Blades of Glory appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was an inconsistent transfer.
Sharpness was one issue. Much of the movie looked okay, but wide shots tended toward softness, and not a lot of great delineation appeared. The general impression the transfer left was of a moderately ill-defined image. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement seemed absent. I noticed no source defects, but the movie looked grainier than expected.
Colors looked lackluster. With all the flamboyant skating settings, the tones should be dynamic. Unfortunately, they tended to come across as flat and pale. Blacks were acceptably deep, but shadows tended to appear somewhat muddy and heavy. Too much of the movie seemed messy and murky to me. I didn’t think a brand-new flick like this should present such mediocre visuals
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Blades failed to present similar flaws, but it also didn’t demonstrate many strengths. That’s because it was a decidedly low-key affair. Not much happened to bring the soundfield to life. Music offered reasonably good stereo imaging. Effects played a minor role. They added some specifics at times, mainly during the skating scenes, but they didn’t add a ton to the proceedings. The surrounds broadened the spectrum in a moderate way at most.
Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no problems with the dialogue. Effects were clear and accurate, even if they did stay in the background. A few scenes with skating pyrotechnics popped the subwoofer to life. Music seemed fine as well. This was a serviceable soundtrack.
In terms of extras, most of them come from a series of featurettes. Return to Glory: The Making of Blades goes for 14 minutes, 48 seconds, a sit mixes movie clips, behind the scenes bits, and interviews. We hear from directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon, producers Stuart Cornfeld and Ben Stiller, and actors Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Amy Poehler, and Jenna Fischer. “Return” looks at the project’s development, thoughts about the directors, casting, characters and performances, and feelings about ice skating.
At no point does “Return” attempt to be a real look at the creation of the film. We do learn a few facts about the flick, but it mostly plays things for laughs. In that regard, it’s not bad, as some amusing moments result. I admit I’d prefer something that tried a little harder to inform us about the movie, though.
For the six-minute and six-second Celebrities on Thin Ice, we find notes from Speck, Gordon, Ferrell, Heder, Arnett, Poehler and skating choreographer Sarah Kawahara. Though it also goes for comedy at times, “Ice” actually offers some decent notes about creating the skating scenes, most of which come from Kawahara. This is a short but solid show.
Cooler Than Ice: The Super-Sexy Costumes of Skating lasts four minutes, 39 seconds, and presents remarks from Ferrell, Speck, Gordon, Arnett, Poehler, Heder, and costume designer Julie Weiss. As expected, we learn a little about the film’s gaudy outfits. Unfortunately, the comments usually stay superficial and comedic. We hear very little from Weiss, so we don’t learn much about the designs.
We take a look at the movie’s antagonists with the five-minute and 51-second Arnett and Poehler: A Family Affair. It includes comments from Arnett and Poehler as they chat about working as a married couple. They relate their experiences in a completely comedic way that’s reasonably funny but not informative in any way.
20 Questions with Scott Hamilton lasts five minutes and one second. The former skater and current commentator talks about his career and other skating-related elements. Expect more comedy here, as the questions usually aim for the funny bone. This is another moderately enjoyable piece.
Information about a key supporting character comes to us in Hector: Portrait of a Psychofan. This three-minute, 24-second piece offers a “video Valentine” from Hector to Jimmy. It’s not quite a deleted scene, but it plays like on in a way. Like the other pieces, this one has some minor laughs and that’s about it.
Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of nine minutes, six seconds. These include “Stranz and Fairchild Watch Katie’s Video” (1:09), “Chazz Offers the Verticoli, Flashback” (4:22), “Blades of Glory Song” (2:53) and “Hector Shoots Darren” (0:41). The first two actually make sense for story purposes and might’ve fit into the final flick well. “Song” is just a flat, long attempt at humor, while “Shoots” is another failed comedic beat.
Next comes a Music Video for “Blades of Glory” from Bo Bice. The American Idol “star” produces an overwrought little tune that sounds a whole lot like a rip-off of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”. Is his take on the genre intentionally forced or is that just Bice’s style? I’m kinda thinking the latter, but I could be wrong. All I know is that the song stinks, and it comes with a boring movie clip/lip-synch video.
When we move to the two-minute and nine-second Gag Reel, we find the usual stuff. The clip shows a lot of the standard flubs and giggles. We also see the actors fall down as they attempt to skate. It’s forgettable.
Eight minutes and 40 seconds of Alternate Takes pop up after this. As the title promises, we find different versions of scenes that made the film. For instance, we find many more voice mail messages that Chazz leaves for Jimmy. Much of the material comes from Ferrell’s improvs, though the other actors get a few moments as well. There’s some pretty amusing material in this little collection.
A promotional featurette called Moviefone Unscripted lasts nine minutes, 54 seconds and features Ferrell, Heder and Arnett. They ask each other questions and take some from viewers as well. Should you expect anything other than gag answers? Nope, not much, as this one follows the standard path found in the other extras.
Three MTV Interstitials fill a total of two minutes, 40 seconds. These are MTV-exclusive ads with some character material that appears nowhere else. They’re moderately entertaining promotional bits.
The Photo Galleries area splits into three subdomains. We find “Kick Some Ice” (34 shots), “Capture the Dream” (37) and “Costume Glory”. The latter breaks into “Mind Bottling” (27), “Provocative” (28), and “Booooom” (28). The titles for “Ice” and “Dream” are completely arbitrary; they just show behind the scenes photos, so the names mean nothing. “Glory” does deal with costumes, but the other titles are also meaningless, since all of the “Glory” shots present publicity stills of the actors in various clothes. Despite the odd classifications, the “Galleries” offer a lot of reasonably interesting photos.
A few commercials open the DVD. We find ads for Bee Movie, Transformers, Shrek the Third, and “The Will Ferrell Collection”. These also appear in the DVD’s Previews area. No trailer for Blades shows up here.
Will Ferrell can produce some good comedies, but Blades of Glory doesn’t do much to demonstrate his talent. The movie exists to exploit one fairly lame joke, and it fails to provoke much amusement. The DVD presents mediocre picture and audio as well as a mix of decent extras. This turns into a bland DVD for a spotty movie.