A lot has changed since High-Def Digest started reviewing movies in 2006. We've changed with the times, naturally, but remain focused on sharing our subjective movie opinions as well as our objective analysis of video presentations, audio mixes, and bonus materials. Back in the halcyon days of DVD and physical media, multi-disc boxed sets with hours of special features were much more common. Here in 2019, most studios release a handful of featurettes, a few trailers, and maybe an audio commentary or two. The best releases still have in-depth documentaries, but they're pretty rare.
What does this have to do with review scoring, you might ask?
Before today, we calculated our Overall Score by giving equal weight to Story, Video, Audio, and Special Features. But, in an era where Special Features are less common, or non-existent, it feels like Special Features carry too much weight. It's not like you're going to skip buying a great movie with demo-worthy audio-video because the bonus featurettes are on the light side, right?
As such, we plan to treat Special Features a bit like extra credit. To be clear, we're still going to grade the Special Features and let you know if they're good, bad, or somewhere in between. As fellow movie collectors, we understand how a fantastic set of bonus materials can be a value-add, or make a re-release worthy of a double-dip. (Longtime readers may recall our old HD Exclusives section, which was created to cover Blu-ray special features not on the DVD. That section was also treated like extra credit.)
So here's how our system works, starting today:
We now calculate our Overall Score by averaging Story, Video, and Audio.
BUT if the Special Features are --
Admittedly, this is more subjective than what we've been doing, but based on a few experiments, this adjustment should course-correct scenarios where Special Features tank the Overall Score of otherwise worthy 4K, 3D, & HD releases. Ultimately, the goal is to make our Overall Score reflect whether or not you should buy a disc or digital download. And we hope this quick note lets you into our process, explaining how we work and why this choice was made.
Thanks so much for your time and readership!