Beware Paramount’s upcoming release of Star Trek Into Darkness

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Khhhaaaan you believe it?

After reading Bill Hunt’s rant over at The Digital Bits about Paramount’s decision to split the special features for its upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness blu-ray amongst retailers, Star Trek fans may want to reconsider buying the title now. In short, if you want all the content created for this release, you need to purchase the blu-ray at Target and Best Buy (if you live in Canada, or download the title from CinemaNow in the US), as well as download a copy from iTunes for the director commentary. Don’t ask about the various physical retailer exclusives (Wal-mart has an amazing Vengeance 1:50 scale model). As Hunt notes, Paramount seems to forget that its duty should be first to the consumer, and not the retailer. Though I suppose the latter pays better.

While the practice of retailer exclusives remains a familiar standby for Paramount (I recall that Mission: Impossible 4 bonus disc which could only be found at Futureshop), the tactic of splitting bonus content between retailers seems entirely counter-intuitive. Cases and physical bonuses (like Starfleet badges and Enterprise models for the last Star Trek movie) are one thing, but when it comes to disc-based content consumers already purchasing a premium format at a premium price should be treated to a premium selection of content at a reasonable premium (astute readers will notice a pattern developing here in my rant). It would be one thing if Paramount offered all of the additional bonus content as an extra disc (as Touchstone did with the War Horse 4-disc blu-ray) and then gave consumers the choice to pay the premium (roughly $10 more in the case of War Horse), it is quite another to require customers to pay upwards of $100 to receive all of the supplemental content created for a particular title. Moreover, all of the content created for this release pales in comparison to the material created for Paramount’s 2009 blu-ray release of Star Trek. I hasten to add that there the voluminous special features were all provided on a single bonus disc as the sole blu-ray edition–which Paramount seems to have discontinued in favour of a single disc sans extras! For Star Trek Into Darkness the customer can purchase the title on DVD, on blu-ray, on blu-ray 3D, as a digital download, and still not receive all the content. When studios treat their films like prostitutes customers tend to perceive those films as such–and the studios, by extension, as shameless pimps. Behold then the syphilitic corpse of Star Trek and lament for the ennobling enterprise envisioned by its glorious future is without doubt a dream consigned to the past.

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8 thoughts on “Beware Paramount’s upcoming release of Star Trek Into Darkness

  1. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I had no idea Paramount was doing this. Extremely frustrating. The sad thing is, there’s a bunch of completists out there that would fall for a stunt like this. Thankfully, I wasn’t a big enough fan of the film to begin with, so this doesn’t really bother me. However, I can’t imagine how pissed I’d be if this WAS something I was looking forward to purchasing.

    • From the reviews I’ve read the material is fluff EPK junk anyway. A shame considering the features on the last Star Trek (and all those wonderful DVDs) have been so stellar. Dire days indeed for the folks at Paramount. Who are these studios producing this content for anyway? The people who want to watch these special features want the nuts and bolts of the process, not the selling points of the film. If they’ve already purchased the film, there’s no need to sell it to them again.

  2. Pingback: Snippet film review: Star Trek Into Darkness | digital didascalia

  3. I wasn’t going to buy the blu-ray but ended up doing so less for the extras on the disc than for the 1/1-scale phaser memorabilia that came with the limited edition set. The extras on the disc I already had an idea as being quite bare. Most of Abrams’ films don’t seem to be full of them once on video.

    • I was tempted by that phaser set, if only to have the phaser, but since I live in Canada I can only imagine the import and shipping fee. Is it a good quality prop?

      I disagree, however, that Abrams films don’t have many bonus features. Mission Impossible 3 had a fairly substantial amount of features, I remember it being the first HD title to warrant 2 discs, Super 8 had at least a feature length documentary and some deleted scenes, and his first Star Trek featured an impressive collection. I don’t believe Paramount was required to provide bonus features, rather, my frustrations stems from bothering to produce them just so that retailers could gobble up exclusive rights to them. I may be naive in assuming this content should belong to the consumer more than the retailer, but then it’s my choice not to part with my money. In the case of your phaser set, for example, imagine if the phaser only came bundled with the DVD, and not the bluray. At that point the product is in fact a Star Trek phaser with the DVD thrown in as a bonus. The same could arguably be said of the set as it stands. As you yourself hinted at, the real prize was the phaser. If you don’t actually care about bonus features that’s another matter (and I find myself less and less enthused as studios churn out hack materials interested only in reconfirming I’ve purchased a worthy film), but it is rather annoying isn’t it that you pay all that money and you’re still not given the full package? Paramount should be rewarding you for your interest in their film, not treating you like a source of revenue.

      • Yup, the only thing it’s really missing is the trigger, but I can go without that since it’s just another moving part that can break. The barrel actually can flip from stun to kill just like in the film.

        The prop is pretty solid to handle. I’d say it’s using some very heavy-duty aluminum.

  4. Pingback: Paramount issuing new Star Trek Into Darkness BD | digital didascalia

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