I have kind of heard this before, but only today have I gotten around to confirming it. Warner Bros Home Entertainment no longer supplies review discs—Blu-ray or DVD. Instead it has some kind of online facility which reviewers are supposed to use to view movies.
I’ve seen some silly ideas in my time, but that one takes the cake. Apparently it comes from corporate HQ back in the US.
In my reviewing my desire to be yet another prognosticator on cinematic values is held firmly in check. We’re talking about discs. The great majority of content has previously appeared at the cinema, and often has been very widely reviewed. If you are uncertain about the content or general quality of a movie, you can examine its entry at IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes or some other site.
Being human, in my reviews I do devote some space to what I think about the movie. After all, my insights are obviously worthwhile!
But what my reviews really offer is stuff about the disc. The quality of the transfer. The details of the extras. Oddities such as BonusView PIP content and so on. The type of audio used. And, increasingly, the effectiveness of the 3D content.
None of that is available from some online viewing platform. Not even quality.
Many a movie on Blu-ray consumes 20-30GB of space. Until very recently my monthly download limit was 12GB. It is now 50GB. I haven’t checked, but I assume they offer only a low bitrate standard definition version of the content. Even if they offered something comparable to the Blu-ray, though, there’s no way I could download my reviewing requirements.
So as far as Warner Bros goes, no more reviews from me, which means no more reviews in the three magazines for which I do reviews*. Warner Bros makes some glorious movies, and I shall buy them on Blu-ray for my own personal use, but other studios also make fine movies, and all of them (even 20th Century Fox has gotten over its NDA madness now) make review discs available to me. It would be tremendously unfair to bump their discs in order to fit in a Warner Bros one.
I will do so on the demand of an editor, of course, but otherwise, Warner Bros gets no reviews.
Meanwhile, thanks to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, I have a a ‘Testmold’ of Monster House on Blu-ray 3D to give away. I found this movie quite charming, and the 3D effect enhanced the quality of the movie. The disc has no label, no box and no slick. But its content is the same as a bought one. First to request it in comments may have it. Australian postal addresses only.
* Actually, I still intend to review Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (previously supplied by Warner Bros) when I have a free space in my reviews of music-related discs.