DodgeBall appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For the most part, the picture looked excellent, but a few small concerns knocked it below “A” level.
Sharpness seemed solid as a whole. A few wide shots displayed a smidgen of softness, but those issues caused no real problems. Instead, the movie almost always appeared crisp and detailed. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, but I did notice a little light edge enhancement at times. As for print flaws, the image looked clean most of the time. I saw a couple of specks but otherwise no blemishes occurred.
As one might expect from a cartoony comedy, DodgeBall enjoyed a vivid palette, and the DVD displayed those tones nicely. Colors appeared bright and vibrant throughout the movie. I saw no issues related to noise, bleeding, or other problems. Black levels came across as deep and dense, and shadow detail seemed fine for the most part, but a few low-light scenes were slightly murky. Ultimately, DodgeBall looked quite good.
While the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of DodgeBall featured no noticeable flaws, it didn’t score high due to a moderate lack of ambition. The soundfield remained oriented toward the forward channels. Music showed solid stereo imaging, while the mix also offered general ambience that spread nicely across the front. The surrounds contributed general reinforcement most of the time. They displayed light support for the music and effects, and they kicked into gear a bit more strongly during a few sequences. Not surprisingly, it was the DodgeBall games that used the rear speakers the most vividly. Nothing exceptional occurred, but the surrounds added some spice to the mix.
Audio quality appeared positive. Speech came across as natural and warm, though some minor edginess occurred at times. Effects played a modest role in the flick, but they consistently sounded clean and accurate, with acceptable low-end response when appropriate. Music seemed clear and bright, with decent dynamic range as well. Little about the DodgeBall soundtrack stood out, but it appeared fine for this kind of film.
How did picture and sound compare to the theatrical DVD? They appeared identical to me. I noticed absolutely no differences between the visuals and audio of the two releases.
When we examine the package’s supplements, we find a mix of new materials and retreads from the prior disc. I’ll note the pieces that debut here with an asterisk. If you see a star, that means the extra doesn’t appear on the old set.
We begin with an *audio commentary from writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber plus actors Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. All three sit together for their running, sporadically screen-specific chat. A shot of insulin to counteract all the sugary sweet happy talk sessions through which we suffer, this commentary goes for a nasty comedic bent.
And it often succeeds. Stiller shows up late, so the piece starts with just Thurber and Vaughn. The director gripes about prima donna Stiller while Vaughn eats chips, gets loaded, and praises himself. Eventually Stiller arrives and mostly bickers with Thurber while Vaughn alternately talks of his own greatness and keeps the peace.
After a while, Thurber storms out and leaves the two actors alone. They commiserate about how much they dislike the director but they also have their own run-ins. Eventually they tire of the whole thing, and about two-thirds of the way through the movie they split as well. With considerable time to fill, the session’s producers use the commentary from There’s Something About Mary to run over the rest of the movie.
That’s a cute touch and funny in an insubordinate way, but the joke wears out quickly. Once the Mary commentary starts, you may as well turn off the track, as you’ll find nothing else for the remaining time.
As for the comments from Thurber, Vaughn and Stiller, they make this an entertaining piece. As shown during the obnoxious joke commentary for Incident at Loch Ness, these kinds of tracks can easily turn annoying and unfunny. However, the three participants here make sure that doesn’t happen, as they gleefully create an “anti-commentary” that violates pretty much every rule in the book. In fact, at one point they read a book of rules handed down by the studio! All of this adds up to a clever and amusing track that’s worth a listen - at least until they start to play the commentary for Mary.
Next we see nine *deleted/extended scenes plus an alternate ending. Taken together, the nine clips fill 10 minutes, 40 seconds, while the ending goes for 81 seconds. The emphasis on the first batch should be “extended”, as the majority pad existing sequences. Some small character moments pop up along with comedic elements like the “Shame Triangle”.
Note that the original DVD included seven cut sequences, six of which reappear here. "Justin and Amber Kiss” was inserted into the unrated version of the film, so it didn’t need to pop up in this area. We get three totally new segments: “Fran and Owen in Bed”, “Three Way Kiss” and “Different Ending with Fat White Goodman (Pizza Bagels Are Burning)”. The last two extend the segments already in the movie, while the first one presents a self-explanatory sex scene.
