard Noel Gallagher realising that the next song he's got to listen to is Sunday Morning Call.

 

 

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The making of documentaries from the Aliens Quadrilogy DVD pack were excellent

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was quite disappointed to see the extras on some of the recent Marvel films, I thought they'd be a great opportunity for an LOTR-style in-depth look at what's involved in making such a gargantuan-scale blockbuster. But from the ones I watched they seem pretty tame, just sort of 25 minutes of heavily cut talking heads with constant musical bedding and out-take clips.

 

The LOTR ones were so well made, you really felt you'd been on a bit of a journey with the production crew by the end of it and there was so much great insight into the logistics of such a huge project. I think I remember one of my favourite parts being the piece on how they designed and made so many different swords! :lol:

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I loved those people that just made chain mail for eight years and were completely thrilled by it.

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Someone put the first 40 minutes of them up on YouTube, I still get slight goosebumps when they're telling the story about how they were originally pitching two films to Miramax and New Line (~25mins).

 

 

I might have to watch them all again!

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