A NEW RECORD FOR "BARE-BONES" DVDs...
(well, at least of those I own.)
I was at the HMV in the Rideau Centre on Saturday, shopping for a Father's Day gift. One film from last year he finds himself watching repeatedly on The Movie Network is the remake of The Stepford Wives, so I thought I might get him that, but, surprisingly, the DVD was like $40 Canadian (and it was the normal version, nothing extra). So, instead, I got him Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, which I think he'd enjoy, being more straightforward than The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (though Howard Hughes' descent into paranoid dementia gets a little "weird" towards the end, which is, of course, the point).
Anyway, while I was there, I decided to check if they had Cloak & Dagger, the 1980s children's spy thriller that actually has the guts to show violence with serious consequences. It's a long-forgotten 1980s kid's movie that deserves as much recognition as The Goonies, as both films do not underestimate the intelligence of children viewers and also both films really pushed the envelope as to what's considered acceptable to show in an (older) children's movie. (I get the idea that they just wouldn't do a kid's flick with a statue penis joke today... too risqué.) If you ever want to have a 1980s kid's film "theme night", Cloak and Dagger and The Goonies would make a great double feature.
Sure enough, HMV had Cloak & Dagger, and, although it's a recent DVD release, the price was only $12 Canadian. I wondered why it was priced at almost a direct-to-bargain-bin price-point.
I found out when I put the DVD in the player.
I was expecting a bare-bones presentation, but, after the legal stuff and the Universal logo, the movie immediately started. So it's a "plug-in-and-play" DVD. I have a couple of those. But I wanted to know what they did for the menu, so I pressed the "Menu" button, and just got the icon for "not available". Then I tried the "Top Menu" button... same thing. There is absolutely nothing in the way of "features" on this DVD, not even a fricking menu! I wasn't expecting a huge multimedia presentation for the menus, but I was just expecting a static shot of the cover or something. Those are very easy to do. My brother's even done one for a DVD of his film school films. There's no alternate language audio, but I don't know if this is the sort of film that ever got dubbed in French in the first place. There are chapter stops, but you have to access them using the "SKIP" buttons, or, for those of you that have mastered every single button on the remote control, the search and chapter buttons.
Not that I'm complaining. I'm just happy to get a copy of the film with a decent anamorpic widescreen transfer (not the best transfer I've ever seen, as the colours look a bit "soft", but, for a 1980s kid's movie that gets an ultraminimalistic treatment on DVD, it looks better than I'd expected), this being the first time I've ever seen it in a non pan-and-scan format.
Just, since there are no extras, they probably didn't use all the available storage space on the DVD. Hmm... maybe there IS something else hidden on the DVD. That must be why the old woman with the two fingers missing and her husband were following me!