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Scanners: Criterion Dual-Format Edition

posted Jan 1, 2016, 6:22 AM by Vu Nguyen

I'm a big David Cronenberg fan, owning many of his releases on DVDs (including Rabid, Fast Company, The Brood, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, The Fly, Crash, Naked Lunch, Eastern Promises) so I'm really in no hurry to make the expensive jump Blu-Rays.

As a Christmas gift to myself, I decided to get one of my favorite Scanners on Criterion Blu-Ray. This three-disc edition is a nice upgrade to my MGM DVD.

I haven't had a chance to look over the special features (which unfortunately is only available on as Standard Definition on DVD), but includes a new Scanners documentary, interview with Michael Ironside, interview with Stephen Lack, and interview with Cronenberg (excerpt only from 1981).

As for the actual film, it is a new 2k digital film transfer with monaural soundtrack. There are no commentaries or additional audio soundtracks. I was pretty disappointed in the lack of extras for the film (even MGM had at least a French dub for the Canadian fans). Cronenberg probably was too busy to do a commentary on this film, but previous Criterion DVDs I own had experts and critics... so there are ways of adding bonus content without the director's involvement (especially if the filmmakers have passed away).

As with all Criterion Blu-Rays and DVDs, they do not come with a digital code or offered their films on UltraViolet. I'm assuming this has to rights holder and legal reasons.

Making up for the lack of film features, Criterion included a new 2k version of Cronenberg's first film Stereo (1969). I previously got this film as a bonus from another DVD set, but it's not one of my favorite films.

With all three or four discs releases, Criterion has been putting them on Digipak. I feel the cardboard packaging is unique versus the normal Criterion plastic cases (however, the majority of collectors seems to prefer the boring plastics because it fits better on their shelves). Personally speaking, I love the Digipaks because they look cool.

The only downside to Criterion releases is that are really expensive (with the exception of some popular titles). Scanners (Dual-Format Edition) retails for $39.99... and from my experience, it's hard to find good discounts on their movies. I ordered my copy from Amazon for $25, and I still felt like I was paying too much, considering that brand new films just making their way to Blu-Ray are sold for only $20 (which you can always find at a discount or wait for the prices to drop to $10).

In the past, when I was still buying Criterion DVDs, I would wait for Barnes & Noble to have their "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" sale and would stock up, or wait for Criterion's "Flash Sale", which is 50% off their retail price. I think the last time I participated in their Flash Sale, their website went down due to demand... but I eventually got in to pick up the Three Colors boxset (for $40, plus shipping & taxes... pushing it to $50).

Scanners: MGM (DVD) and Criterion (Blu-Ray)