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Star Trek: Into Darkness INDEED

This past tuesday, Paramount released Star Trek: Into Darkness to home formats, including DVD, Blu-Ray, and various digital markets. Not surprisingly, retailers, both physical and digital, received exclusive content, packaging, and bonus sets to try to snare consumers. This is certainly nothing new, but Paramount’s handling of this, one of their biggest releases of 2013, has given its name some much added weight, and irony.

In the USA, Star Trek fans have no less than seven different packages of the movie to choose from. You have your 2D, 3D, combo packs available at every store, and from there, things get ugly. Target, Bestbuy, and Walmart all have their own special versions of the movie to offer, each with their own bonuses. Now, having exclusive extras is done with practically every major release these days, but STID (It sounds like a fancy disease!) takes things one step further. This isn’t a case of everyone getting the same set of bonuses with one retailer snagging a special bonus featurette. Instead, they just cut the bonuses right down the middle between Target and BestBuy. Sure, everyone is still getting some 30 minutes of features, but the vast majority of what are usually home release norms have been excluded to be part of these retailer exclusives. On top of that, many of the exclusives require using online services to access them, with some being nowhere in sight on this side of the hemisphere. For example, all signs point to Australia being the only territory to get deleted scenes and Germany as the only country to get the IMAX version of the film.  What about Walmart? They get a Hotwheels model of the Vengeance. I have not seen this model in person, so I cannot comment on its quality, but its Hotwheels, so don’t hold your breath.

This isn’t the first case of such a wallet sucking spread of features. It makes me remember some of the other blatant cash grab lashings of the consumers major home releases have pulled off in the past. Remember Avatar? That movie’s first home release really took advantage of people waiting with bated breath, as it was only the movie. People that couldn’t wait shelled out 30 dollars, and got the barest of discs. It wasn’t until months later a new 2 disc set was released with bonus features, and it was even longer still before a 3D release came out.

Another example is the Harry Potter Ultimate edition releases. These blu-ray and DVD releases came in large book style cases. Year 1 through 7. Rather than have each year’s set include special features for that movie, however, they instead had each one include all of the features of a certain type for all eight movies (or however many had been released at that point). This baffling choice was only made worse when WB abandoned the idea of extended cuts of the films after the 3rd year of these releases, making movies 4-8 the same old deal you saw in the theaters.

So, Star Trek: Into Darkness has take a new spin on a very old trick, one that could stand to further alienate an already divided fan base. This treatment of the fans, and yes, something this is only hurting the fans, as basic consumers aren’t going to care, really is taking the series Into Darkness. Retail Darkness.


Square Enix Can Make the Ultimate Dream

Yes, thanks to Disney, all this can be in one game.

Yes, thanks to Disney, all this can be in one game.

Square Enix and Disney have a long standing deal to make a series of games with the name Kingdom Hearts. Back when it was first announced, I remember cringing and wondering what kind of magical mushrooms SE ate to make such a deal. Disney and Final Fantasy in the same game? What? It sounded like some kind of joke at the time, but now it’s one of the hottest franchises in Japan, and a growing fan base world wide. There’s just been one problem, Kingdom Hearts 2 came out eight years ago, and there’s no sign of Kingdom Hearts 3.

KH3 will happen. SE has said as much, and the game’s mastermind, Tetsuya Nomura has also said so. A lot has changed with SE and Disney since then. Back when KH2 hit, it was simply Disney and SE, and SE had infact neglected any Enix side of their company for the game. Now, SE owns Eidos, the studio behind Deus Ex and Tomb Raider. Disney owns Marvel and now Lucas Films. Let me put it into perspective here, Ironman vs Darth Vader, Lara Croft vs Indiana Jones, Jack Sparrow vs Han Solo, Thor vs Dark Force Lightning, Luke Skywalker vs Cloud Strife, Tron bikes vs Air Speeders. All of that awesomeness can be put into one game. All of it, and more.

The world is still waiting for any Kingdom Hearts 3 announcements, but when it happens, Disney and SE could bring childhood bliss into reality like no one ever thought possible.

When Dreams Become Reality

The impossible has come true, thanks to Disney.

The impossible has come true, thanks to Disney.

Back in October, Disney blew our minds when it acquired Lucas Films and announced Episode VII-IX on the same day. It was one of those times when you saw the news and had to check first if you were dreaming, and then if it was actually April 1st, and you blacked out 6 months of memory. Now, it’s happening all over again.

After months of searching, rumors, and people bowing out, Disney found their director in one J. J. Abrams. Yes, the same man in charge of the current run of Star Trek films is also now the man in charge of the new Star Wars trilogy. It’s Star Wars versus Star Trek in a very strange way, a way even the most imaginative kids only dared to dream about. Oddly enough, it also continues a rather strange relationship between Paramount and Disney that started when the Big D acquired Marvel.

There are many things that are often talked about as the dream team of team-ups, cross-overs, and genre defining rivals.  Street Fighter vs Mortal Combat, Marvel vs DC, Mario vs Sonic, Star Wars vs Star Trek. Slowly, but surely, the new age of entertainment has brought some of those clashes together. Marvel and DC are preparing to duke it out in 2015 with Avengers 2 squaring off with the first Justice League movie. Mario and Sonic have teamed up since Sega dropped out of the hardware race. And now Star Wars and Star Trek will battle it out for sci-fi fan base supremacy.

This is causing science fiction fans to either cheer, jeer, or enter a speculative meditation over which side of the coin they fall on. As someone that grew up watching both, I can tell you this is an exciting time. Star Trek has been brought into the mainstream brilliantly, and now Star Wars has a chance to be given new life in the same way. Lines are sure to be drawn, but for the space movie junkie, there’s rarely been such a bright future in the dark expanse.

Oh, and I uploaded my little photoshop so you can click on it to see the full size version and use as you please.

We’re All Made of Stars

Remember when movies and television shows used to show quotes from magazine and newspaper reviews? Those little tidbits were used to sell the products to people on the fence. Better movies and shows had more, better quotes. It was a simple system that allowed the viewers to make quick decisions on whether or not they wanted to pay attention, or even look into watching. That system is officially broken.

Today, we have those same commercials running, but they no longer provide snippets from reviews. Instead, they run quotes from twitter, made from anyone and everyone they could find. A flood of quotes can and will dominate the entire screen for anything that chooses to do it. Every product, show, movie, and what-have-you will be able to make itself look like the next grand slam since sliced bread. The truth is, no matter how bad something is, it can find enough good comments about it on twitter to make it shine like polished gold.

There is something to be said about user input. It allows us to connect and share our opinions on matters. This is something that is good. When that good is taken, and twisted in such a way to sell a product aggressively, it becomes something very bad.  Keep your guard up, because that devil on your shoulder has a new ally.