Saturday, June 28, 2008

Director Commentaries.

In the beginning of the decade I used to actually listen to the director's comments on DVDs. I've always had an interest in the creative process of filmmaking and so I thought they had something to offer me, something that would give the film I was watching a new dimension. So, I listened to John Carpenter discussing what he did in the making of "Halloween", I nodded with respect as Ridley Scott explained what he had intended in making "Blade Runner".

However, while director's comments were a novelty with the early release of DVD's they are now expected, and worse, the entire cast sometimes sounds off on the experience of the film. While I understand the value of listening to Carpenter discuss "Halloween" or Guillermo del Toro explaining what he was working on through "The Devil's Backbone" or "Pan's Labyrinth" , do I really need to understand the subtleties of "The Transformers", "Naked Gun" or "Bad Santa"? Really? Do I want to hear cast members sitting in a studio, drinking and recalling the pranks they pulled on one another or the childhood memories that made them the B Actors they are? Really?

Could you imagine writers doing the same? Think about reading a text annotated by the author himself. Annotation: "Yeah, I remember writing this paragraph. I'd just broken up with my girl and I was feeling a little self-destructive. I wrote the first two sentences in about a minute, but the remainder? A week of agonizing reappraisal.

With the advent of Blu-Ray and its increased capacity for data, once again the "extras" are coming into play. More "making of" features, more commentaries, and more of everything...except what people really want in most cases: compelling stories, riveting characters, and a satisfying emotional experience.

I'm done pontificating. I'm off to listen to the commentary on my copy of "Titanic". I'm feeling a little self-destructive.

5 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

When they first started doing these things I watched a Making of Planet of the Apes one and it was boring as hell. Since then I've watched one for Star Wars but never another until I watched the one about Team America. I was curious about the puppet stuff. For the most part I could care less what the director was thinking when he shot some scene in a particular way. Or what the actors had for dinner, or the silly pranks they played. Movies are generally bad enough without knowing all the behind the scenes crap.

Shade53 said...

I don't know that I've ever watched a 'making of' feature for exactly that reason. Though I did watch the historical pirate stuff on the first Pirates DVD. If the movie is good - I guess I don't really want to lose the magic and know the secrets. And if the movie is horrible - why would I want to suffer more?

SQT said...

Yeah. Like I need to know what Michael Bay thinks about anything...

Barrie said...

I started off listening to the director's, producer's, actors' comments (whatever was on the DVD). After a couple, though, I was kind of embarrassed for them. That said, this morning, I was staring out my kitchen window when a lizard caught my attention. I watched him run, then stop and sun for a while, then run, then stop and sun himself. By now, my coffee was cold, so I nuked it. All this activity led to my first sentence of the day. Ha! Totally tongue in cheek.:)

R.J. Keller said...

Julian Fellowes' screenwriters commentary on "Gosford Park" is actually very interesting.