Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ave Satani!

And the award for worst packaging of 2008 goes to…

The Omen Collection! At standard definition DVD prices, I may not have thought to complain, but considering that Fox is charging $130 list for this Bluray item, I feel embiggend to bitch.

All looks well enough from the outside, but from the moment you pick up this 4-disc set the near total lack of weight is disconcerting. After opening and pulling out the inner sleeve, we’re treated not to the usual reinforced cardboard superstructure with a clear plastic lining to protect the back of the discs, but to a magazine-insert thin, quad-folded sheet with nothing but a wafer thin plastic nub to hold the disc in place. Those unfortunate enough to have purchased Universal’s HD-DVD set of Battlestar Galactica will remember these well, and may not take some solace that they no longer own the most irresponsibly packaged high-def disc set.

And if you order online, consider yourself lucky if the set arrives undamaged, as this array of newspaper thin paperboard is no match for traditional USPS or UPS handling techniques. And before owners of Fox’s previous DVD Omen set worry about double-dipping, know that the unwanted, unloved, made for TV sequel, Omen IV has been exorcized from the set. In its place we have the equally beloved Omen remake (which Fox seems to want us to call The Omen 666) from 2006, with Liev Schreiber trying to keep a straight face long enough to cash his check, and memorable only for giving Giovanni Lombardo Radice (AKA John Morghen from Cannibal Apocalypse and City of the Living Dead) a featured role.

In all seriousness, what counts are the quality of the transfers, and once we’ll speak to that once we’ve had the chance to examine them more closely. At first glance, the original Omen seems to have a few new extras including a new commentary track, but the two sequels seem to be HD upgrades of the previous DVD editions. Good for Fox for dipping into its back catalog for some Halloween HD treats, but crummy packaging at an outrageously inflated price pleases no one but Conal Cochran.