DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: Unboxing 'The Social Network' Blu-Ray

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Unboxing 'The Social Network' Blu-Ray

The Social Network (2010) dir. David Fincher
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara


By Alan Bacchus

Second time round on Blu-Ray, The Social Network holds up just as a well as the first, a remarkably well-told story of Facebook and the quick and mighty rise of the site and it’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

Sony Pictures will release the Blu-Ray/DVD on Tuesday Jan 11, but I only received the press release a few weeks ago (Dec 23rd to be exact). It’s a mighty fast release considering the film was only released Oct 1st, and the film was still in 250 theatres in North America. The film has been winning virtually every major critics awards, in addition to its numerous GG Nominations. So I guess there were two choices 1) re-expand the film into theatres again, once the Oscar nominations come out (Jan 25, 2011) and thus capitalize on the usual box office spike which comes with ‘Oscar Season’, or 2) Release the Blu-Ray/DVD version and have this spike applied to Home Entertainment sales.

Sony obviously chose #2, and it seemed to be a last minute decision, considering the short time between when the press release went out and the street date, next Tuesday.

Thankfully, Sony has spared us a no-frills version of the film, unlike the shameful initial Paramount release of Zodiac, which didn’t feature any supplements, only to be trumped by a full double-disc director’s cut version of the film a year later. Sony gets it right the first time round.

This decision and the unique packaging of the product is congruous with the general themes and content of the film. The physical packaging is barely recognizable as a movie, let alone The Social Network. It’s a dark navy blue cardboard slipout box, with the poster tagline enbossed on the front. The credits on the back but also in navy and barely visible. And the only place we can find the title of the film is the side, which is also in the same colour scheme. Sony, of course, has included a slip cover which has the poster and technical details so it stands out on the shelves, but when it goes on your shelf at home, it’ll be the non-descript innocuous version I just described.

Inside, the simplistic theme continues. Rewatching the film again, it fits in with one of the major sources of conflict for the main characters, the monitization and exploitation of the site for money. When the Zuckerberg character shows Eduardo the first mock-up of the site, his first comment is about the simplicity of design and function. Such is the case here. After popping in the Blu-Ray it takes little time to load the content, little time before we get picture on the screen, and there’s absolutely no trailers, previews or anti-copyright ads prior to the feature. Immediately we get the menu screen, and it’s ready to play.

The feature of course looks freakishly awesome, crisp and perfect like all of David Fincher’s films. Trent Rezner’s score whollops the speakers and especially the subwoofer.

The special features, as expected, completely bypasses the usually featurette hyperbole. The main documentary, entitled ‘How Did We Ever Make a Movie About Facebook’, features interviews with the participants involved against a white background looking right into camera (perhaps using Errol Morris’ interrotron interview device) and breaking down the process of making the film. We’re dropped right into pre-production with a verite-style camera, a fly on the wall, watching the process of David Fincher. In particular the story sessions with Aaron Sorkin and the actors breaking down the subtext of the dialogue is awesome.

No press junket footage here, no canned answers, raw, substantial, but also controlled and expertly edited sneak peak behind the scenes.

I think Mark Zuckerberg would be approve. I certainly do. Pick this one up, ASAP. And if you don’t have a Blu-Ray player, pick that up too, along with a 42” HDTV and a HD Sound System.

The Social Network is available on Blu-Ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


matt said...

Sony actually used both a and b in the strategy- this past weekend, Social Network jumped back up from 200ish to 600 screens.

Alan Bacchus said...

Wow. Thanks for the info Matt. I didn't know that. Interesting. I believe in some cases (like this) both markets are compatible and don't necessarily compete with one another.