Deluxe DvD Packaging – The Good, the Bad, and the Baffling

I wanted to take some photos to accompany this blog post, but I’m plain too lazy, so you’ll just have to make to with your imaginations, or Google.

As far as I’m concerned: deluxe DvD cases and super-special editions are getting out of hand.

The Good

First off the rank: how to do deluxe packaging correctly.  I wanted to kick this party off on a high note, so let’s take an example of how to make deluxe packaging work.

Exhibit A: Watchmen, 2-disc Collectors Edition.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to buy Watchmen on DvD, while it was an excellent movie, I wasn’t sure I would re-watch it too many times.  But never let it be said that I’m not a complete sucker for loyalty bonuses, giveaways, and special offers. So when I laid eyes on the sleek metal case, I was sold. 

This is a great example of how to do special cases right: the metal case is the same size as a conventional DvD case (this is extremely important), and the actual insert – the bit that the DvD clips to – was built into the metal case.  The final effect was attractive, and didn’t need special treatment to be placed on the shelves with my other DvDs.

Exhibit B: Trinity Blood, Season One Collection.  This is one of the rare cases when a DvD case that is not identical in dimension to a conventional case is acceptable.  In this case, the DvD is the correct height and width, but with added girth to hold all six discs.

These cases do have the considerable downside of being quite expensive (where as collecting disc by disc spreads that cost out over several months), plus you have to wait until the full series has run its course before they are released.  The big plus lies in the fact that even if you have a dedicated shelf or two for your anime collection, you don’t have to be a Tetris Master to try and make all your DvDs fit (personally, I have standard cases, cases in sleeves, foldable cardboard contraptions in sleeves, cases in boxes, and non-standard cases; an organisational nightmare).

So, if it’s that easy to produce good deluxe editions, how is the industry screwing up so badly??

The Bad

These are DvD cases that are silly or unnecessary.

Exhibit C: Wall-E.  Now, before you get all up-in-arms, this is only a complaint against the packaging.  I am a Wall-E fan, there’s no denying, and though the packaging was cute, it finds a place on my shame list of “what not to do when selling DvDs”.

The Wall-E packaging (I won’t call it a case, cause it wasn’t) was a slim-line cardboard slip, so we’re already in dangerous territory.  Slim-line is okay with me, you might have gathered from Exhibit B that as long as the height and width dimensions match, then you get a pass.  It’s the cardboard slip that I take issue with.  I don’t like CDs and DvDs in cardboard.  I just don’t.  Maybe I’m weird, but it seems wrong to me.

But to make matters worse, the Wall-E packaging did this adorable pull-out design.  Cute, but wholly impractical.  There were two cardboard sleeves that could be pulled out from either side of the slip cover.  I get where they’re going, but the sleeves have this nasty habit of “falling out” if you tipped the packaging the wrong way.  And considering there was one on either side, the “wrong” way was anything other than completely horizontal.

Exhibit D: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, EzyDvD Preorder.  This certainly isn’t the only offending DvD, but it’s the only one in my personal DvD collection.  EzyDvD has been going around offering “limited edition” metal “cases” if you pre-order certain (read: most) DvDs.  These utterly useless examples of excessive packaging are metal tins that you put the DvD case into.

Basically, you take a perfectly good, normal  “>DvD case and stick in a box that makes your DvD a different size to all the other perfectly good, normal DvD cases already on your shelf.  I mean, it’s not like you’re going to hang the cases off the wall, or turn all of your special edition preorder collector tins to the front on your shelf so everyone can admire them.

For the record, EzyDvD were also offering kitschy Indiana Jones notebooks with leather-look cover.  I use that as my go-everywhere writing notebook.

Special Mention: Transformers (multiple editions).  This goes in the special mention category because I don’t own any of the offending versions.  If I recall correctly (I may have missed a release or two), there have been no less than 5 different editions of the first Transformers movie.  The first was the basic edition, normal DvD case, all good.  The second was the collectors edition, which came in a bitching metal case, like our good example of Watchmen (sadly, I lost this copy in the “divorce”).  The third was the “collectors” edition, where the DvD was attached to some bizarre contraption of plastic that look vaguely like Optimus Prime (or Bumblebee, I’m counting those 2 as a single release). These were marketed as “transforming” cases: a nifty idea, if they could have pulled it off.  In reality, they were just stripped down DvD boxes with some plastic stuck on with hinges.

Having already lost style points for releasing three versions of the same DvD, it was decided that with the upcoming release of the sequel, offering the same boring releases we’d already seen, two whole new DvD packages were required to tempt the public into expanding their DvD collection.  The standard edition – which is what I bought to replace my missing metal-case version was fine, but the so-called “deluxe” or “collectors” version was the same thing: with a transformers mask.

At least, it was supposed to be a mask.  It was the same size as a DvD case, which made it impractically small, even for children.  And, the proportions were off.  SHAME, shame on you Transformers.

The Just Plain Baffling

I’m not a fan of slip covers.  They are flimsy, they get bent or damaged (usually while trying to put the DvD back into them), and generally don’t add anything of value to your collection*.  But all in all, a cardboard slip cover is really the least in crimes against DvD collections.  Which brings me to the worst offender of the bunch.

* Notable exceptions include the collector’s edition of the original Hellboy movie, in which the bonus disc was in a separate case, and a slip cover was used to keep the two cases and the bonus booklet together.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2-disc Collectors Edition.  It seems like there’s nothing good I can say about Origins/Wolverine, apart from the fact that Hugh Jackman was in it (and even that was not without its own hiccups).  But when it comes to bad promotional packaging, this DvD goes beyond the bad and into the realms of sheer absurdity.

As a resident of the slightly backwards Land Down Under, I have to wait for a lot of things.  We get cinema releases late (unless it’s a world-wide release, then we get them about half a day before America, on accounts of we live in the future), we get DvD releases (up to a month) late, and – worst of all – we get game releases late.

This is completely relevant to my story, shut up.

I’ve recently started following Marvel on twitter (about the same time as the merger/buy out went through with Disney), and when they announced the release of more of my favourite X-Men cartoons and the Origins movie on DvD, I went a-hunting for the Australian release dates.  Which is how I found myself at the EzyDvD website.

It was sheer laziness that saw me ordering all 5 DvDs from their website.  Why go to the store when someone can mail what you want right to you?

Because it was a pre-order, I automatically got the “you get a free tin with this DvD purchase YAY!!!”, there might be a way to opt-out of that, but what the hey, it’s Wolverine after all.

My DvD (the X-Men cartoons arrived weeks ago, for some reason even though they were release on the same day in the US, they were released 3 weeks apart here) arrived yesterday.  Perhaps I wasn’t paying quite enough attention when I placed my order, but much to my bemusement, not only was my DvD delivered with a silly metal tin, but also in a metal slip cover.

What??

Straight up: slip covers are stupid, but harmless.  Metal slip covers are stupid, make the DvD the wrong size for shelving, are completely impractical, and did I mention stupid?  Because metal doesn’t have the same forgiving nature as cardboard, the slip cover is a pain to use, as “sliding” the DvD case in or out of the slip cover is extremely difficult.

Not to mention that the metal slip case makes the whole deal about a millimeter too wide to fit in the stupid collectors tin they sent me.  Not that I approve of the idea of taking the slip over out of the box to take the case out of the slip cover to get the DvD out of the case.  It’s a DvD, not a freaking babushka doll.

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~ by ghostwolfe on October 14, 2009.

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