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October 12, 2002
Alias Book + DVD - Sexy DVDs and Spirited Away!

After a bit of a Summer Hiatus - Our Week in DVD is back with musings and thoughts on the world of DVDs and Movies.

New Music - CD + DVD
With the popularity of DVD soaring, we're starting to see DVDs pop-up in more and more places. One of the most notable places we're starting to see DVDs (outside of movies) is as companions to music CDs. The so called 'Bonus DVD' seems to be the carrot record companies are using to encourage fans who might otherwise 'download' the music to go out to their music store and pick up the CD/DVD. Recent notable CD/DVD releases include chart toppers The Eminem Show by Eminem and Busted Stuff from the Dave Matthews Band. So far the CD/DVD combo has been a hit, with many combos debuting high on the music charts. The side tactic record companies are using is to only releases a 'limited' number of these combos so that fans will rush out and buy them the first week. It's the same philosophy when a theatrical movie plays on 3 or 4 screens per theater it's opening week. As that crucial opening week for CD, DVD and Theatrical seems to be king.

Alias Book with DVD
This week DVD turned up in another interesting place - as a companion to a book. With the popularity of TV on DVD, it's no surprise to see a DVD pop-up in the hot off the presses Alias Declassified: The Official Companion book. Unfortunately ABC/Disney hasn't yet taken the cue from Fox to get moving on releasing their TV properties on DVD, and I'm sure more Alias fans would prefer the first season on DVD vs. a companion book and supplemental DVD.

The concept of a companion DVD to a book is an interesting one and the Alias Declassified DVD is a peek at the direction it could go with: A teaser of the first season, Interviews with each key member of the cast (but not the crew or show creators), and show notes detailing out both the characters back history and the actors biographies and a few goodies on the DVD-ROM side - screensavers and wallpapers.

The unfortunate thing about Alias Declassified: The Official Companion DVD is that it doesn't go far enough. A DVD provides the ability to provide so much content, it would have been great to have more making-of, interviews with the crew, and perhaps even the pilot episode. But imagine how far they really could go. Imagine if you were reading the book about the design about a particular scene or how they shot it, and then could view that on the companion DVD.... That would really be something! But I'm getting ahead of myself (and the industry), the fact is it's great to see a book with a companion DVD and although a little light on content Alias Declassified DVD is well designed, produced and a nice treat for Alias fans.

Sexy DVDs
Every year Playboy Magazine does a round up of the year in 'Sex in Cinema'. From their piece 2002 looked like it was one 'sexy year'. Many of the movies featured either are on DVD or are coming on DVD soon. Of course one of the top films featured is Y Tu Mama Tambien which makes it's way on to DVD this month (10/22) in both a rated and unrated version. Other DVDs to make the list include Original Sin (also a MGM DVD and also with an unrated DVD release), Queen of The Damned, CQ , Swordfish, Training Day, Vanilla Sky, The Tailor of Panama, American Pie 2, Mulholland Drive, Rock Star and , Shallow Hal. (note to self, using a Playboy article for work, finally found a way to get a business deduction for it...)

Go Tigers! Director Talks Back
We get a lot of great feedback for our DVD Reviews, but it's always a thrill to have the director of a film e-mail us about a review. This week we had a fascinating exchange with Go Tigers! Director Kenneth Carlson who was taken aback by Gil Jawetz's review.

I read your review of 'Go Tigers!' and... just like you stated in your review: you spent most of your time on the bench -- sounds like your writing career is not unlike to your football career. Then again, you probably didn't need me to tell you that...

Several e-mails later I got to the root of the issue. Theatrically Go Tigers! got every rave you possibly could think of, but on DVD it's been a different story. Which begs the question: Do certain movies play better or worse on the big screen than the small screen? My first inclination would be that Documentaries would play BETTER on DVD... but maybe I'm mistaken. Carlson did have some passionate advice for critics:

It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. Go and make a film, then criticize

Props to the man who is so passionate about his work and convictions... But still, I am very curious What the heck did happen to all those 'other' (29 other to be exact) Obies!?!

Ed. Note: After posting the note from the Go Tigers Director I received this email from an informed DVD Talk Reader:
I read the new front page regarding the Directors reply to your review of 'Go Tigers!' I certainly hope that THE MAN IN THE ARENA reply that he sent to you does not get credited to him. That's an old speech by Teddy Roosevelt that, if he did not credit, he is falsely passing on as his own.

Spirited Away - You'll Thank Me For Tell You To Go See This Movie
If you've been following DVD Talk for a while you know that we're huge fans of Hayao Miyazaki. Back when Princess Mononoke was announced for DVD we helped lead the fight to get Buena Vista to include the original Japanese audio track on the DVD (which they ultimately did). So I'm sure it's going to come as a small shock to some of you to hear that we absolutely LOVED the english dub version of Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi) which is now playing in theaters. Supervised by Toy Story Director and Pixar Guru John Lasseter Spirited Away sports the best single english dub of any movie I've seen to date. Now don't get me wrong, I also really enjoyed watching the Japanese version (which I saw on a REGION 3 DVD) but I got so much more out of the english dub. It literally opened up a part of this amazing story which wasn't as appearant in the subtitled version.

Having said all that I do hope Disney releases both versions when it comes time to release Spirited Away on DVD in the US. If you happen to be lucky enough to live in a city where Spirited Away is playing in Digital Projection (DLP) you owe it to yourself to see this movie in the theaters in Digital Projection. I was fortunate enough to catch Spirited Away in DLP and I can say it was one of the most breath taking moviegoing experiences in recent memory. Spirited Away is simply a great film and you'll thank me for telling you to go see it... See The Aisle View Review of Spirited Away as well as long time DVD Talk Review Aaron Beierle's Rave Review!

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