May 30, 2003

Here. Buy ours. It’s legit. No, seriously.

Right – so there we were. Shania, Wayne, Adrian and me, walking back to my apartment after watching The Matrix Reloaded, completely, utterly, delightfully shell-shocked. We’d gotten good shells, too.

And as is all-so-often the case in situations like this (and groups like us), a random comment by what shall be mercifully known as the innocent bystander inspired a flight of conversation that hit its head on takeoff and rapidly flew off the radar.

“I want to go to Zimbabwe.”

Right – so there we were. Shania, Wayne, Adrian and me, walking back to my apartment after watching The Matrix Reloaded, completely, utterly, delightfully shell-shocked. We’d gotten good shells, too.

And as is all-so-often the case in situations like this (and groups like us), a random comment by what shall be mercifully known as the innocent bystander inspired a flight of conversation that hit its head on takeoff and rapidly flew off the radar.

“I want to go to Zimbabwe.”

We explained (as best we could) to the innocent bystander that we were not in a position to help. Not even with money. I’m sure the Doppler effect of our voices conveyed something as well.

But of course, such a comment was not to go unremarked.

“Why does he want to go to Zimbabwe?”

Adrian, in complete non-sequitur fashion, said, again, that the movie was something of awe. “Awesome” I believe was the word he used.

Of course, as I lit my Type-A-personality cigarette, satisfying the created demand, I countered: “Agreed. I want to own that movie. Now.”

Yes, I could (given time, bandwidth, and complete lack of discerning taste and 20/20 vision), download it off the Internet. Or ask Adrian for his copy. But I don’t want that. I don’t like downloading or buying pirated movies, because there’s no guarantee.

Actually, there is a guarantee. And it is this:

  • that the quality will suck, and most likely depend on the quality of camcorder used by the Spotty Herbert who taped it in the cinema.
  • That the brilliance of your 5.1 digital hi-fidelity decoding hardware and the clarity of your amplifier will be rendered irrelevant, as your center speaker faithfully delivers a hissy, mono audio track.
  • That should you not be satisfied with it, having bought it from someone who’s shop front kept its engine running, you will at that point (a) suffer a complete failure of customer satisfaction, and (b) realise you now have a new shiny coaster, and maybe, just maybe, a topic of conversation for the next dinner party.
    • And for all these reasons, with scant regard to the bank balance, I will pony up the cash, and buy the real thing on DVD. After waiting six months.

      Why? I’m buying a guarantee of quality. Except for Nu Metro-released titles (where the quarantee tends to be that they’ve picked the 4x3 aspect ratio version, and made the menu system so inane they hope you won’t notice they also left off the extras, which they have. Amazon has no idea of this unwitting ally. I’m hoping that Nu Hell is an aging mono-BetaMax VCR continuously looping Biker Rock Zombies, with no vertical-hold, and no bathroom breaks.)

      At this point, Wayne, Shania, and Adrian were staring at me. Most probably because I’d been quiet for more than 30 seconds.

      “What if… what if.. the piracy got so bad that technology allowed a passable copy to be available almost immediately after the movie was released to cinemas?”

      Thankfully, no-one pointed out that this was, actually already the case. And so it was that the conversation was allowed to belly-roll irresponsibly through the clouds of whimsy, on its way to the next laugh.

      “Yeah! You’d effectively have to have the movie studios competing by having their legit copy ready at the same time! They’d have to sell it to you as you exited the cinema!”

      No doubt all the while elbowing the pirated-copy vendors to the side: ‘Buy ours! It’s legit! And hi-res!’ ” Oh, the possible carnage: metallic discs flying over your head, their cheap labels coming undone in mid-air, and floating down like so much confetti at a shotgun wedding.

      (Mind you: selling a product to people, as they step from a darkened cinema into the comparative blinding fluorescent incandescence we commonly call a mall, hopped up on sugar, thirsty from the salted popcorn, and somewhat deaf from the cinema sound, probably makes good business sense. Anaesthetised customers tend not to quibble. Is anyone in Hollywood listening? Hello?)

      I was instantly captivated by this idea (that of buying the DVD of a movie I had just seen and loved --not the idea of semi-blinded staggering patrons. Just so we’re clear on that point.)

      “I mean, as it stands now, dodgy nations like, oh, say, Zimbabwe, where pirated copies of movies have been known to happen, are readying up their shipments.”

      We stopped. We stared. Somewhere a dog barked.

      I lit another cigarette. We’d figured it out. We knew why Bystander, Innocent had wanted to go to Zimbabwe. He’d just seen The Matrix Reloaded, and he’d loved it so much that he wanted his own copy. And for that – he had to get to Zimbabwe.

      As much as we sympathised with him and admired his dedication, we didn’t turn around. Some moments can never be recaptured.

      We walked home, snuggled down in front of the 1.2m screen, turned up the ProLogic, and watched the second half of Animatrix. It seemed appropriate, both in content and media.

      --
      DISCLAIMER: In no way is this article meant to encourage talking to Innocent Bystanders. If you do, seek help. Don’t become a statistic.

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Comments

How was the movie?

Posted by: Ryan at May 31, 2003 03:29 PM

7 out of 10. See the entry for May 26.

Posted by: rory at June 2, 2003 10:04 AM
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