DVD Purchasing 101: April Decisions

On a personal level, I hold April 12th as one of those days in me-history that’s helped make me a better person. For the rest of you, it’ll be one of the more interesting DVD-Tuesdays we’ve had in a while.

While I’m sure a number of you can name a good handful of other releases to be looking out for in the coming days, three particular titles have caught my interest: The Incredibles, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, and of course The King’s Speech.

But, of course, being a poor college student that still has the decency to buy nice things when he can just so he can say he supports official releases, you can see the problem here. No way in hell would I ever buy all three in one go, but being able to buy at least one of them on release day would be enough to satiate my fanboy needs. So, like all complex conundrums in the world, things would be better if they were split up into easier, more digestible, chunks.

Let’s start off with the easier to deal with of the three: The King’s Speech. As much as I loved the movie (read: “loved the movie before it won for best film”) I will say that as a general rule of thumb, live action movie dramas are one of the first DVD releases to put on hold. As a whole, the expected demographic that would be interested in purchasing such a movie (as demonstrated by the demographic that was in the theater I was watching it in) are older types that aren’t as aggro about the things they’re interested in. And as such, this is without a doubt bound to be one of the better movies that will be getting a price drop in less than a year’s time.

On the complete polar opposite of the spectrum is the release for Deathly Hallows Part 1. WB, especially WB with a franchise as big as the Harry Potter series, absolutely loves milking what they’re presented with. Off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure the preceding HP films have at least five different releases, from standard releases, to boxed sets, to combined special edition boxed sets… It’s a franchise with so many different types of releases to choose from that best takes advantage of those aforementioned aggro fanboys with their quick-draw purchases. Add to this the highly likely fact that they will be releasing some kind of Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 set in the near future and this is definitely one of those times when the waiting game will pay off in the (short) long run… though that snazzy $16 Blu-Ray listing on amazon is tempting.

Enter the release for The Incredibles. Pixar has not only made an excellent job with their movies, but have also had an equally excellent track record when it comes to releases for said movies. The Incredibles’ initial release on DVD in 2005 still stands out to me as a release with special features that are just as good as the movie itself—having a commentary that actually keeps me interested throughout the entire movie including the credits definitely says something.

But wouldn’t already having such a release automatically null out any possibility of me daring to double dip with the upcoming Blu-Ray? Not necessarily. For one, I had the misfortune of getting the DVD release in full screen, which would be another beast entirely if you don’t get what the difference in aspect ratio means to film. Furthermore, it’s because of having the older release that I’d even have enough money to pay for this new release in the first place. As much as I hate Disney releases just because of that whole concept of “The Vault” keeping the prices for previous DVD releases at an all-time high, I will say that they do have their bases covered when it comes to double dip buyers. Currently, Disney’s movie rewards site has been giving out $10 discounts for double dip purchases, as long as you’ve got the UPC code for your older purchase, thus finally taking down the List Price in this case from a ridiculous $45 to Best Buy’s alright $25 to a downright cool $15. Of course, this is all relying on the fact that Best Buy will be willing to accept the coupon and all its vague limitations. Generally speaking, Disney/Pixar is fully aware that their films are awesome in smexy true 1080p and have been incredibly stingy with the price tag on most if not all of their releases because of such. So when it comes to getting any kind of deal on those titles, you take it even if it means brown-bagging it and biking to school if you have to. Yes, it’s that important.

Lionel Logue is to Ernie as George VI is to Bert: The King’s Speech Review

So I tried not writing about it since it’s not exactly in my self-given genre of focus, but the movie just spoke to me so much that I can’t help but give my two cents on it.

Since the dawn of time, it’s seemed like whenever a movie has been made taking place in a particular time period in history it’s always either focused on a particular war or tweaked to serve as a sort of teen movie from the past. And while I won’t say that movies like Platoon and American Graffiti have their merits, they were never movies I could watch again.

Enter The King’s Speech: a movie set in the 1930s about British King George VI. What about King George VI? Surely it’s not about some done to death themes on war mixed in with slice of life moments from that era, is it? Well, thankfully it wasn’t. As is becoming the new norm for more and more movies and the like, writers are beginning to take well known characters in our world, whether they be real-life kings or fictional superheroes and seeing them as your Normal-Joe type of character—time spent talking about the political world is given the back seat to the more heartwarming scenes simply involving the King as a husband, father, or good friend.

The movie focuses less on the political whatevers concerning the UK at the time and instead focuses more on King George’s (referred to throughout most of the movie as simply “Bertie”) problem stuttering. Such a condition is so commonplace and overlooked by many (seriously, who actually made an effort to have a long conversation with the stuttering kid in grade school?) but when applied to someone of such high status as a king, it makes for a unique form of entertainment.

Unsure who to turn to, Bertie’s wife (oddly enough played by none other than Helena Bonham Carter) finds a speech therapist in Lionel Logue. Logue is eccentric to say the least and plays off well alongside the straight-laced Bertie, as the two blend comical and serious dialogue together making for quite the interesting bromance. Yes, bromance. Setting the drama concerning the king’s lineage and everything else aside, The King’s Speech at its core is quite the interesting platonic tale of guy meets guy, even going through the standard plot points of king meeting speech therapist, king losing speech therapist, and king getting the speech therapist back. While it’s an odd direction to take things, it’s also an interesting one at that, taking things to an even more appealing level than the simple speech therapy montage that hooked me in the trailer.

I’m not that big on historical movies, but The King’s Speech does such an efficient job of weaving it alongside a quirky bromance that I can’t help but recommend it.

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