In this column, I mourn the downsizing of home video bonus features:
I’ve been really enjoying exploring the recent Blu-ray releases of “Black Panther” and “The Last Jedi,” but I have to say: Home video releases just aren’t what they used to be.
I shouldn’t complain — after all, it’s a relatively new privilege to even be able to watch a movie after its theatrical run is over. Before studios started releasing their films for individual purchase on VHS in the 1970s and 1980s, if you wanted to re-live the experience of watching your favorite movie, your options were limited.
You could make a parody version, like the folks behind “Hardware Wars” did in 1978 when they couldn’t see “Star Wars” anymore.
You could pay $50-$70 for a copy of the film, if the studio released it at all.
And you could wait over a year to even have your chance to do that.
Nowadays, I only have to wait a few months after a Hollywood film opens in theaters — if that — to buy a personal copy, and I only pay between $10 and $25 for it on DVD, Blu-ray, or a number of streaming platforms.
In between then and now, though, was a golden period that was better than the past and the present I’ve already mentioned: It was the era of Special Features.