DVD Commentaries… yay or nay?

5 Aug

As I watch my Farscape DVDs (or the recently released Leverage s4), I’ve taken to watching the commentaries- something I usually only do after having watched the show/film multiple times first. With Farscape, it’s been highly entertaining because it appears they shot them in 2004 (I’m watching s1, which was shot in ’99), so they’d had years and other seasons to get through before getting to the first commentaries.

Essentially… the cast/crew involved is able to look back at the episodes with more experiences coloring their memories. Ben Browder looked at a scene on a beach and recollects spending the morning surfing (and picking up a bacteria that made him sick for the filming). It’s fascinating the things that get talked about.

On the Leverage DVDs, John Rogers spends most of the commentaries drinking… which makes for an interesting game of “what order were the commentaries shot?” I recall there’s an episode on the Bones season 1 DVDs when Boreanaz and Deschanel drink throughout their commentary and giggle quite a bit.

I’m curious if people enjoy commentaries or even spend time watching them. I’m more likely to do so if the cast is involved. While the director/writer/producer probably has great and interesting information, the anecdotes provided by cast amuse me more. My favorite commentary ever was a live cast commentary done for the Firefly episode, Out of Gas. I wish it had been recorded so others who were not at that event could’ve enjoyed it.

I’ve only ever repurchased (or… upgraded) a DVD to get a particular commentary when the Serenity collectors edition came out. I usually don’t really care- though I do prefer that my DVDs have plenty of bonus material.

So again, I ask- do you watch/listen to the commentaries? And also, what DVD has your favorite commentary?

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13 Responses to “DVD Commentaries… yay or nay?”

  1. Brad Smith August 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    I love the commentary tracks. The Lord of the Rings (extended cuts) commentary tracks are hilarious and insightful — as are the tracks for Firefly, Serenity (both editions), FarScape and especially Paul, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Listening to Kurt Russell and John Carpenter on Escape from New York, The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China are always enjoyable and enlightening.

    IN fact, I’m bummed if a film doesn’t have commentary.

    I love movies and these tracks give me more info on the films I line.

    • elizabeth ann August 5, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

      There is something special about the “Merry & Pippin” LOTR commentaries, “blah blah blah and let me tell you why”. HAHA. I don’t think I’ve listened to my Hot Fuzz one yet- but you’re right about Shaun.

      I am also sad- and contemplate not buying a DVD- if there isn’t any commentary. I mean… with everything we know that they shoot- there should always be extras! And a commentary is everyone’s chance to share their thoughts and experience!

      Oh! Have you watched the commentary for Slither? It’s definitely one of my favorites.

      • Brad Smith August 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

        The Hot Fuzz is great but you need to get the special edition which has the police cast, the villagers, Wright and Pegg, Tarantino and Wright (which is insane) and then commentary from two Met police officers.

        Merri and Pip. I loved the fireworks story — Billy Pissy-Pants, I believe.

        Slither. Ashamed to say i don’t own it yet but on your recommendation . . . .

      • elizabeth ann August 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

        I will have to look and see which Hot Fuzz version I have…

        Slither is a must. I adore the film- it’s the palette cleanser on bad movie nights. But the commentary is Gunn, with Fillion on the phone… hilarious.

        As I said, I get pissy if they aren’t on a disk, but I think I prefer if there’s actors in the mix. Probably because I’ve never done the technical side of film- so if the writers/directors/what have you get too technical I fuzz out. I appreciate Joss’ solo commentary on Serenity as much as the group on the special edition because he doesn’t get too overly technical.

      • Brad Smith August 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

        The Carpenter and Russell commentaries are great. In Big Trouble In Little China, both talk and laugh on how Barry Diller “didn’t get” Jack Burton. That’s why Diller wroteh the opening scene with Egg Shen in the lawyer’s office . . . .

  2. stewartmoncure August 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    I tend to check out commentaries if they have them on the disc. Its not a make or break thing for me, but I do at least sample them to know if I should bother to listen in full. I tend to drift towards the more academic ones when it comes to classic films. All the ones listed in the above comments are good commentaries, but two I would add are the commentaries for Se7en and Fight Club w/ David Fincher and Brad Pitt. Those just tend to be quite humorous and informative.
    TV wise, I remember when the EP for Battlestar Galactica used to release podcast commentaries for the episodes, which were fun in that DIY spur of the moment way. Some of the better TV commentaries of late I’ve listened to are for Breaking Bad and Community.

    • elizabeth ann August 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Ya know, Se7en is still the only movie that scares me- which is crazy considering the things I’ve done and people I’ve met over the last few years. I’ll have to check out that commentary some day.

      I want to add to the list- Dr. Horrible’s “commentary the musical”.

      • Brad Smith August 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

        Se7en. I live in Fincher’s hometown and it’s interesting when his films come out . . . people an’t understand why they’re so dark. Se7en I’ve watched only once and never will again. I mean, it’s a good film, but, I covered enough brutal crimes that I don’t spend mt free time watching something like that.

        And I just want to imagine that Alien 3 never happened . . . .

      • elizabeth ann August 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

        As a forensic psychologist and someone who used to work in a prison and with inmates… Se7en still makes me leave the lights on. It’s the whole… people actually do this shit aspect. I can handle “horror” films because no matter how hard they try, they are so obviously fake. But Se7en… *shudder*

        Oh, no… Alien 4 never happened. 3 is watchable. If drunk, sick, tired, or incapable of changing the channel. There is NO excuse for Alien 4.

      • Brad Smith August 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

        There was an Alien 4?! :facepalm:

      • elizabeth ann August 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

        Well yeah… 4 was the one with Winona Ryder and the pink Alien hybrid thing…

      • Brad Smith August 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

        Oh I do remember. That being said, there are some things I want to forget and that’s one of them . . . .

      • elizabeth ann August 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

        indeed.

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