The fastness of Disney Fast Play

14 Aug

Of course, what we’ve come to expect from Disney is non-stop quality. They’d never resort to endless straight-to-video spin-offs of everything that had a modicum of success. They’d never make cheap, thoughtless, computer-animated TV just because it’s lucrative. They’re not that kind of soulless machine.

But everyone’s prone to bizarre lapses in thinking, and in Disney’s case, that is their magnificent Fast Play feature installed on their DVDs.

Everyone (everyone except DVD production houses) recognises that the most annoying thing about commercial DVDs is the amount of time that it takes between sticking in the DVD and starting the movie. Disney’s Fast Play is not designed to do anything about that. But it’s name suggests that it does, and it’s name has absolutely nothing to do with the thing that it does do. Fast Play bypasses the need for you to press ‘play’ once you’ve reached the menu — not an especially strenuous stage — but Disney will be darned (and they will anyway) if they’ll let you get to that menu in good time.

Having just rented ‘Underdog’ (a good-ish Disney canine superhero pic), let me lay out for you what it is that you’ll be inflicting on your kids if you leave them in the caring hands of Disney fast play:

language menu1. The Language Menu
Right where the ‘Play the Movie’ menu ought to be, you’re given the option to choose your language. Why this couldn’t just be an industry-standard flag icon on the main menu, I’ll never know. Nevertheless, you the parent needs to do some choosing here, right before you flee whatever torture Disney has lined up.

2. The Warnings (12 seconds)
Here comes the important stuff. Warnings about who-knows-what that nobody ever reads. I’m sure it covers the studio in the case of something-or-other. Imagine if your software packages insisted on getting you to opt in to the T&Cs every time you started up. Imagine your mp3s were each prefaced with a lawyers voice telling you how naughty you would be if you gave copies to all your friends. Annoying? Why, yes, it would be.

3. There’s only one Disney (45 seconds)
For a full 45 seconds, Disney allows itself the indulgence of telling us how great it is. Perhaps they aren’t aware that I have seen The Jungle Book 2, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, and My Friends Tigger and Pooh. Maybe the message that there’s only one Disney is supposed to inspire a sense of relief in us?

4. Fast Play Infomercial (10 seconds)
As the itchiness begins to set in, the viewer is given the opportunity to jump to the conclusion that clicking on Fast Play will end the madness and get you to the movie. Paradoxically, Fast Play gets you there slower. If you want to get there quickly, you have to choose not-Fast-Play, and click the menu button.

5. Enchanted trailer and various Disney odds and ends (3 minutes)

Enchanted
Having misinterpreted the Fast Play instructions, Disney now has its captive audience. The Enchanted trailer is both prefaced and followed by some more shameless corporate self-congratulation. It goes on for 3 full minutes.

6. Blu Ray Promotion (1 minute 11 seconds)
You’ve bought the DVD. Disney would like you to know that you really should have bought the Blu Ray. It’s much better (they show you how much sharper and more astounding it is than feeble DVD quality, even though you’re watching a DVD). Allow the dissatisfaction and envy to descend. It’s what it’s all about.

7. 101 Dalmations Trailer (1 minute 19 seconds)
You’ve seen it. You probably own it. But do you have the Platinum Edition?

8. Wall-E Trailer (1 minute 36 seconds)

Disney Logo animation. Pixar Logo animation (plus cute Wall-E interaction – Pixar is Disney’s only saving grace, isn’t it?). Wall-E trailer. Actually, this is probably an occasion on which Disney needs to display its logo yet again. I for one still cannot believe that the frequently appalling Disney are in any way connected with the uniformly outstanding Pixar. They need to keep reminding me of that.

9. National Treasure Trailer (1 minute 58 seconds)
Because kids really dig Freemasonry.

10. Disney DVD logo page (10 seconds)
If at this stage you’re still confused as to whether you’re watching a DVD that is made by Disney, a Disney DVD may be all the intellectual stimulation you’re ever going to handle.

11. Animated Disney Logo Page – the one with the castle and what not (35 seconds)
You have to watch out at this point. If you’ve been working the ‘skip’ button for this long, trying to find the movie, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that this is just another logo page. So you’ll skip it. But because Fast Play is such a wonderful idea, they’ve removed any division between the movie and the guff beforehand. So when you skip, you don’t find the useful stuff on the other side of the logo, you find scene 2 of the film itself, and so you have to skip back again to find out what happened in scene 1 (but not before you’ve watched the Disney logo again).

12. Spyglass Logo Page (15 seconds)
Spyglass gets its 15 seconds in the sun. Mercifully, Underdog has only one of these production pages. Some movies seem to have 5 or 6. By step 12, adding 4 more might have led to suicide, so they left it at one.

13. Tonight’s feature
Is anyone still watching? After approximately 11 minutes and 11 seconds since you selected your language (and where any sane person would have put a ‘Play the Movie’ button), the movie has begun.

Would you have called this DVD feature Fast Play? And you’ve been trusting your kids to people who do??

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4 Responses to “The fastness of Disney Fast Play”

  1. Ingrid August 25, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    Thank you for making me laugh on this bright wednesday morning!! 🙂
    Your font is quite small though and it took me as long as the fast-play design to read this post!!

    • Jordan Pickering August 31, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

      Old blog design duly abandoned. Shiny new one installed for your viewing pleasure.

  2. David January 22, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    Wait…what company are we talking about again?
    For real though, it’s a shame Disney has descended into such commercial madness.

  3. Debbie H August 18, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    I know this is about 2 years old but I’ve just had these exact thoughts!!! I’ve never understood the Fast Play thing it is such a lot of rubbish!! But having said that, if we’d been able to fast forward past the trailers on the incredibly bad Treasure Buddies movie we just watched we would’ve missed the one for Planes…it was better than the whole movie that we actually paid for!!

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