Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Blu-ray Review

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by AVForums May 24, 2008 at 12:00 AM

  • Movies review

    Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £24.99


    Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is presented in its theatrical ratio of 2.40:1 and given a 1080P makeover using the MPEG4 codec.

    The quality of the picture varies from scene to scene if I'm honest - and I believe it's meant to be like that. It seems it's the trend in Hollywood these days for directors to mimic the style of the era that their project is set in. so for Walk Hard, we have the washed out colours and deep blue skies of the 1920's and 1940's to the almost monochrome style of the 1950's. As we progress towards the 1980's, the colours become even more outrageous (check the Yellow Submarine style cartoon in the 60's era for proof - but don shades before you do!). The TV shows set in the 1970's are full of over saturated reds and blues to give you the effect of watching colour TV for the first time and it works.

    Skin tones are solid throughout. The make up is visible on the musicians faces when they are on stage and as the grey starts to appear in Dewey's hair, you can pick out individual strands.

    The picture quality isn't perfect though. If I have a gripe it's the black levels. Black seems to be a little crushed during the night scenes. This leads to a loss of fine detail in the shadows.

    It's a shame to have to mention it really as the source is in pristine condition with no trace of edge enhancement, dot crawl of colour bleed. But that's why we write these reviews - but I don't think it will spoil your enjoyment too much.
    Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Picture


    Presented here in Dolby TrueHD as the default soundtrack, the 48khz/24bit offering is more than adequate to handle whatever Dewey Cox manages to throw at it.

    With a film that would stand or fall on the reproduction of its musical track, your speakers will spring into life every time an orchestra fires up. Front stage placement is exemplary and dialogue is fixed front and centre. John C. Reilly's strong voice booms through loud and clear and so accurate is the soundtrack, you can actually pinpoint individual musical instruments around the room.

    That said, the surround channels are restricted to expanding the music halls and concert venues. They do pass the odd one or two sound effects - but they are few and far between.

    All in all then, a fine effort that does, in this case, benefit from the inclusion of a lossless soundtrack.
    Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Sound


    Released in the US as a 2 disc special edition on Blu-ray, for some strange reason, we here in Europe have been deprived of the majority of the extras that appeared on that set. However, spilt milk and all that - lets concentrate on what we do have...

    Audio Commentary with Judd Apatow, writer/director Jake Kasdan, star John C. Reilly, and producer Lew Morton. It's a lively affair and goes into some detail on music history. If a scene in the film goes flying over your head, listen to the same scene with the commentary track on and all will become clear. It's a kind of scene by scene explanation of the movie.

    I would have like to have actually seen a PiP commentary as these four seemed to have had a bit of a laugh putting the commentary together.

    Deleted And Extended Scenes contains two extended scenes involving the drug deal and the meeting with The Beatles. It also gives us an alternate acid trip scene. The extended scenes appear in the directors cut already so are only extended if you have seen the theatrical version - waste of disc space in my opinion.

    Line O' Rama is in reality a gag reel but involves a lot of ad-libbing. Kind of gives you the impression that the script wasn't finished before filming began...

    Musical Performances gives us the opportunity to view six of the songs from the film straight away. Note though that these are presented in stereo only.

    The Music Of Walk Hard is a serious piece about how the music was written for the movie and how the songwriters researched the music of the past.

    Interesting point in this doc. - find out who sang their own songs and who was dubbed - and by whom.

    The Real Dewey Cox is a mockumentary featuring all of Sony's top music stars. It's probably the best piece in the extras package if I'm honest and well worth a watch.

    But it could all have been oh so different. The Region A version of this disc featured sixteen songs in the music of the film section while we get six. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Also missing are three other mockumentaries, full song performances, and what I would have thought to have been the cherry on top of the extras cake, Song Demo's. This features all the songwriters in the film singing the original versions of the songs in the film - and some that didn't make it.

    It's a pretty poor showing on the extras front I'm afraid - even worse considering what is actually available and was left out...
    Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Extras


    It's a bit of a strange one this. Not the film - that's fine. But I'm finding it difficult which genre I should actually place it in. Comedy? Musical? Drama?

    Sure, it's all three of those. But with an A listed star at the top of the cast list, it certainly lifts itself above such drivel as the (insert genre here) Movie drivel we have had thrown at us lately - yet I can't help feeling that is where it belongs.

    A film about a fictional music star that nods it head towards Walk the Line, Ray and Beyond The Sea and revels in mocking them certainly seems to belong there.

    As a Blu-ray package, the picture quality is passable if nothing to write home about. I believe a little bit of post processing has gone on to give the impression that we are in a different era - and it works well.

    Unfortunately, all of the extras that could have answered such questions have been left out. This is a real disappointment as if you manage to check the list of what isn't here, it's a lot better than what actually is.

    The Dolby TrueHD Lossless soundtrack does well to bring the musical pieces alive. The film will never win any awards for its sound design, but the soundtrack here is adequate for the task in hand.

    I can recommend Walk Hard to anybody really. Take a look at the theatrical version first. The directors cut does nothing more than pad out what's there in the first place. Just a pity that Sony has added itself to the growing list of studios that think Europeans don't want extras on their discs - take note, we do. However, this disc is region free and played fine on my Japanese PS3, so those of you that decide on a rental with region A machines, can rest assured that your £3.99 won't be wasted.
    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99

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