Step Brothers Blu-ray Review
The movie is presented in 2.40:1 ratio and it's a 1080P AVC high definition transfer.
It's a very clean image with no evidence of digital trickery or false enhancement going on. What you get is a slick looking image along with a fine grain. It's more than satisfactory but there's not enough in the sharpness for it to pop in true 3-D fashion. Detail is ever present and textures are revealed in a manner you would expect from a high definition release. Sony have done pretty well here.
The blacks for the most part are deep and inky. If there's a criticism it would revolve around the contrast and the colours. The contrast is punchy but it simply doesn't hit consistent levels. The outdoor scenes for example can waver and appear to look washed out. Speaking of washed out, the colours also represent a bug bear. Skin tones are off throughout the movie and in part it's down to the inability of the contrast to help render truer whites in the colour mix. The colours can swing from being sickly rich to being anaemically weak.
Nevertheless it's a pretty good high definition release from Sony Pictures and it would be unfair to mark the disc heavily down for what is actually an acceptable level of video performance.
Step Brothers comes with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack that caters for the English, German and Italian spoken word.
As you would expect from a quick fire comedy it's all about the dialogue. It's very front staged orientated and disappointingly non-directional. However that's no great shakes as it's all about the comedy and the delivery of the lines.
Ambience is not up with the best and rear channel support is pretty thin. The sound engineer was having a pretty uninventive day when he set about mastering this mix. Nevertheless, when the score kicks in and the supporting music enlightens the film you'll get a pretty good uplifting sense of inclusion. LFE is of the non-thumping variety and your subwoofer will get a limited work over. There are some scenes that really could have done with an underlying command of bass coming through but the punch never truly hits the spot.
Still, it's a lossless soundtrack and you have to be thankful of that. If you push your amp hard, though not entirely necessary with this film, you will find the resolution holds true up to impressive volume levels. The dialogue is crisp and clean and there's enough integrity in this offering to authentically partner the film.
The disc comes with ten extras as well an option to use BD-Live if your player is suitably java enabled and you have access to the internet.
Audio Commentary - Will Ferrell, John C Reilly, Baron Davis, Adam McKay and Jon Brion all join in to provide one of the most entertaining commentaries that I have listened to for a long time. The commentary has its own musical score and the actors often break into song to describe the scenes in a thoroughly entertaining manner. Think of it as a musical accompaniment. In actual fact it's a great idea to make audio commentaries in this way.
Boats 'n' Hoes - Music Video Editor - Dale and Brennan team up in the movie to form a small music promotion company called Prestige Worldwide and they release a rap video. Here you have some BD-Live enabled content to get to the video, chop and edit it how you like as well as save it under your profile. It is actually quite impressive and the budding music video producers amongst you will have something to play around with.
Extended & Alternate Scenes - (17mins) - There are five alternate scenes for you to peruse through here. Ghost Story, What do you do? Night Vision Goggles, Hulk Hands and Catalina Heart Attack. All of them are extensions of scenes already included in the film and you can see what was left out on the cutting room floor.
Line-o-rama - (5mins 55secs) - Here you have a whole host of repeated one liners from various scenes of the film. They obviously shot a hundred lines for some of these scenes and went only with what they decided was the best. These are a collection of the also-rans.
Gag reel - (4mins 15secs) - It's pretty hard keeping a straight face when you're dropping some goofy gags. What you get here are the various cast members bursting out into laughter and struggling to hold a straight face when doing their lines.
Prestige Worldwide Full Presentation (4mins 51secs) - In the film the family go out for a get together 'friends & family' meal. Dale and Brennan think it's a pretty cool idea to use the opportunity to present their latest hair brain scheme. They decide to form a music promotion company called Prestige Worldwide and use the dinner party to present their slide and video show. Here you get the full fat presentation without the edits as in the film.
Boats 'n' Hoes Music Video - (1mins 52secs) - Prestige Worldwide's first music video offering. It's a hilarious rap video and the pair of them use some quite colourfully inventive language to keep you nodding your head and bounce to this....bling style.
Dale vs. Brennan - Sibling Rivalry - (6mins 52secs) - These guys really hate each other with a passion. Here are a series of extended scenes from the movie highlighting the bitter rivalry between the pair of them when they are one on one, mano a mano. It's quite laughable and childish showboating behaviour that is very much a cat like territorial encounter.
The Making of Step Brothers - (22mins 4secs) -OK this is your far more standard run of the mill type of extra. The cast and crew go into what it took to make the movie. Interestingly enough Adam McKay stresses the point that this was a very loose script. As I have mentioned in my main review the movie felt very much like home territory for Will Ferrell and John C Reilly, probably because they were allowed to let rip in spontaneous fashion.
The Music Of Step Brothers - (18mins 16secs) - Jon Brion talks about the score of the movie and how he went about composing it. You'll get to see the orchestra in action as well as close up recording sessions on the guitar work. It's actually quite a lengthy extra and if you appreciate musical talent there's plenty of it on offer here.
BD Live - If your player is Ethernet enabled then you can go along to the Sony BD Live centre and have a gander at what's going on. It takes a while to load so please be patient.
Step Brothers pits Will Ferrell and John C Reilly against each other in a tale of comically bitter sibling rivalry. Adam McKay directs a fast flowing cohesive comedy that in short relies on low levels of vulgarity to hit it off. Some may argue it's the low level brainless humour that makes the movie all the more entertaining. I'm not going to argue either way as there's no doubting that these two comics have hit top form once again.
Observers of Will Ferrell's career may have noticed a recent slide in the quality of his output but fans and non-fans alike will applaud a true return to form. John C Reilly is simply on fire and the pair of them together really have come up trumps in a way I wasn't expecting nor have seen from them in a long time. If only all their stuff was as consistent. Having been inclusive in the writing of the film itself both actors are performing well within their comfort zones here. It's that if not anything else as to why this film just so hits the mark.
The UK release of the film comes as a single disc 'Extended Version'. You will though get two versions of the film for the price of one; the 98-minute theatrical Version and a 105-minute unrated extended version. There's nothing much between the two and you may as well watch the longer version to get all the goofs in their raw intended glory.
Video quality is more than acceptable and it's accompanied by a lossless Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. In all, both elements of video and audio will provide you the viewer with a satisfactory if not spectacular experience. The pick of the extras is the audio commentary and it is often as hilarious as the film.
As a movie the two funny men have done more than enough for you to want to watch it and get a chance to see them operate at their very best. Sony Pictures have also not let you down should you wish to be investing in this disc. The only question that remains is that is it your kind of humour and will it make you laugh? Personally, I reckon you'll laugh either way.
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