Royale Ripoff?

First, the facts: Sony Pictures will release a Blu-ray two-disc "collector's edition" of Casino Royale on October 21. This date coincides with a new DVD re-issue.

The technical specifications of the new set will be similar to the previous Blu-ray edition, released in March 2007. The title will be presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 video and uncompressed PCM 5.1 Surround audio. New to the special edition, there will be a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround option.

Now, the commentary: This is fabulous news, and also disturbing. It is yet another example of a trend that is becoming all-too-familiar. First, a studio releases a film on DVD or Blu-ray, with essentially no bonus features. Then, a short while later, a deluxe edition appears. What do they think we are? Stupid?

It's not like the bonus material was suddenly uncovered like King Tut's tomb. We all know that the bonus stuff was already on the shelf back in March 2007; hell, the release date of the "collector's edition" was probably already on the schedule. We also all know that the first release was intentionally skimpy, just to increase the selling potential of the next release.

Sure, Casino Royale is property of Sony Pictures, and they can do anything they want with it. They can even choose not to release the film on DVD or Blu-ray (I'm sure the shareholders would appreciate that). But come on - let's be fair. Or at least a little less blatant. Not everyone out there is a fanboy who slavishly buys every new version. We just want titles with decent content. Not a string of incrementally "improved" versions.

The specs, if you want 'em are here: Cast & crew audio commentaries; documentaries ("Becoming Bond," "James Bond: For Real," "Bond Girls are Forever"); a pair of featurettes ("The Road to Casino Royale," "Ian Fleming: The Secret Road to Paradise"); six deleted scenes; two storyboard presentations; filmmaker profiles; the Chris Cornell music video for "You Know My Name." The title will also feature an e-Movie Cash ticket for the upcoming Bond flick, 'Quantum of Solace.' Suggested list price is $38.95.

From now on, not only am I not going to the theater to see films, I'm also not buying them when they are released on Blu-ray, the first, second, or third time. I'll wait until the Director's Cut Deluxe Collector's Edition is available. -Ken C. Pohlmann

Photo credit: Sony Pictures