The alternate ending takes a radical change of pace compared to what we actually get. It’s so different that I really find it tough to believe it was ever considered. We can watch the snippets with or without commentary from Thurber. He tells us a little about the scenes and explains why they got the boot. Thurber claims he truly fought for the alternate ending, but I couldn’t help but feel he was joking; that conclusion would have been cool in an off-putting, startling way, but it’s not sensible for this sort of movie.
The disc includes four separate featurettes. DodgeBall Boot Camp: Training for DodgeBall lasts three minutes, 27 seconds and presents movie snippets, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We hear from Vaughn, stunt coordinator Alex Daniels, and actors Justin Long, Stephen Root, Alan Tudyk, Christine Taylor, and Chris Williams. They talk about the physical rigors of all the DodgeBall practice and shooting. It’s a little tongue in cheek but offers some fun tidbits.
After this comes The Anatomy of a Hit. The three-minute, 21-second piece includes notes from Thurber, Stiller, Long, Vaughn, and Root. They discuss the pain involved with all the DodgeBall hits as well as the best parts of the body to assault for comedic purposes. It’s another short but entertaining clip.
Up next we get the three-minute and 32-second Justin Long: A Study in Ham and Cheese. It shows outtakes of Long. One offers an extended take in which he psychs himself up for his cheerleading tryout. We also see various snippets of Long as he gets hit with objects and does other broad takes. It’s not too dissimilar from a blooper reel, but it’s a neat piece.
For the final featurette, DodgeBall: Go for the Gold lasts 78 seconds with remarks from Stiller and Vaughn. Just a promo, they talk about dodgeball as an Olympic sport. It’s mildly amusing.
*More with the Dodgeball Dancers presents additional footage of babes as they bump and grind. Including a funny introduction from Thurber, this section fills two minutes, 26 seconds. We see the dancers in three different outfits. Since the package refers to the footage as “uncensored”, you might expect some nudity, but you won’t get it. It’s the same material found in the movie but more of it.
The DVD tosses in a Bloopers/Gag Reel. It presents the usual goofs and giggles. It’s nothing special.
Two DodgeBall trailers pop up as well as ads for There’s Something About Mary and Garden State.
The flick includes one major Easter egg, and it’s a creative one. Click on the “Purple Cobras” logo in the “Special Features” menu and we’ll get instructions. Whenever White snaps his fingers during the movie, press “enter” and you’ll get to see a mix of features. Most are just minor outtakes and video bits, but to my surprise, we also find a bonus commentary! And not just a short one - director Thurber presents a full-length track in which he discusses the movie.
To access this, find the “snap” that occurs at the end of the Dirty Sanchez sequence around the 34-minute mark. In the piece, Thurber offers notes on the shoot, the script, and the cast. The best parts show up early, as Thurber lets us know the story’s path to the screen. It’s more ordinary after that, and he does repeat some notes we already heard in the first track. Nonetheless, this is a pretty good piece; it seems bizarre that it’s available only as an Easter egg.
For another egg, go to the “Language Selection” screen and click left from “Dolby 5.1”. Hit enter to watch a clip about first-time director Thurber. We hear from him along with Stiller, Vaughn, Taylor, Root, Long, Tudyk, and producer Stuart Cornfeld. In this four-minute and 25-second clip, Thurber talks about his greatness while the others criticize him. It’s a mildly amusing piece.
Those with DVD-ROM drives can access the flick’s screenplay. This doesn’t present the usual “script to screen” comparison, as it’s a simple text presentation. Since the film includes a fair amount of improvisations, it’s fun to be able to look at the material as originally written.
Does this release lose anything from its predecessor? Yup. The main casualty comes from the omission of a commentary from Thurber, Stiller and Vaughn. Perhaps this track’s still here as an Easter egg, but I couldn’t find it. Otherwise, we solely lose a couple of trailers for other films.
A surprise hit, DodgeBall offers a moderate amount of entertainment. The movie jumps between clever bits and cheap gross-out gags, which makes it only sporadically amusing. The DVD presents very good picture and audio plus some nice extras highlighted by one of the most substantial Easter eggs I’ve ever found. DodgeBall lacks the evenness to turn into a great movie, but it’s reasonably fun.
When it comes to recommendations for those interested in DodgeBall, it’s a toss-up which version to pursue. If you already have the original DVD, I’d skip this one, as the changes made for the unrated cut and the new supplements are too minor to warrant a repurchase. If you don’t own the old one, though, it’s a tougher choice. The two releases are equal in all the categories, so I’d just advise you to buy the one that’s cheaper.
To rate this film, visit the original review of DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY