I love movies. As of today I own 418 titles on DVD. Yes, from “Crocodile” Dundee all the way down to Zorba the Greek, you’ll see a list of wonderful movies, any of which I would recommend!
But there’s a problem with my collection, oh, yes, and it’s not that it’s too small (though it is). No the problem is that it includes the following titles with DVD cases best described as “broken”:
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
Batman Beyond: The Movie
A Christmas Carol
Driving Miss Dasiy
Empire of the Sun
Futurama: Bender’s Big Score
Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs
Joe vs the Volcano
LA Confidential (the original release)
The Simpsons Complete 11th Season
There Will Be Blood
Now you might reasonably ask what’s so wrong? What’s so “broken” about these DVD cases? Well, I’ll tell you.
There’s two different problems and two different styles of cases. The first problem one is with Warner Brother’s releases (the Batman movies, Matchstick Men, Wit, etc). These cases are made of a mix of paper and plastic. Now you get that with the standard “book”-style DVD cases, but these aren’t the same. Let’s go to the pics, where I’m using Insomnia as an example.
This is the DVD case. It’s made out of cardboard with a plastic tray inside that holds the DVD in place. There’s also a little plastic clasp that keeps the whole thing closed. Here’s a shot of the clasp open.
So no problem, you might think, just by looking at it. It looks fairly sturdy, keeps closed and holds the DVD securely. And all this is true, provided you don’t have any DVDs with different cases stored next to it!
See there’s nothing holding the cardboard cover in place, so it tends to tilt inward, leaving the edge of the case exposed. You can see the exposed case in the next picture, which shows the DVD case turned upside down, since the colors make it show up better.
You see? It makes this little “lip”, for lack of a better phrase. This means when you put this DVD next to a regular-style case and push the regular case back on your shelf, it will snag on the plastic lip and push the other case back, too.
As an example: Insomnia sits next to Iron Man on my shelf. Here’s an illustration of Iron Man snagged up against the plastic case from Insomnia. When you push Iron Man back onto the shelf, Insomnia gets pushed back as well, sometimes quite far back. Observe:
Another minor problem with this format is that the cover is printed onto the case. This might not seem like much of an issue, but let’s say that you have a DVD in a regular case like, for example, Forbidden Planet.
Now if you buy used DVDs, like I sometimes do, more often than not the seller will stick a pricetag directly onto the case. This isn’t a problem with a plastic case like the one for Forbidden Planet, but with these other ones, the cover is printed directly onto the case. That means if you try to remove the pricetag you might damage the cover. Ok, so it’s not a huge issue, but if you’re a movie collector like I am, it can be a deal-breaker when you’re looking at buying something.
Plus if the case gets damaged, like say your dog bites it, and you have one of the standard cases, you can replace the cover with a new one. This is because the liner slides out. See?
So one can simply swap.
This case design is annoying, but it’s merely annoying, and to be fair, Warner Brothers has been discontinuing their use over the last few years, so that’s good. On the other hand, there’s another new trend with DVD cases that isn’t merely annoying, it can actually damage your DVDs!
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the enew, entirely cardboard, DVD case! These are “green” DVD cases that are entirely biodegradable (of course if you wait long enough, everything is. Entropy is your friend). The problem with these is that the DVDs usually end up in cardboard sleeves. Below you will see an example of it with the DVD release for There Will Be Blood.
See? The discs are inside the cardboard and in order to take them out, you have to grip the sides and pull. Now these sleeves of cardboard aren’t lined with anything; it’s just the rough cardboard. This increases greatly the chances of scratching the discs as you pull them out. Even if you don’t do that, odds are you’ll get fingerprints on the silvery side while pulling the discs out.
This leads us into what is probably the single worst ever design I’ve seen for a DVD case. It’s for The Simpsons: The Complete 11th Season. Now it’s packaged in this nice little fold-out case that shows our favorite characters off doing things at a carnival. Check it!
Pretty sweet looking, except that you might be asking where the discs are. Fear not, gentle reader. Here’s where they are.
You see? Basically what they’ve done is put the discs inside cardboard sleeves. Entirely inside them. Unlike with other DVD releases, these ones don’t stick out at all. Plus the sleeves are really tight! In order to get the discs out, it’s a real struggle, and it’s only a matter of time before I either a: scratch the hell out of the discs, b: rip the cardboard, or c: do both.
It’s a terrible case design, and I’m not going to buy anymore Simpsons DVDs that use that format. It’s too bad, cause I really like the show, but I’m not going to spend money on a product that is that defective.
Hopefully the studios will get the message and stop using these substandard methods for selling us DVDs!