I hate bilingual packaging.


On the left, the American DVD. On the right, the Canadian DVD. I actually don’t mind the French bits on the front cover. But I really, really don’t like the way the DVD cover’s spine features two versions of the title, which means it features the Star Wars logo twice. This bugs me, because the Canadian DVDs for Episodes I, II, IV, V and VI all feature the Star Wars logo only once, like they’re supposed to. So now, when I put the DVD for Episode III on the shelf between the other episodes, it will stand out, painfully, from the rest. (If I had a digital camera, I’d take a picture.)

It’s kinda like how the first two Harry Potter movies were released in paper cases, and the third movie was released in a plastic case. Put the three movies together — and you can buy them in a boxed set — and they don’t look quite like they belong together.

But bilingual DVD packaging in general is an old pet peeve of mine. I don’t like my DVDs to look like cereal boxes, and sometimes the English and French titles are so similar, so identical even, that you wonder what the point of it all is supposed to be.

It’s bad enough that the spine for a DVD like Star Trek Generations (1994; my comments) has to make room for two logos just so it can also present the French title Star Trek Générations, with the accents. But when the spine for a DVD like Belle de Jour (1968) includes the French title twice, that’s just silly.

I wouldn’t mind if the French was all on one side and the English all on the other. Indeed, some distributors do use two-sided covers — but the only difference between them is that, on one side, the French is on the right and the English is on the left, and on the other side, the English is on the right and the French is on the left. Which, when you think about it, is even stupider. They put in all that extra work, and there is no improvement whatsoever.

Anyway, due to a very busy and hectic personal and professional life right now, I haven’t had time to sample anything on this DVD, except for about half of the audio commentary. So I can’t comment on the disc’s actual content just yet — except to say that I am very, very intrigued that producer Rick McCallum confirms what many Star Wars fans have suspected: namely, in the “opera” scene where Palpatine tells Anakin the story of the Sith lord who learned how to create life, he is revealing Anakin’s origins.

More later, no doubt!

NOV 2 UPDATE: It also dawns on me that this film came out six months ago, when my wife was not yet pregnant with twins; so the scenes where Anakin and Amidala discuss their impending family come across a bit differently to me, now. But I am even more convinced than ever that it is utterly ridiculous that the Galactic Republic, with all its fancy-schmancy midichlorian-manipulating technology, would have had no way to calculate the number of fetuses in Amidala’s womb. And that’s before we consider whether Anakin should have been able to “sense” his offspring.

NOV 6 UPDATE: Finally finished watching the extras. There is so much exposition and stating of the obvious in Lucas’s scripts, it figures that most of the commentary is similarly obvious and expository. Characters keep explaining what’s going on; Lucas and company keep explaining what the characters are explaining.

FWIW, the weirdest thing I’ve learned from the DVD is that the volcanic-planet scenes were based on footage of eruptions on Mt. Etna that were shot by Ron Fricke, the cinematographer on Koyaanisqatsi (1983) and the director of Baraka (1992).

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11499186306966045314 thomasw

    I love the title of this article……it made me la ugh and laugh and actually start to teeter and totter when i saw the photo-split below.

    thanks, it made my day.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15729167937433295927 Geosomin

    Don’t get me started about the bilingual thing…whatever happened to when there was an english side and a french side and you could choose one? Besides..unless it said in YOUR languae that it was subtitled, why would you buy or rent a movie in another language anyways? *sigh* Plus, you’re right, it just doesn’t match the other ones…I’m not even that much of a completist but it’s like when star trek 6 was in a white case and the other 4 (I don’t acknowledge the 5th) were black. Why? It just makes me think “doesn’t someone check this stuff before it goes out??”
    As for extra features, I’ve yet to snoop. The soundtrack that came out a while back with the DVD that had images put to soundtrack was quite nifty tho. I finally got around to watching it on my birthday and having music I listened to as a kid (my dad and older brother had a thing for soundtracks) in 5.1 is very nifty.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07395937367596387523 Peter T Chattaway

    The soundtrack that came out a while back with the DVD that had images put to soundtrack was quite nifty tho.

    It was indeed, but I think I may have played the “music videos” on that bonus disc once or twice too often — I recently listened to my Star Wars soundtrack albums for the first time in a while, and discovered that I “expected” to hear people talking at certain points in the music. And the only reason I “expected” it is because that’s where they talked during the “music videos”.

  • Anonymous

    I order all my dvds that are released with filthy french on the cover and spine from the USA. Nothing bothers me more when my starwars episode 3 didnt line up on the spine and now I have to order all the simpsons dvds from season 8 and on from the USA to avoid the rediculous les simpsons on the spine to make my dvd shelf look rediculous.


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