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Unrated versions on DVD and not giving us a choice
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 01.07.2006 7:27 pm    Post subject: Unrated versions on DVD and not giving us a choice Reply with quote

With the "unrated version" DVD explosion at an all-time high, I've noticed an infuriating trend: those of us who prefer to watch films in their original aspect ratio are not given a choice between the theatrical version and the unrated version. It's unrated or nothing. OK, so maybe only one studio is guilty of this, as far as I know. But Universal has done this with recent and upcoming DVD releases such as Land of the Dead, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Cry_Wolf, and Doom. If you like butchered pan-and-scan editions, you have a choice between the theatrical and unrated versions, but if you gotta have widescreen -- that is, if you actually care about the proper presentation of movies -- you're stuck with the unrated cut only.



Now, this wouldn't be much of a problem if all unrated versions were superior to their PG-13- and R-rated theatrical-version counterparts. But that's not the case. I'll take the lean, mean theatrical cut of Land of the Dead over the unrated version with the well-executed-but-pace-stalling Cholo scene and all the distractingly obvious CGI blood spurts. And while I haven't seen The 40-Year-Old Virgin yet, online word of mouth suggests that fans who saw it at the movies don't like the unrated version nearly as much as the original; the unrated cut is 17 minutes longer and some fans feel that it's littered with nasty, unnecessary gags that diminish the likable charm the movie had in its original form. I'll never get to see the original version that everyone liked so much -- at least not all of it, since that version is only available in full screen.



Interestingly, Universal did the opposite with their DVD release of Unleashed. In full screen, only the R-rated theatrical cut is available, while both the theatrical and unrated versions are available in widescreen. That's how it should be done: give those of us who actually care about the proper presentation of movies a choice.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.07.2006 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too am frustrated by this trend--essentially it means that theatrical versions aren't available at all, since fullframe versions aren't even close approximations. Discouragingly, your comments about fan reaction to The 40-Year-Old Virgin confirm my worst fears. I haven't purchased it yet because I worried that the unrated version would damage the pacing, but worse, insert nasty jokes that tarnish the good-natured tone of the theatrical release--in other words, tarnish the very quality that made me love the movie in the first place. I guess I'll wait for the inevitable "special" DVD rerelease that lets me actually see what I remember.



Seems to me the best way to avoid consumer confusion is to always include both fullframe and widescreen versions with every set--or, better yet, do away with fullframe altogether.



Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 01.07.2006 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if it would do any good, but maybe if enough movie fans contact Universal Studios Home Entertainment with their displeasure over this trend they'll do something about it. Because of this stupid tactic, I probably won't be seeing The 40-Year-Old Virgin at all. Way to go, Universal.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.07.2006 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
I don't know if it would do any good, but maybe if enough movie fans contact Universal Studios Home Entertainment with their displeasure over this trend they'll do something about it. Because of this stupid tactic, I probably won't be seeing The 40-Year-Old Virgin at all. Way to go, Universal.


Actually, I sent them a few words right after posting in this thread. Can't hurt.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 01.09.2006 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Add Dark Water to that list. Between that and Virgin, two movies I really wanted to buy, I'm totally bummed.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 01.09.2006 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Add Dark Water to that list. Between that and Virgin, two movies I really wanted to buy, I'm totally bummed.




In the case of Dark Water, the unrated version is actually a couple of minutes shorter than the theatrical version. The reason being, so I've heard, that the director was in a rush to finish the film for its release and wasn't entirely happy with the theatrical cut. So for the DVD, he tightened things up and made some minor changes. A few folks on the IMDb message board for the film have said that the changes are so subtle they couldn't tell the difference. So, in this case, I'll gladly check out the unrated cut, since it's probably an improvement on the theatrical version, and not much different. Still, it'd be nice to have the theatrical cut available as well: we should have a choice.



I say we blame George Lucas for this annoying trend.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.09.2006 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In regards to the R-rated widescreen version of 40-Year-Old Virgin:



Quote:
Dear Mr. Beltman,



Thank you for contacting us. No release date has been announced for this title. Unfortunately, no further information is available. For a listing of upcoming releases, please check our website periodically at:



http://universalstudioshomeentertainment.com/index.html.



We appreciate your interest and hope that you will continue to enjoy Universal products.





Um, thanks.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 01.09.2006 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
The reason being, so I've heard, that the director was in a rush to finish the film for its release and wasn't entirely happy with the theatrical cut. So for the DVD, he tightened things up and made some minor changes.


Didn't know that. Good news, I think.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 01.10.2006 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My original thought was that maybe we'd be able to find the original cut of 40YO on R2, but I guess the Unrated cut is actually the regular one over there because sex-related material is rarely rated over a 15 in the UK.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 01.23.2006 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Universal came to their senses!



Come tomorrow, The 40-Year-Old Virgin will also be available in its original theatrical version (widescreen, R-rated). It's listed on Universal Studios Home Video's January release slate, and you can order it from Amazon.com. I can only assume that consumer feedback and published reviews convinced them to get this one out so quickly. How silly do they feel for not releasing this one last month with the three other DVD editions?



Unfortunately, Netflix will still only stock the unrated version.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.24.2006 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
Wow! Universal came to their senses!



Come tomorrow, The 40-Year-Old Virgin will also be available in its original theatrical version (widescreen, R-rated). It's listed on Universal Studios Home Video's January release slate, and you can order it from Amazon.com. I can only assume that consumer feedback and published reviews convinced them to get this one out so quickly. How silly do they feel for not releasing this one last month with the three other DVD editions?



Unfortunately, Netflix will still only stock the unrated version.


Driving home from grad school tonight, I passed Blockbuster and thought to myself, "I'm still bummed that Universal hasn't released the R-rated 40 Year Old Virgin." Once home I hop on the PC, and this news is the first thing I read! Cool.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 01.24.2006 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Driving home from grad school tonight, I passed Blockbuster and thought to myself, "I'm still bummed that Universal hasn't released the R-rated 40 Year Old Virgin."




Dude, after the hyphen controversy I expect everyone (especially English teachers) to correctly hyphenate this title by now. Laughing
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 01.24.2006 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
Dude, after the hyphen controversy I expect everyone (especially English teachers) to correctly hyphenate this title by now. Laughing




The article also raises a point which I found on an old OFCS post earlier tonight and should raise to our resident Engligh teacher: serial commas, yes or no?
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 01.24.2006 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if we really want to take it to the extreme, then shouldn't we be spelling out "Forty" too?
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 01.24.2006 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Dujsik wrote:
The article also raises a point which I found on an old OFCS post earlier tonight and should raise to our resident Engligh teacher: serial commas, yes or no?




As a writer and editor, I say yes. The Associated Press Stylebook says no, but The Chicago Manual of Style, Fowler's Modern English Usage, and The Elements of Style say yes. The style guides of most newspapers and magazines are based on AP's guidelines, so they usually don't use serial commas, but they're still the norm in book editing and publishing. I love my serial commas and it kinda bugs me when they're omitted.
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