Against All Odds appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 monitors. This became a problematic presentation.
Sharpness was mediocre at best. Close-ups showed passable delineation, but wider shots came across as somewhat mushy and flat.
The presence of moderate edge haloes added to the lack of definition, and a little shimmering and moiré effects also appeared. In terms of print flaws, I saw a mix of specks and marks. Though not heavy, these cropped up pretty persistently.
Colors were bland, as they lacked range or vivacity. Blacks seemed inky, while shadows were dull and too thick. This ended up as a weak transfer.
As for the film’s Dolby Digital 4.0 soundtrack, it seemed dated but decent. The soundfield tended to emphasize music, as score and songs cropped up from the side and rear speakers.
Stereo presence was reasonably good, as the music spread around the room. Effects displayed less concise imaging, though this varied.
Some elements – like vehicles – moved around the room in a reasonably satisfying way, but other sequences bordered on monaural. Overall, the soundscape tended to open things up in a moderate manner.
Audio quality was fine for its age. Music tended to be a little boomy, but the score and songs displayed decent clarity.
Speech seemed natural and concise, and effects were fine. They didn’t boast great accuracy, but they showed fair range and definition. Given the track’s age, it seemed pretty positive.
The set’s extras launch with two separate audio commentaries, the first of which features director Taylor Hackford and actors Jeff Bridges and James Woods. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, music, cast and performances, story and character areas, and related topics.
At times, Hackford tends to simply narrate the movie, but that ends up as a minor concern. Instead, most of the track moves at a nice pace, with a good mix of facts and charisma.
In particular, Woods adds humor – mainly via a running gag about Richard Widmark's love of hotcakes – and the three men combine well. Even with some slow spots, the commentary becomes a winner.
For the second chat, we hear from Taylor Hackford and screenwriter Eric Hughes. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the same subjects as the prior commentary – often literally.
And that becomes a flaw, as Hackford repeats an awful lot of the same notes and stories from the other track. We get some new information, but not as much as I’d like/expect. On its own, this becomes a solid chat, but after the other commentary, it seems redundant.
We find seven Deleted Scenes. We get “Terry’s Redundant But Doesn’t Know It” (2:33 plus 1:20 intro from Hackford), “A Coyote Saves Terry at Riviera” (2:25), “Jake Gives Terry a Mexican Surprise” (5:28), “Jessie Obsesses in Chichen-Itza” (7:32), “Tommy Challenges Jake on Freeway” (1:10), “Terry Watches Jake Bed Jessie” (0:50) and “Terry and Jessie Play Rough” (1:47). The clips themselves are in kind of rough shape, but they're interesting and are more compelling than most excised segments.
The scenes can be viewed on their own or along with commentary from Hackford and Hughes. While I would have liked to know more about the reasons behind these scenes’ deletion, their remarks are useful.
Two music videos appear. We get promos for Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” and Kid Creole’s “My Male Curiosity”. The Creole video just shows performance snippets from the movie itself. It’s a dull video and I don’t like the song – honestly, I always hated Creole’s “hipster Cab Calloway” act.
As for the Collins video, it’s a very good song, but the video bores. It just mixes melodramatic lip-synch shots of Phil with movie snippets.
Under trailers, we discover clips for Odds as well as Bridges films The Last Picture Show, Starman and Arlington Road. Talent Files also provides basic bios of Hackford, Bridges, Woods and actor Rachel Ward.
An attempt to update the film noir genre, Against All Odds works to a moderate degree, but that’s the best I can say. While it delivers decent entertainment, it never becomes anything memorable. The DVD brings us weak visuals along with generally good supplements and audio. This becomes a flawed release for a mediocre movie.
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