Our readers may have noticed that I've been following the HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray format war on Cinematical. Some readers have also observed -- and pointed out in comments -- that I am not an expert in the least on either format. But I enjoy a good format war and I like keeping a layman's point-of-view (besides, I don't usually understand the technical stuff), so I shall continue representing the typical consumer without a great knowledge of hardware and software specs. Because, after all, it is we regular folk who influence the success of entertainment products in the end. Therefore, I believe if is likely that the winner of this war will be the one who has the most attractive item for average Americans.
From this stance, I have so far put my bet on HD DVD. Yet Disney just announced a new incentive with some of its Blu-ray titles, and it just might be enticing enough to some parents out there. On September 19, the studio will release its first discs in the format, and two of them, Dinosaur and Eight Below, will feature exclusive short films shot in HD specifically for inclusion on the discs. One month later, three more of their titles, Glory Road, Gone in Sixty Seconds and The Haunted Mansion, will also come with their own shorts. Each short will be inspired by the movie it is packaged with, and all were shot by Louie Schwartzberg. Based on Schwartzberg's previous work, the shorts are likely to be pretty little documentaries with wide landscape cinematography and a lot of time-lapse footage.
A lot of people like extras, but it is hard to imagine the shorts in question will be that attractive. I'm guessing one's a little piece on paleontologists, the next about real dog sledding, another showing some college basketball and finally one on classic racing cars. I'm not sure about the Haunted Mansion short. Maybe a tour of old southern mansions? Anyway, when I first heard the news of this announcement, I thought Disney was including new, original animated shorts featuring familiar and beloved characters from its catalog. Who isn't in the mood for some new Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons? Who is in the mood for disposable docs?