Sunday, 5 December 2010

Slumdog on DVD

In some ways, the theatrical release is like a huge promo for the DVD/Blu-ray - IF it's successful. When you're talking about the importance of digital technology, you MUST refer to the DVD/Blu-ray release.

Bonus features to be found in both home video versions include a "making-of" documentary, deleted scenes, and a Slumdog Cutdown. Commentary from director Danny Boyle and actor Dev Patel in addition to commentary from producer Christian Colson and writer Simon Beaufoy can also be seen in the special features section.

The sparkling Blu-ray package adds a dozen deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, a music video, an Indian short film, a breakdown of the infamous toilet scene, commentary by Boyle, actor Dev Patel and writer Simon Beaufoy, and a separate digital copy for play on iPods and other portable devices as well. Pre-orders for the Blu-ray Disc and the DVD could be made via Amazon.

Shot with a combination of film and video cameras, Slumdog Millionaire comes to Blu- ray with its distinctively stylized appearance intact. It's a unique looking movie with an abundance of moody, almost monochromatic photography, designed to depict the seemingly infinite mass of Mumbai residents in a style that never glamorizes their suffering. As a matter of fact, director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle's rich photography was honored with the Academy Award for achievement in cinematography just last month. Given the film's pedigree and award recognition, Fox has given Slumdog Millionaire a high bitrate AVC Mpeg-4 1080p encode, in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, that captures the movie's groundbreaking style to perfection.

Once upon a time, winners of the Oscar for Best Picture would take their good-natured time making their way from the nation's multiplexes to the local video store. The idea was to milk as much money from theater-goers as possible, then build anticipation for the video-cassette release by keeping the movie out of circulation for as many as six months. This system worked to the benefit not only of theater owners, but also the pirates who, we were told, used the extended window to pick the pockets of studio executives.

Slumdog Millionaire arrives in DVD and Blu-ray only FIVE weeks after the Academy Awards bonanza helped squeeze another $40 million from the domestic box-office, bringing total grosses to a very respectable $137 million. Indeed, last week, the Mumbai fairy tale was still playing on more than 2,000 screens nationwide. It leads one to wonder if the temptation to exploit the Oscar hype was as strong a reason to release Slumdog on video as the desire to trump the pirates at their own game.

Bear in mind the competiton this will have from illegal downloads and dodgy bootleg copies - the makers have to ensure that the DVD is an attractive option...

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