Bull Durham appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though generally quite good, the picture displayed a few concerns that reduced its overall quality.
Sharpness appeared nicely crisp and distinct throughout the movie. I saw few signs of softness at any times, as the movie consistently remained well defined and accurate. Some mild moirť effects cropped up along the way, however, and I detected a little edge enhancement as well. The latter didnít seem to affect the definition of prominent material, but at times some background items looked fuzzier than they should; for example, signs at ballparks were a bit blurry at times.
Print flaws caused no huge concerns during Bull Durham, but they occasionally became a distraction. Some light grain appeared occasionally, and I also saw intermittent examples of grit and speckles. Again, nothing overwhelming occurred, but I found the picture to look moderately dirty at times.
Colors offered a strong aspect of the transfer. The hues appeared nicely vivid and accurate throughout the movie. I saw no signs of bleeding or noise, as the tones always looked clear and rich. Black levels also seemed deep and dense, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy but not excessively thick. Overall, the print flaws and edge enhancement knocked my grade down to a ďBĒ, but Bull Durham still offered a pretty satisfying image.
Also good but unexceptional was the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Bull Durham. The soundfield mostly offered a forward bias, where it provided generally solid stereo imaging. Music showed acceptable spread and delineation, while effects also created a reasonably positive sense of atmosphere. Most of those elements remained environmental, such as crowd noise at the ballpark or chatter in clubs. The surrounds contributed fair but unexceptional reinforcement of those aspects of the track.
Audio quality appeared decent. Speech remained consistently intelligible, but dialogue sounded somewhat stiff and metallic much of the time. Effects came across as acceptably accurate and clean, and they showed reasonable depth across the board. Music also sounded clear and distinct and displayed fairly good bass response. Nothing about the soundtrack made it stand out from the crowd, but for a chatty romantic comedy from the Eighties, it worked fine.
This version of Bull Durham includes only a couple of supplements. First up comes a running, screen-specific audio commentary from director Ron Shelton. Shelton offered a consistently compelling discussion of the film that didnít suffer from many empty spaces. He covered lots of different information, from the challenges that faced a first time director to changes from script to screen to working with the cast to deleted scenes to many other facets of the production. At times, Shelton came across as somewhat arrogant and full of himself, but those quibbles remained minor. As a whole, I found this to be a very good track.
Other than the commentary, the only special feature on this Bull Durham DVD is a section of filmographies for director Shelton and actors Costner, Sarandon, Robbins, Robert Wuhl and Trey Wilson. And thatís all she wrote!
Iíve always really liked Bull Durham as a film. It includes well-drawn and amusing characters who manage to avoid becoming stereotypes, and it lets them grow and progress in a naturalistic fashion. It also uses baseball as a believable backdrop for romantic comedy. Truly, this is the rare film of that genre that will appeal to male and female audiences. As a DVD, Bull Durham provides generally positive picture and sound plus a very interesting audio commentary. This movie belongs in any DVD collection.
Update: this review refers to the original 1998 release of Bull Durham. Itís now out of print and has been replaced by a new MGM special edition DVD. The latter adds some extras but provides different audio and picture transfers. Frankly, I preferred the sound and image on this DVD, though the variations were minor. Nonetheless, the new one may be the only game in town, as it probably will be tough to locate this original DVD.