so... this kinda took me by surprise. but i come here not to bury criterion for not choosing a first-run release that more aligns with their ethic (of recent films, blind mountain, man on wire, there will be blood, spring to mind, as do festival pics like hunger, tokyo sonata, the headless woman, etc... and they are releasing revanche later this year after its theatrical run), but to bury other purists who in some way feel this taints the sanctity of the CC. the same CC that released Armageddon, once upon a time.
now, the furor over this one is going to be confined to relatively small, aggressively nerdy circles. but i feel compelled to address this briefly and then move on with my life. criterion is a company. an EXCELLENT company that does the art world a tremendous service, but a company nonetheless. a company that has to weather a recession. and this dvd / blu-ray is going to sell by the fuck-load (note: 1,340 dvds = 1 fuckload). everyone wins. criterion gets to fund a project like their mammoth upcoming release of The Human Condition, which approximately 8 people will buy, but for everyone that triptych will be grasped from the sinking sands of time. paramount wins, cause they get another company to put out a better package of their prestige film than they ever could. and "prestige" is key here, too, cause... yeah, people are going to think benny buttons is a better film just by virtue of that beautiful CC logo on it. i know i do. i'm weak like that. but seriously... it's motherfucking CRITERION.
the only beef i have with this? the artwork. Criterion packages tend to be works of art in and of themselves. sublimely bridging the gap between art and commodity, and then turning the entire dynamic on its ear. but while this package continues the criterion tradition of presenting half-faces on their boxes, it's plain jane to the max. observe:
compare that to THIS:
but, to be fair, that is probably the best dvd ever manufactured. oh well. i guess for benny buttons paramount stipulated that the blockbuster blokes need to be able to quickly spot it on the shelves... and the names of the ACTORS on the box instead of the director... which is absolute BLASPHEMY in the criterion world... must be a contractual thing as well.
eh, i'll be buying it. and i'll be loving it. and the IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES blu-ray will come out and everything will be as glorious as ever.