DVD Audio commentaries. Love them or hate them, they are a part of modern media. I find myself enjoying them quite a fair bit if I am honest. Some are absolutely terrible but some very rare gems are out there if you take the time to find them.
One of the finest DVD commentaries I have ever had the pleasure of sitting through for two hours is that of Warwick Davis and his audio commentary of Willow. It is witty, insightful, refreshing and a thoroughly good listen. If you have already listened through it yourself, I am sure you will agree. If you have not, then I strongly suggest you give it a listen.
But what is it that makes a good Audio Commentary? Is it the witty banter between participants? Is it the behind the scenes insights? Is it the hope of noticing something new about your favourite film that you had overlooked despite watching it through for the umpteenth time?
One thing I know from my own experience of Audio Commentaries is that there is no “One Size Fits All” approach to them. What does it for me will not do it for someone else. What I find thoroughly enjoyable will be downright irritating to others.
I think that one of the most universally panned Audio commentaries ever is that infamous one with Arnie and Mr Verhoeven for Total Recall. It is just two hours of Arnie telling you exactly what you are seeing on the screen. In typical Arnie fashion though, it is so bad that it actually becomes good.
As the film industry grows, no doubt Audio Commentaries will continue to grow too. There will be duds. There will be real gems. There will be (hopefully) more commentaries from Arnie that are just so bad that they are good.
In the end, those of us who enjoy them will always find those commentaries which really speak to us as lovers of movies. Those who hate them, will listen on in bemusement whilst we willingly listen to people jabbering on over the top of a film, when normally we would smack our friends if they tried to talk over the top of it.