Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Al Gore's Oscar-award winning film An Inconvenient Truth has been released on DVD, but has not been released in Japan as a film or dvd, at least to my knowledge. Amazon.co.jp had only a few US editions of the dvd. I asked a friend to bring me a copy from the US and created a locally viewable region-free version for personal archival research promotional purposes only. Disclaimer: decoding even a single bit or letter from a dvd before the media conglomerates decide it has been "released" in your dvd zone may result in severe penalties and may not technically be "legal" even if you follow the precaution of doing so in international airspace, Antarctica, or from outside Earth orbit.

It is a good film, mixing autobiographical segments of Al Gore's life into documentary segments about global warming, while subtly promoting the Apple PowerBook and Keynote presentation software. The Al Gore parts do support the main points of the movie, but it would be better if there were an alternate version on the dvd which cut out Al Gore's boyhood reminiscences so it could be shown in classrooms as a straight-up educational documentary. There is a little too much of Al Gore in it now to be able to do that without controversy in, say, a Kansas science classroom. I like (shadow) President Gore, and support his re-election with a Supreme-Court-coup-resistant super-majority of voters next time, but not everyone is as crazy about the Al Gore Rhythm as I am.

There was something vaguely familiar about the cover art. Finally I realized that it was a blatantly subliminal rip-off of the 1976 Pink Floyd album cover for ANIMALS, designed by Hipgnosis, which caused nightmares for British air traffic controllers and vegans. Shocking, isn't it?

I think the dvd cover could be improved by adding the flying pig, for the "hip" or "hep cat" effect among market demographic segments old enough to remember the late 1970s, vinyl, and 8-track. Naturally, the package should be square, not rectangular. Either round or square. No triangles or rectangles, please. This is a dvd after all. Finally, get all that annoying text and blather about how it doesn't matter if you are a replicant or a demigogue liberite conversative mindchange nanoparticle blah blah blah out of there. Do we have to assume people don't know what the product is unless it is written there? They didn't need letters for Animals in 1976; why should we need them now? Actually, since most people no longer read, words just get in the way, and mess up the image. Plus you wouldn't have to localize the language for all the international releases, if there ever are any.

This much-improved prototype cover goes out as a suggested alternate version.

I must leave to soundsmiths geekier than I the more technically challenging task of remixing the movie soundtrack so as to incorporate the entire album of Pink Floyd's Animals.

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