Paramount issuing new Star Trek Into Darkness BD

Bill Hunt is reporting over at the Digital Bits that Paramount is finally releasing the Star Trek Into Darkness bluray that they should have released from the start. Hunt’s enthusiasm, however, and especially his gratitude, offer troubling signs of the sado-masochistic relationship many of us share with these companies. Warner Brothers has gotten into the habit of rerealeasing old BDs that were exemplary to begin with (their latest wave includes, alongside a repackaged reissue of Ben-HurThe Green Mile, but this time with bonus extended documentary!), MGM won’t even bother to allow a restoration of The Alamo (which is liquefying in their vaults as you read this), and Paramount is gouging its customers with what was once supposed to be a premium format.

If there’s a lesser evil here I’m sure I don’t see it.

Although I’ve already bitched about this capitalist edifice before, Hunt’s innocuous remarks suggest there’s more to be said on the matter. It’s one thing for a studio to simply not produce any content for a film in the first place (indeed, Paramount were under no obligation to do so with Star Trek), but it’s insulting when it smashes the features into pieces and scatters them to the four big retailers of the world in a corporate fit of sadistic glee, and it’s offensive to our collective intelligence when people express gratitude to their kidnapper for offering them a choice that could be considered fair only after prolonged abuse. Hunt may be happy to report that Paramount is offering people the choice to fork over more money for a product that should’ve been released alongside the first edition, I’ll simply report that the option is available to you. Still, just to twist the knife, Paramount is said to be preparing a rebate for those who bought the first edition.

Here’s the link to the original post:

http://www.digitalbits.com/columns/my-two-cents/062314_0600

Werner Herzog 16 film boxset on sale at Amazon.ca

Imposing cover art for the limited edition set

Werner Herzog, the director I respect and admire more than any other, has been collected in a massive 16 film box set by Shout Factory that includes many of his most renowned films, and just today Amazon.ca has dropped the price on this blu-ray set by a third. Limited to only 5,000 copies, if you have even the slightest interest in this director there may never be a better time to indulge. Certain to cause ontological shock and epidemiological dilemmas of the most absurd degree, and at only $7 a film, this set is the greatest bargain on Amazon presently.

Note, however, that there is also a Region B set with 18 of the director’s films being offered by BFI. Having compared the titles (though not the transfers) between the two, I assure you that the main titles in Herzog’s oeuvre are found in both sets. Whichever set you purchase you’ll be getting an astounding overview of Herzog’s work. Though it’s unfortunate that the BFI has 8 exclusive titles and Shout has 6, and that the only real way to settle the difference is to buy both sets, there is some comfort in knowing that both sets offer a terrific sample.

When the set finally arrives I may just have to go about writing a career length retrospective of this unique and impossibly brilliant man.

I’ll close with a quote I believe succinctly embodies Herzog in all his mystery and startling contradictions, offered in Les Blank’s painful Burden of Dreams (sadly offered only on the BFI set, though available also in a fantastic deluxe DVD edition from Criterion):

“Kinski says [the jungle] is full of erotic elements. It’s not so much erotic, but full of obscenity. Nature here is vile and base. I wouldn’t see anything erotic here. I see fornication and asphyxiation and choking, fighting for survival and growing and just rotting away. Of course there’s a lot of misery, but it’s the same misery that’s all around us. The trees are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I don’t think they sing; they just screech in pain. Taking a close look at what’s around us, there is some sort of harmony. It’s the harmony of overwhelming and collective murder. But when I say this, I say this all full of admiration for the jungle. It’s not that I hate it. I love it. I love it very much. But I love it against my better judgment.”

Here’s the link to that Shout deal:
Herzog: The Collection [Blu-ray]

NOTE: This link is for the Canadian version of the Amazon site. I can’t be certain what the final price might be after import duties, but consider in your calculations that the price for the set on Amazon.com is $40 USD more.