Guillermo del Toro’s comments came on Twitter the other day:
“Physical media is almost a Fahrenheit 451 (where people memorized entire books and thus became the book they loved) level of responsibility. If you own a great 4K HD, Blu-ray, DVD etc etc of a film or films you love… you are the custodian of those films for generations to come.”
In addition to my own physical media collection, I’m thinking about awards screeners. Many studios are sending out an increasing number of digital links but others are still sending out physical DVD or Blu-ray screeners. There might come a day when we want to rewatch a film but it is not available on a streaming service. Hell, there are some films that are not on streaming or available to buy or rent through any digital retailers. Furthermore, there are films that are not even available to borrow through the library. One film that comes to mind here is the original version of The Heartbreak Kid. How is it that one of the greatest comedy movies of all time is not available on DVD or Blu-ray, let alone digitally?!?
“There is a danger, these days, that if things only exist in the streaming version they do get taken down, they come and go.”
Nolan’s comments came during a 53-minute interview with The Washington Post and days after joking about Oppenheimer‘s home video release at a Los Angeles screening of the film that was focused on the craft. On the care and craft that went into the home video release:
“I’m known for my love of theatrical and put my whole life into that, but, the truth is, the way the film goes out at home is equally important. The Dark Knight was one of the first films where we formatted it specially for Blu-ray release because it was a new form at the time. And in the case of Oppenheimer, we put a lot of care and attention into the Blu-ray version…and trying to translate the photography and the sound, putting that into the digital realm with a version you can buy and own at home and put on a shelf so no evil streaming service can come steal it from you.”
Even if Nolan is joking at the end of his comments, the fact of the matter is that there is no guarantee of a film appearing on streaming media. If you really want to watch something repeatedly, you are better off buying it. This past year especially has shown how studios are willing to remove original films and series made for streaming services. Disney+ and Hulu are no less guilty than HBO Max/Max. It is a shame in this day and age. This is unlike how films move around from service to service as the licensing changes but that’s another story.