App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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The evolution of the motion picture has covered quite a bit of ground since the old days of silent film. Home viewing technologies like the VHS tape gave way to DVD, and later Blu-ray, at every turn pressing the medium further forward. As there became more storage space available on disk based platforms, the "special feature" documentary and interactive content became the norm. But what about those that moved over to digital distribution? Where are their bonuses? Sony Pictures are hoping to restore the balance with their new Movie Touch series of applications. Does their freshman outing of Men in Black 3 impress, or is it a far cry from the days of disk?
Men in Black 3: Movie Touch is without a doubt one of the most interesting ideas to grace the digital distribution platform. When coupled with an UltraViolet authenticated copy of the film, it attempts to take the complete Blu-ray experience on the road. The trick is overcoming the initial obstacle of actually acquiring a legitimate copy of a compatible film via the distribution platform. Luckily, even if the viewer isn't an owner of the actual media, there is still content to explore.
Among the featurettes included with the core application are the obvious behind the scenes mini-documentaries, still images, and facts pertaining to the film and its production. These are available for the first ten minutes of the movie, just to give a taste of what the application has to offer. However, once again the limitations of the digital distribution platform come into play, because after that brief initial preview window, there is no option to actually purchase the media from the iPad. Instead users must either venture out to a brick and mortar store and purchase a specially labeled copy of the Blu-ray that includes UltraViolet, then go through the process of registering it online, or purchase it through Sony's online marketplace, which is completely independent of the application. At the risk of beating a dead horse, doesn't that defeat the entire purpose of the ease associated with going purely digital?
For those that are fortunate enough to have purchased and registered a copy of Men in Black 3 with Sony, there is quite an extensive set of green screen recording sessions and interactive timelines to delve into. Fans of the film will find this to actually be a great addition to the viewing experience, if they can get past the lower third of the screen being consumed by the features scrolling by.
As neat of a concept as the Movie Touch brand of app is and potentially can be, it seems like it needs some way to hook into iTunes movie purchases in order to take it to its full potential. If this could eventually happen the possibilities are endless. Until then, those that have not bothered to jump the hoops necessary to properly register the film online will find very little benefit from this product.