Consumerism Film

Must… resist… online… shopping…

Nine QueensThe problem with shopping on the Net on UK web sites is that prices in pounds make everything sound so cheap. So it was hard to resist the lure of three movies I kinda sorta wanted, at 8.97, 8.97 and 6.97 each. Bargains, every one! No, wait, that’s UKP, dammit. Multiply by three, pretty much. Take away the VAT*, but add the postage. Still a bargain? Ummm…

(*Amazon UK subtract the VAT, as they should. Some other online shops pocket the VAT, which is naughty. They’d claim they’re subsidising the international postage with the proceeds, but still…)

What finally swayed me to BUY! BUY! BUY! was that (a) I’m in a splurging mood (not sure why) and (b) while all three movies are available in Australia, two of them have features you can’t get in the shops here. Yet again my multi-region DVD player pays for itself.

So, winging their way towards me are:

Y Tu Mama Tambien, the seminal Mexican road movie that I originally saw at the film festival in 2001. It was great stuff, and hopefully just as good on repeat viewing. The UK edition has a bunch of extra material that’s not in the Australian one and, it’s rumoured, a 64 page book to boot. £5.93 plus postage. Ch-ching!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone isn’t available in Australia in widescreen. Well, unless you want to spend twice as much and get a crappy soundtrack CD that you’ll never listen to. (Soundtrack albums only work if the music is significant in its own right. O Brother, Lost In Translation… now they were good soundtrack albums. Harry Potter? No thanks.)

Why widescreen? Why not? Mumble mumble original aspect ratio mumble cinema mumble mumble matches the Chamber Of Secrets DVD. Insert roll of eyes here if you don’t care about this stuff. Actually the kids and I almost bought the full screen version of this last week on my day-off. We walked down to Dick Smith (the day’s exercise) only to find they were out of stock. £7.63 plus postage. Ch-ching!

Nine Queens I also saw in 2001. It’s an Argentine movie about a couple of con-men chasing a set of rare stamps. Really good stuff. As far as I can tell, the Australian release is the same, but it’s cheaper buying it from the UK. Another £7.63 plus postage. Ch-ching!

It came out at about $71 for the three, including the postage. Not too bad. I’ll be watching my mailbox in anticipation.

All this talk of movies reminds me, must look through the Melbourne International Film Festival programme and see what’s worth seeing.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

13 replies on “Must… resist… online… shopping…”

We’ve been looking for the widescreen Harry Potter for ages. Looks like we’ll be dropping the kid around once that package arrives… Surely your kids miss Phee… :)

The Australian DVD/Video distribution companies have only themselves to blame for people buying DVDs overseas via Amazon, eBay etc.etc. We should be entitled to the same features, the same menus, the same aspect ratio, and released at the same time as everywhere else in the world. No wonder Australians choose to buy DVDs from overseas. These companies (esp. Warners, Fox, Buena Vista and Universal) don’t give a stuff about DVD.

I get a lot of DVD’s from australia (well silverchair fan stuff mostly) but I need some help Daniel. I have a dvd player that SAYS that its multiregional. BUT i think i need a PAL tv in order to play pal dvd’s because in order to see the menu screen to change formats i need the right format tv. Now in australia i think it is standard that tv’s are both, but mine is only ntsc. So what do you think?

Hey Krista – unfortunately you might be out of luck. Your DVD player is likely able to play a region 4 DVD but it can’t change PAL to NTSC.

Krista, I’d say you have two hopes:

1. Look for a setting on your DVD player that will get it to read PAL, but output NTSC. I know some players sold in Australia do the reverse for people with PAL-only TVs.

2. See if you can get a multi-region DVD drive for your computer. Computers don’t care about the difference between PAL and NTSC.

(You’re right — most TVs etc in North America are NTSC only.)

The widescreen version of ‘ARRY POTTER 1 is available from Warner in Australia as a fat ‘special edition’ box for $44. Stick to the UK import. Warner Aust threw a tantrum over an industry DVD rental window decision, hence the horrid pan and scan version of HP widely available.

glad u liked 9 queens, it is a very good argentinian movie showing what a bunch of scammers argentinians are.
Even argentinians who are a picky bunch liked the movie. My aussie boyfriend saw it in a small Canberra movie theatre, liked it a lot and now is living here in Buenos Aires with me. cheers

Hi Daniel,

If you are going to buy juicy must have DVDs then you need to become familair with:

It will quickly give you the cheapest DVD Title (if available) over four four regions (1,2,3 & 4)

You’ll save heaps.

Also vheck out

Free international postage (usually takes about a week) and some really cheap dvds (the Canadian Dollar is about the same as Ours)

Go On!! have a look … you know you want to … try searching for Stargate box sets (really cheap) …. Babylon 5 seasons 4 and 5!!! Now … why wait for six months to a year!!

See ya


Next time, just tell me what you want and I’ll stick it in my weekly shop at Tesco. Think of it as payment for entertainment services rendered.

Don’t worry Daniel, I’ve refused to buy HP1 here for the same reason. My wife has now started using the “technology stare” when I talk about aspect ratios and the directors vision – she seems to have decided that’s easier than arguing about it.

About the NTSC TV comments.. NTSC converts to PAL reasonably easy, and I think most DVD players will do it for you (in this country, anyway) if you turn it on. However, as you said, most TVs sold here in the past 10 or so years can display both NTSC and PAL.

I don’t think you can convert them in the other direction (PAL to NTSC) as easily, because there’s more information in a frame of PAL than in a frame of NTSC.

On the other hand, surely modern TVs in the US can do both? I mean, why bother making a TV that can only do NTSC, and cutting out all the international markets?

I just bought a second TV for upstairs that only cost $229, yet it has component input, a 16:9 mode and can even play tetris during the ad breaks.

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