Blu-ray's Internet capabilities got a brand new push this weekend, with the first director's chat featuring Hellboy II: The Golden Army's Guillermo del Toro live from New Zealand. Didn't get home in time to access the event (scattered forum posts reported problems logging in at all, or people who were logged in but unable to access the comments), or might not have the movie? No problem, here's a quick look at things after the break, and hopefully a preview of what to expect from future director / fan chats.
Gallery | 20 Photos
Hellboy II BD-Live director chat w/ Guillermo del Toro
If you didn't like the chat window appearing the whole time, too bad, as there was no way to get rid of it entirely. Thankfully, we were able to select from two different views, with a choice of full screen video or a smaller window with more text to read and the ability to input questions. According to the director, his responses were mixed between live commentary and 50 questions sent in earlier via the website, but with no indication of how many people, or who, were logged in, the "live" feeling just wasn't there. For his part, del Toro kept things going, with new Q&A's updating every few minutes throughout the movie, but they usually weren't as relevant to specific scenes as we had hoped, so the level of interest probably varied on how big a fan of the movie or director you are.
Towards the end he made his feelings towards Blu-ray disc releases and extras known, calling it an opportunity for the "perfect home theater experience" and a way to serve film lovers who want to know everything about a particular picture -- or nothing if they hate his work.
Overall, the experience left us with mixed feelings. While we didn't experience the login problems others noted, our feed stopped updating around halfway through without any indication, so we had to log out of and back into the session to see further updates. Serious fans could get a similar experience with the existing commentary, or possibly a BD-Live download from the website (the chat log is available on UniversalHiDef.com). Having a "live interactive" event so devoid of life and interactivity was disappointing, but it was somewhat balanced by such an enthusiastic presentation by the mind behind the movie. Moviemakers and studios should certainly take a look at this and see how to improve these events going forward. Check out our gallery for a few more pics and let us know how interested you are in the future of Blu-ray and BD-Live.