Having picked up Terminator 2 (Skynet Edition) on Blu-ray recently, I am now the proud owner of the Greatest Film Ever Made in no less than five different forms: pirated VHS, purchased VHS, director’s cut recorded from TV on VHS, Ultimate Edition DVD and finally this latest addition. I know you’re impressed. I am. After all, who wouldn’t want to have lots of different versions of what is essentially the same film, just with added bits here and there and different audio tracks or varying visual fidelity? Only a fool, quite clearly. Though I’m obviously not totally committed as I’ve missed out on a couple of other releases. I’ll blame a hangover, or something.
This made me think of all the times I’ve ‘traded up’ on something that really didn’t need to be changed or improved upon at all. One of the best examples was buying series one to four of South Park on their original UK releases, only to dump them when the American releases came about years later. Why? Umm… five minute commentaries on episodes? Yes, that’ll do as a reason, I’m sure. Granted, the UK versions were essentially retired at series four, but I’m sure even if I’d owned more of them I’d have been more than happy to trade up.
But why? What’s the point? Some barely-recognisable benefit over the original? Terminator 2 is the best example of this, with the Blu-ray release offering nothing over the mega-super-ultra DVD which was re-released about fifteen different times, beyond an increased visual quality that’s not that much of an increase over the upscaled DVD on my not-that-great TV.
And you know what? I couldn’t give two sods about it. I’m going to keep on buying these incremental updates to the movies I love. I would make that into a magical List of Three, with something like ‘movies I love, games I play and albums I listen to’ but, well – that would be a lie. It’s only movies that really get away with this behaviour. I’m still waiting on the Aliens series to be released on Blu-ray so I can upgrade my already upgraded-once-from-VHS-twice-from-DVD series, and as for Star Wars? Well that’s pushing into T2 territory for Most Updated award.
It could be argued that games fall into this trap, mind you, with the incremental yearly updates of sports games (and lately things like Call of Duty). I do tend to upgrade once a year, on the dot when something with next year in its title comes along. See: FIFA, Football Manager, Smackdown vs Raw etc. This, of course, ignores the likes of Resident Evil which – while it has been re-released countless times – hasn’t seen much in the way of incremental updates. More: no updates at all. I still haven’t let them off for the Gamecube versions of Resi 2 and 3.
It’s interesting, but I can’t be bothered analysing the behaviour or why I do it. Nor am I going to bother trying to correct it or limit it in any way. After all, they might release another version of Predator soon, and that’s something the whole world needs.