50 First Dates appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. One of the very first Blu-rays ever released, the image did not hold up well.
Sharpness was the main issue, as the image tended to be surprisingly soft. Close-ups showed decent delineation, and some wide shots looked okay, but overall delineation was usually lackluster; for Blu-ray, this was a mushy image. The movie lacked any issues with print flaws, as I noticed no signs of specks, marks, or other defects. Some light edge haloes appeared, and artifacts meant the movie lacked a film-like feel.
Colors suffered from the poor encoding as well. The movie opted for a vivid tropical palette, but the general flatness of the presentation negatively affected the hues; they were passable but without much vivacity. Blacks were decent and shadows showed reasonable clarity, but neither excelled. This was barely good enough for a “C-“, as I almost went “D+” for this bland, limp presentation.
A few problems also negatively affected the Uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack of 50 First Dates, but it showed some surprising strengths. The soundfield seemed more active than I expected for a romantic comedy. The forward domain dominated the affair, but not to the anticipated degree. In the front, the music showed good stereo imaging, and effects blended together nicely. Those elements moved well across the channels and meshed together seamlessly.
As for the surrounds, they contributed solid reinforcement and added some unique audio when appropriate. Thunderstorms and sea shots were moderately lively, and the Hawaiian environment seemed pretty engrossing. Again, this soundfield won’t win any awards, but it seemed more involving than I expected from a film of this genre.
Audio quality generally matched what I thought we’d get, though speech showed some concerns. While not a pervasive problem, more than a few lines displayed edginess. Otherwise, dialogue appeared acceptably warm and natural, and intelligibility never became a concern. Effects sounded clear and detailed, and they displayed no signs of distortion. Music proved to be vibrant and lively, as the score and songs sounded clean and rich. Overall, I liked the soundtrack of 50 First Dates.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original 2004 DVD? Audio was a little peppier, as the uncompressed sound seemed a bit more dynamic. Unfortunately, the visuals didn’t do much – if anything – to surpass the DVD. Yeah, I suppose the Blu-ray offered slightly stronger definition at times, but it was so soft so often that I occasionally felt like I was watching a DVD. This movie needs a new Blu-ray presentation.
The Blu-ray retains only a few of the DVD’s extras, and we start with an audio commentary from director Peter Segal and actor Drew Barrymore. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion. Though pretty lively and chatty, the pair don’t give us much real information about the movie. They go over subjects like differences between the final product and the original script, locations, improvisations, and general production notes.
Barrymore occasionally gives us some nice remarks about character issues and challenges. However, the pair often just praise everything and everyone, and those elements drag down the discussion. They’re bright and bubbly, and they interact nicely, so the commentary goes down painlessly. It’s simply not terribly informative.
A featurette called Talkin’ Pidgin goes for four minutes, 55 seconds. It concentrates on the film’s use of Hawaiian slang. A variety of unnamed locals define various terms in this mildly interesting piece.
The Gag Reel goes for seven minutes, five seconds. Much of the material offers the usual goofiness and flubs, but we also find some alternate takes and unused footage, which makes the reel more interesting than usual..
Under Previews, we find ads for Hitch and Into the Blue. No trailer for Dates appears here.
A surprisingly sweet and charming piece, 50 First Dates falters at times, but remains mostly solid. The film melds a few genres fairly smoothly and seems amusing and likable. The Blu-ray offers generally good audio but picture seems flat and fuzzy, and the disc lacks many bonus features. Fans should probably opt for the DVD, as it provides more substantial supplements and doesn’t look significantly worse.
To rate this film visit the original review of 50 FIRST DATES (2004)