Grindhouse Blu’s Party Like it’s 2006
So, here’s a little slice of the Editor’s life. I live in the Pacific Northwest and work from home, traveling to Home Theater’s Los Angeles offices about a week per month to close each print issue. Last week and next week are back to back closes for HT’s December issue and the massive Buyer’s Guide annual. Coming home from these work trips, after catching up with the family my favorite ritual is opening up my stack of packages that inevitably arrive in my absence, which always includes my supplementary/impulse buys from Amazon. Yes, movies and music.
So, last night, arriving home for my weekend mini break between LA trips I open up a box from Amazon, and there she is, the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse Double Feature of Planet Terror and Death Proof. This, I thought, was awesome. While both films were released separately on Blu-ray in 2008, this release is loaded with new extras and presents the films back-to-back, as a full double feature, with spoof trailers before the first feature and after the second. This style of presentation is the Grindhouse ethic, hearkening back to the drive-in exploitation double features of the 1970’s. I dig this whole approach.
So, as I’m looking over this new 2-disc set late on a Friday night and trying to figure out if I’ve got three hours of consciousness in me, buzz kill! The soundtrack info says, and I quote, “English 5.1 Dolby Digital.” This can’t be. I run down stairs and grab my separate releases. Sure enough, Dolby TrueHD on the earlier releases. This has to be a mistake on the packaging. I rummage through and open the movie disc and pop it in. The logos start and the PS3’s Display shows Dolby Digital. I still hold a sliver of hope. Sometimes the logos are cut and pasted. I skip to chapter 3 of Death Proof. Feh! Sure enough, old-fashioned legacy Dolby Digital. What the hell is this, 2006 all over again?
I have no idea how a decision like this gets made. The entire runtime is 191 minutes, and while that’s long, it’s hard to imagine this was strictly a bit budget issue. So, Rodriguez/Tarantino fans, here’s your conundrum. The previously released discs feature extended cuts of each feature, and TrueHD lossless soundtracks, but lack some of the double feature coolness, trailers and some nice new extras. The new disc’s single glaring omission is lossless audio. Hey, ultimate picture and sound is the most important thing around these parts. I’m hosed, since I already bought this new set, but anyone else out there who already has the previous releases but was looking forward to this, caveat emptor.
I'm curious for your take on this. Are you more interested in the utmost in picture and sound, or the goodies and spiffy extras?