Friday, May 02, 2014

In which I join the race of Blu

I blame William Friedkin for dragging me screaming into the age of Blu-Ray.

I had intended to hold out for as long as possible, partially out of pique at the expectation that I put up with yet another platform shift, and partially out of conviction that in five years or so, there will be yet another development in the way home media is consumed that renders both Blu-Ray and DVD obsolete. But Friedkin (and Warner Brothers) have created a situation where it just doesn't make any sense to hold out any longer. Even without the requisite fancy hi-def TV, it simply made no sense to continue without a Blu-Ray player.

For anyone who has missed the action thus far, last week Warner Brothers released a botched DVD of Sorcerer. Primed to own this restored version of the film, when I discovered that the DVD was an unwatchable hack-job, I bought the Blu-Ray instead, despite being unable to play it. William Friedkin leapt into action, denouncing the DVD release and promising it would be recalled; apparently a new DVD is now in the process of being manufactured and distributed.

Here's the thing: owning the Blu-Ray, I now can do one of two things to see this film in its proper aspect ratio (short of, say, pirating it or waiting for a theatrical screening or so forth). I can buy the DVD when it comes out, spending no doubt some $10-15 for it...

...or buy a used Blu-Ray with RCA cable compatibility at a local electronics shop for $20, and just watch the Blu I now already own.

So I did the latter. I still like my multi-region, PAL-friendly set-up at home too much to change my own player, but Mom's DVD player doesn't work that well anyhow, and could stand an upgrade. So that's where I hooked it up, and where I will now watch those few films I have acquired only in Blu (or been meaning to acquire that way, but dragging my feet since I had no way to play them). Like, say, The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vincente Fernandez (review pending).

The irony of it all is that I had such an exhausting day that, even with a Blu-Ray player hooked up, I had no stamina to take in Sorcerer anyhow. Mom and I watched a Blu of The Incredible Melting Man, instead - a strange mixture of gooey body horror, Icarus-myth pathos, and misanthropic resentment at the normal world (whom we constantly see through the eyes of the afflicted titular melter), delivered with a host of bad b-movie conventions, terrific Rick Baker gore effects, and sometimes unintentionally funny dialogue (as when the protagonist urges a cop to not "tell anyone, not even your wife" about the melting man, and the cop - shaking our hero's hand - smiles and says, "you know I'm not married." Eww!) Even Mom at one point turned to me and said, "It is kind of... amusing?" (She couldn't find a better word than that; I sympathized).

We'll probably get to Sorcerer tomorrow...

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