It’s old news, but I was both awed and disappointed by the recent “Transformers” movie. The special effects were mind blowing but, I assume, only because they dropped all of their Plot and Acting budgets into gorgeous robots. There, I said it.
But the reason I said it was because of some cutely coincidental articles that popped up this morning regarding high-resolution entertainment formats Blu-ray and HD-DVD.
First, during a trip to RottenTomatoes.com, there was a quick news clip about useless director extraordinaire Michael Bay:
Up until yesterday, Paramount and Dreamworks had supported both the HD DVD and Blu-Ray formats. The studios' announcement of going cold turkey on Blu Ray has prompted Bay to fire off a message board post (delicately titled "Paramount pisses me off!") in which the director writes:
"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For them to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks! They were progressive by having two formats. No Transformers 2 for me!"
Soon after, noticed an article on the New York Times website titled "Two Studios to Support HD DVD Over Rival"
Last week, the Walt Disney Company said it would release one of its best-known animated movies, “Sleeping Beauty,” on Blu-ray. “There is no longer any doubt that Blu-ray is the clear successor to standard DVDs,” said Bob Chapek, president of Disney’s home entertainment unit.
But money talks: Paramount and DreamWorks Animation together will receive about $150 million in financial incentives for their commitment to HD DVD, according to two Viacom executives with knowledge of the deal but who asked not to be identified.
Finally, to bring this silly story full circle, guess what Bay said, hours
after his original post (from his blog
Last night at dinner I was having dinner with three Blu-Ray owners, they were pissed about no Transformers Blu-Ray and I drank the kool aid hook line and sinker. So at 1:30 in the morning I posted - nothing good ever comes out of early am posts mind you - I over reacted. I heard where Paramount is coming from and the future of HD and players that will be close to the $200 mark which is the magic number. I like what I heard.
As a director, I'm all about people seeing films in the best quality possible, and I saw and heard firsthand people upset about a corporate decision.
So today I saw 300 on HD, it rocks!
So I think I might be back on to do Transformers 2!
It’s nice to see those incentives in action with such a direct link to cause and effect. For my part, I’ve chosen not to participate in the high-definition mess; it requires far too much investment for far less return. Of course Bay enjoyed “300” on HD-DVD: there’s hardly any noticeable difference between the new high-def formats and his seat must have been particularly comfy padded with a fat stack of cash.
I’m certain there will come a time when these new formats don’t seem stupid to me. Their price points will go down dramatically, the hardware required for viewing (including, but not limited to, high-def televisions and the high-def disk player) will do the same, they’ll figure out some tie-in with a video-game company and actually offer something new on their format.
Or, on the other hand, they could just fail. That would be just fine by me.