Why I'm not buying Shrek on DVD.


Categories: Personal

So, I really liked Shrek. Funny movie. And I might like Shrek 2.

But I can’t watch ‘em on DVD. I borrowed a copy of Shrek 2 to see whether I’d like it.

And the fuckers made it so you have to sit through long previews before you get to the main menu. You can’t just hit the menu button. Or the title button. Or the track skip button. Or anything. You just have to sit around being bored silly by a horrible ad for Shark Tale (they have now ensured I will never watch that movie), and then an ad for I don’t even know what with an unfunny comedian trying to pitch some badly animated animal movie with voice actors and unfunny lines.

And I got bored. So I gave up.

So, I dunno. Maybe the movie’s good. But if I’m gonna sit through previews before a movie, I’m gonna get hot, buttered, popcorn with it. Previews need to be an option you can go look at. Think about how this will age. Two years from now, when those movies are old and forgotten, will anyone anywhere care whether I see those previews? Will it bring in any business? If I were showing this movie to kids, do you think they’d be particularly enthusiastic about bad previews for movies they don’t want to watch?

Dreamworks has a rep for making good DVDs. At least, for making DVDs whose main menus are sorta cool, with lots of features. Great. How about the feature where I don’t have to get bored and insulted for several minutes before the movie even starts?

In the long run, I think it’s pretty clear that the DVD industry needs to drop the “operation prohibited” thing. I would pay a lot of money for a DVD player that simply did not ever honor the “no skip” flags. In fact, I have a free software one, and I may just start using that instead of commercial DVD players. But it’s a good feature, and it’s about time someone told the rest of the consortium that the consumers are the ones bringing money to the table, and that consumers don’t want stupid restrictions like that.

Edited to add: I sent in an informative email to the only contact I could find, the guy whose name was on the press release about the sales of Shrek 2 DVDs.

I noticed your name on a press release, after spending 20 minutes trying to find ANY CONTACT INFORMATION AT ALL on the Dreamworks site.

Some relatives of mine have Shrek 2 on DVD.

The version they have has the interesting quality that there is no way to get to the main menu without sitting through several minutes of parrticularly obnoxious previews for other movies.

Are you guys CRAZY? Is this some kind of sick practical joke? You may rest assured that I won’t buy this movie unless you come out with a DVD that I can actually watch. If I wanted to be stuck sitting through things of no interest to me before watching the thing I actually paid for, I’d be using a VCR, or maybe watching movies on cable. The whole point of DVD is that you can just hit a button and be at the main menu. Why not put some of that famous menu-design expertise to work making the previews accessible for the main menu?

Do you really, sincerely, think I want to spend my kids’ childhoods explaining to them that the reason they can’t watch Shrek for another five minutes is that some yutz at Dreamworks is trying to compensate for his flagging manhood by demonstrating his ability to force things on people?

Comments [archived]

From: Kris
Date: 2004-12-04 22:28:15 -0600

Okay, I choked laughing at the last two lines!

MY KINDA MAN! Pity you’re married.. oh wait so am I! hahahaha

Of course my kid watches his DVDs in Spanish( he doesnt speak it) so umm he’d probly never notice the ads.

And you aren’t missing much by NOT seeing Shark’s Tale.

Okay ‘nuff rambling… wanders off to write some more

From: greg
Date: 2004-12-08 07:58:52 -0600

Yes, I hate “no skip” flags. On Shrek 2, I was able to fast forward– and fast forwarding at 32x is decent. However, it still is a pain. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’ve rented a DVD or two where you can’t even do a fast forward on some initial tracks.

From: truthspeaker
Date: 2004-12-13 11:19:50 -0600

Man, that chaps my briefs. When you BUY a DVD, that you PAID FOR, you expect to buy the right to watch that visual program whenever you want and to control how you will watch it, whether skipping the opening credits, or the boring love scene, or the pointless sex scene, or whatever. But then some media company says, Oh No! You’re paying US money so we can tell you how to watch the program YOU bought!

On the plus side, it would probably be fairly easy to hack your own copy without the previews if you had a DVD burner and the appropriate software.