Last Updated: 1 year ago
HBO Max was and is nothing in need of a miracle. When initially introduced again in 2020, there was a lot confusion surrounding the streaming service. HBO already had a quasi-streaming service with HBO Go, and plenty of noticed the Max announcement as complicated and ill-advised on the time. Even as soon as HBO Max launched on May 27, 2020, many had been fast to ridicule its generally buggy interface or its subsequent day-and-date film premiere plan all through the center of the pandemic.
Now, with the Warner Bros./Discovery merger finalized and the brand new President/CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, chopping prices at each flip, it appears to be like as if HBO Max’s days are numbered. The streaming service is destined to be assimilated by Discovery+ in 2023, based on Zaslav’s plans, and is already having big swaths of its catalog worn out of existence to save lots of the corporate a couple of bucks. It is a disgrace as a result of, regardless of preliminary misgivings and its present drama, HBO Max has remained one of the best streaming service by a really broad margin.
Just a few months earlier than HBO Max’s launch, when the streaming service introduced the lineup of movies and tv collection that will be obtainable to stream on the platform, it was exhausting to imagine. Sporting traditional Warner Bros. movies, modern-day blockbusters from franchises just like the DC Extended Universe, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, an animated roster that included Popeye, Looney Tunes and the whole lot of Studio Ghibli’s work, and a complete part of movies from the Criterion Collection curated by Turner Classic Movies, all of it appeared too good to be true. But miraculously, on launch day, it was all there. HBO Max had the biggest catalog of any streaming service with an enormous array of movies starting from the Nineteen Twenties to the trendy day, all streaming in startlingly pristine high-definition.
The strengths of HBO Max grow to be much more starkly evident when evaluating it to its competitors. Netflix is the most well-liked streaming service on the planet, but its catalog looks like an arbitrary algorithmically-dictated collection of no matter movies and TV collection it presently has the streaming rights to. Nothing feels curated or fastidiously chosen; it is a jumbled mess of works with out the slightest trace of any inside coherency past funneling the viewer again to watching Netflix Original content material within the title of revenue.
HBO Max, alternatively, breaks its library up into central ‘hubs,’ permitting viewers to extra simply entry titles with out participating in an endless scrolling by way of peripheral supplies. Even inside these hubs, HBO Max categorizes its library even additional, usually curating works primarily based on its creators. For occasion, HBO Max presently has collections that includes complete filmographies by administrators like Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin and Georges Méliès, organized by launch date.
While different streaming platforms equivalent to Netflix and Hulu hardly ever function a movie from earlier than the ’70s, HBO Max has complete swaths of its catalog made up of traditional movies from earlier a long time. While these different streaming platforms usually actively disguise particulars such because the yr of launch or director/author credit, making viewers click on by way of a number of interfaces to search out them, HBO Max proudly wears such particulars on its sleeve. For all of the flack HBO Max acquired for the day-and-date film premiere plan from administrators equivalent to Christopher Nolan, it’s far and away probably the most creator-driven streaming service.
Heck, it even has creators fairly actually come on the streaming service and curate complete collections of movies. For the season finale of Barry, HBO Max had Bill Hader are available and choose a few of his favourite movies that influenced his work on Barry (equivalent to Clockwork Orange and The Last Detail) and movie an intro explaining what every film meant to him. This is totally fantastic stuff that not solely offers audiences entry to traditional movies however curates them in such a vogue that they really feel accessible to them.
This is particularly essential provided that so most of the traditional movies on HBO Max weren’t simply obtainable earlier than the platform’s launch. Many movies from the Criterion Collection are sometimes not straightforward finds elsewhere in good situation (thus why they’ve been restored and cataloged by Criterion), and Criterion bodily releases, as drop-dead attractive as they’re, can get a bit expensive. HBO Max provided these movies instantly for the worth of admission alone in absurdly nice high quality. For occasion, this author had by no means been capable of finding an above-standard definition model of Charlie Chaplin’s A Woman of Paris, however there was a high-definition stream available on HBO Max at launch.
So not solely does HBO Max have the widest selection and largest assortment of works on its streaming service, nevertheless it’s additionally fastidiously curated and hand-crafted to function each premiering blockbusters to get audiences within the door and beforehand inaccessible traditional movies proper alongside them. In a cutthroat setting the place many streaming platforms really feel ruthlessly chilly and calculated of their choices, HBO Max felt creatively minded and all in favour of fostering curiosity and creativeness. This is what makes Zaslav’s gutting of it all of the extra heartbreaking.
For so long as it is nonetheless obtainable, regardless of all of the drama and headlines presently surrounding it, HBO Max stays the best streaming service within the recreation. When its time inevitably involves an finish within the close to future, hopefully, it will likely be remembered because it was: an incredible reward to movie lovers in all places that was certainly too good to final.