Director Rian Johnson has released a director’s commentary for his sci-fi thriller Looper. The gimmick here is that this isn’t a DVD extra, nor do you have to pay for it. The track is available as a free MP3, and you are supposed to load it up onto your iPod and listen along in the movie theater.
I love this idea. Clearly it’s meant as a way to get repeat viewings and therefore repeat ticket sales, but so what? A good director’s commentary can be a masterclass in movie making (see pretty much anything by Robert Rodriguez), and watching it where God intended movies to be watched — in the cinema — is a great idea. Johnson:
I recorded a commentary track to be downloaded, put on an ipod [sic] and listened to in the theater as you’re watching Looper. This is an odd thing I tried with Bloom, and have gotten a few requests for it again, so here it is. It is totally different from the commentary track that will be on the Blu/DVD, a bit more technical and detailed. Needless to say, this is NOT to be listened to on a first viewing, or before you’ve seen the film. Also, please work it so that a glowing screening is never out of your pocket during the movie.
Listen to the introduction before heading to the theater, it has instructions. And lemme know how it works.
I can’t really see any downside to this. You can even play the commentary along with a downloaded movie, which goes a long way to filling the gap left by physical DVDs. In fact, it’s probably better: most DVD commentaries are terrible. Downloadable commentaries, though, are likely only to be made by directors who care enough to do them.
Just be careful that the theater employees don’t get suspicious and call the cops on you for videoing the movie.