Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story DVD Review
PicturePresented as a theatrically correct 2.35:1, anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TV's, Fox have presented an almost pristine picture. Not surprisingly for a film only six months old before released on DVD, there is no print damage what so ever. Colours are bold and bright, flesh tones are consistent, and there is no bleed or wash. What blacks there are fair very well, with contrast and brightness levels at a perfect level. With all this good there must be some bad, and unfortunately there is some. Edge enhancement does rear its ugly head more than once, and is noticeable; however this is the only digital problem. Considering the amount of extras, and hidden extras, Fox have done an exceptional job with the compression.
SoundThe Dolby 5.1 sound mix doesn't fair quite so well. Obviously this is not an action movie so the mix doesn't have to be big and brash; there is nothing 'physically' wrong with it, dynamically the sound mix is functional and consistent, but as is so often the case with Dolby, it doesn't have that punch. Most of the action is dealt with by the front speakers, with the centre getting most of the attention. The rears get the occasional look in during the matches when crowd enthusiasm tries to place you in the centre of the action. Doesn't really achieve it to me; with the obvious lack of bass and depth there is nothing to raise the heart beat. The poor old LFE almost has the night off. Even the score fails to excite the speakers and that's saying something as it is during these moments when the sound is at its fullest. When turned up, there is no distortion or hiss, but it does bring out how thin the mix really is, disappointing.
Also included are a French and Spanish Dolby digital 2.0 surround mix. Both are reasonable, and consistent, separation is scarce the majority being saved for the crowd scenes, and score but when the rears come into play it fairs very well.
ExtrasThe jewel in the crown of these extras is the commentary with Director Rawson Marshall Thurber and stars Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. This is a very lively affair with much laughter from the trio; though a fair bit of information can be gleamed from the conversation. They discuss the writing, direction, acting choices the other cast members, locations, out-takes, deleted scenes; it is very informative and entertaining but does contain a few pauses.
Other extras include four featurettes running at a few minutes each; the cast learning to cope with the demanding training regime of dodgeball. Others look more like out-takes. Which brings me onto out-takes, running for a few minutes there is nothing really here, a few fluffed lines and laughing. More impressive is the wealth of deleted and extended scenes, all with optional director's commentary. It seems all were removed due to pacing reasons, to get the story flowing at the risk of removing character moments; actually none really make that much difference, though Stiller did have a few adlibbed lines that could have stayed in. The alternate ending, actually the original ending would have left the film on rather a sour note. And whilst some films need that type of ending Dodgeball would have suffered terribly. I, like the test audiences, am glad that it was vetoed by the Fox executives. Two trailers for this film, one for a Fox TV show as well as an up and coming film bring up the rear.
I will mention the easter eggs here because there is one doozy! Every time Stiller clicks his fingers press the enter button and you will be treated to the eggs, apparently there are six, not sure I found them all. Most are fluff, extra deleted scenes or out-takes or spoof commercials for Globo gym. However, the finger click in the Dirty Sanchez bar will direct you to another commentary, the director by himself. Unfortunately he does repeat a fair amount of information from the other commentary though there is also new stuff to be learnt; this has to be one of the best easter eggs on any DVD, happy I found it, plus it earns an additional mark to the extras.
VerdictDodgeball certainly has its moments. There is enough in there to keep kids and adults alike entertained. Jokes come think and fast, almost as if the makers were of the mind if you throw as many as you can at the screen some must work. And to be fair most do. Perhaps not a classic but certainly entertaining.
As a DVD package Fox have produced an impressive disc. Ignoring the lacklustre sound, the picture in very impressive and there are enough extras and easter eggs to keep the disc in the machine for a while. Perhaps not an essential purchase, but certainly worth owning.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.59
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