I loved Up when I first saw it in theaters this summer, so I knew that I wanted to own it when it was released on DVD. I just wish Disney didn’t make it so difficult.
As is typical of their recent releases, they’re strongly pushing the Blu-ray edition, which comes with four discs: the standard DVD movie with extras, the digital copy disc (why? does anyone use these?), and two Blu-ray discs. Unfortunately for me, since I still see no reason to “upgrade” formats, the standard DVD with extras is no longer comparable in features to the Blu-ray. This is an incredibly disappointing decision. The more studios try to force customer “choice” to what benefits them, the less likely I am to succumb, and I don’t appreciate being treated like a second-class customer because I’m not willing to shell out more money for new equipment when what I have works just fine for me.
Then there’s the DRM-restricted “extra” that makes the standard version a “two-disc deluxe edition”. The second disc is nothing but the digital copy. I’m not interested, because I don’t want to watch a movie of great visual scope on a postage-stamp-sized screen. Thus, I got the two-disc pack. Because although you would think the single disc would be the same as the DVD in the two-disc pack, it lacks the director commentary and possibly the travel featurette. How confused does Disney want customers to be? Of course, you can’t be sure of this in the store, because Disney doesn’t list full contents on the back cover, leaving that phrase “and more” to cover who knows what.
Given that many places are discounting the Blu-ray version below the price of the special DVD edition — a choice I don’t understand, since I thought the point of pushing Blu-ray was to make up for declining DVD revenue — I really resent having to pay for a “digital copy” disc I didn’t want anyway. It used to be an extra bonus, something free to make it easy for those who wanted to watch the movie on the go, but now it looks like I’m having to pay more for a useless plastic disc.
Anyway, if one of the Amazon reviewers is correct, the first Blu-ray has the same extras as the DVD:
- The six-minute “Partly Cloudy” cartoon that ran with the movie in theaters, about a bad-luck stork and his cloud dispatcher.
- A new original five-minute cartoon, “Dug’s Special Mission”, in which the beloved pup tries to help his pack capture the bird in his usual clumsy fashion. It leads into the movie scene in which Dug meets Carl and Russell.
- “Adventure Is Out There”, 22 minutes, showing the crew traveling the amazing real-life locations that inspired Paradise Falls.
- “Alternate Scene: The Many Endings of Muntz” — Five minutes about possible different ends for the bad guy.
The second Blu-ray has all of the making-of material unavailable to DVD customers, showing interviews and sketches about the character designs for Carl, Russell, bird Kevin, the house, the balloons, and the dogs. Plus there’s a game and an alternate version of the opening married life sequence.
While I consider this movie the best Pixar has ever made, a beautiful meditation on loss and how to find new purpose in life, in terms of the DVD packaging, all I can say is “buyer beware”. They’re not interested in making it easy for you to watch what you want the way you want it. Let me make this clear, just in case Disney happens to be listening: withholding features from my preferred DVD format will not make me buy into Blu-ray. It will instead make me stop buying your DVDs. In my reviews, I would rather talk about how great the movie is and the insight the special features gave me into the creation of such a wonderful film, instead of having to wade through all this format crap just to figure out what I should buy. I wish Disney would support that.
So here’s why you should watch Up: Pixar is known for making very good funny movies, but Up makes it clear that they’re just as interested in other deep emotions. It was a huge dramatic gamble that they pull off in expert fashion. The idea of an old man and a Boy Scout taking a flying house to a South American jungle, rescuing a near-extinct species, and defeating a corrupt hero and his band of talking dogs sounds like a bad joke, but it’s a movie that will show you great insight into the human spirit and its sense of wonder.
I’m sure this piece sounds angry, but it’s really frustration. I don’t understand why Disney is being so heavy-handed about all this, given their core audiences. A lot of families don’t have the money to upgrade right now, and do kids really care what format they watch?