Dreamworks and DVDTimes

Next week sees the Region 2 DVD release of The Terminal and Anchorman, titles that have been available on Region 1 DVD for quite some time and are both hotly anticipated on these shores. DVDTimes was looking forward to covering both, and when check discs came through before Christmas hopes were initially high that we could deliver earlier than usual reviews. That was until we sampled the discs and were presented with the following...

DVDTimes has a strict policy of only reviewing discs that represent the final product. We like to think that our reviews form at least part of the foundation upon which our readers judge their purchases, and a disc provided for review with "Property of Dreamworks Home Ent. Publicity Dept. Do Not Duplicate" plastered over every frame is clearly not indicative of the video transfer you will see on the retail disc. In the case of The Terminal only disc one had been supplied prior to Christmas, so hope was there that a 'clean' set of check discs would arrive at a later date. That was until we saw this a few days later...

Anchorman is a single-disc release and once again, although containing everything the retail disc will offer the video transfer and ultimately the reviewers enjoyment of the film is seriously marred by this imposing message sprawled across the frame. When confronted with this information after the holiday period Dreamworks press representatives were themselves surprised, before then confirming that Dreamworks would not be providing 'clean' check discs due to growing piracy concerns. We in turn informed Dreamworks that DVDTimes will not be reviewing their Region 2 DVD releases based on these discs, which are essentially screeners rather than the review discs we are accustomed to, suggesting they focus their concerns of piracy elsewhere as like any good business you have to get in there first, and the UK DVD market is not the pirates primary port of call.

Another discouraging practice of Dreamworks is one they employ for their Animation Studios releases. In November of last year Shrek 2 was one of the biggest DVD releases of the impending holiday season, but we were told there were absolutely no check discs whatsoever being produced for this release. Instead the only way any press could preview the disc was via specially held screenings in the London offices of Universal/Dreamworks press representatives. Due to the scattered nature of our staff these events are often difficult to attend, but in this case impossible as we only learned of them after they had taken place. The exact same approach is being used for this year's February DVD release of Shark Tale, a film far less deserving of the media frenzy it will no doubt receive via advertising campaigns, but one that we would still have liked to review on the site prior to release. This is not possible, and even with screenings taking place that no one on the team is particularly interested in covering the expenses and making the effort to attend, a review site such as DVDTimes cannot honestly deliver a review based on such a screening as you simply do not get to place the product under the scrutiny you would in the proper reviewing conditions.

With the combination of these practices and the quite embarrassing requests for reviews, features, promotional links and more to go ahead regardless (based on what you might ask? Well we often wonder the same...) you will unlikely see much in the way of pre-release Dreamworks Region 2 review coverage on DVDTimes until they start sending through discs we can actually use. It’s unlikely you'll see any post-release reviews either, as the earlier R1 alternatives will be a more likely candidate for review purposes.

Be sure to check out our review of The Terminal on Region 1 DVD, available since November. And stay tuned for a look at the Region 1 DVD release of Anchorman which boasts a complete second film as part of the exclusive R1 Giftset extras.

Last updated: 19/04/2018 10:23:27

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