The Dukes of Hazzard 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 a movie that hit the screens only four months before its DVD debut, I expect a solid transfer, and that's what I got.
Sharpness looked terrific. No instances of softness ever crept into the image. Instead, it always appeared tight and well-defined. I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and only a smidgen of edge enhancement was visible. I also didn’t detect any form of print flaw, as the movie always looked clean.
Dukes went with a natural palette, though one that tended toward the slightly subdued side. This matched the rural environment well and gave the film a good look. The colors were accurate and clearly delineated. Blacks seemed deep and firm, while shadows were easy to discern. This was a fine visual presentation.
In addition, The Dukes of Hazzard boasted an appropriately rock-em sock-em Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. With so many explosions and car chases, you’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the Dukes’ adventures. The various elements popped up in their appropriate spots throughout the movie. It took on a very active feel as the audio moved all around us. Panning was particularly important for this flick given all the vehicles in motion, and these transitioned from speaker to speaker smoothly. The track kicked into gear via all five channels in a terrific way.
No complaints greeted the movie’s audio quality. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, with no problems attached to the lines. Music emphasized rock and a little country. The tunes were lively and bright throughout the film. Effects followed suit and were well reproduced. This was a loud movie, and the elements sounded clean and dynamic. Low-end response appeared tight and impressive. All told, this added up to a strong auditory experience.
To my surprise, the DVD’s supplements don’t include an audio commentary. Director Jay Chandrasekhar has done commentaries for his films with Broken Lizard, so I don’t know why he fails to chat during Dukes.
Instead, we get most of our content from four separate featurettes. We start with Daisy Dukes: The Short Short Shorts. This four-minute and 35-second clip includes movie clips, behind the scenes bits, and interviews with Chandrasekhar, actor Jessica Simpson, costume designer Genevieve Tyrrell, and assistant designer Molly Grundman. We get some actual comments about the selection and construction of the shorts, but they’re some mockery too as the designers pretend to use scientific methods to their madness. Still, there’s lots of Simpson skin on display, so I don’t mind.
The General Lee Lives goes for five mintues and five seconds and includes remarks from Chandrasekhar, stunt driver/stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott, stunt drivers Rhys Millen and Kevin Scott, second unit director Dan Bradley, picture car gang boss Tim Woods and special effects foreman Elia P. Popov. They offer some basic information about the cars used in the film. This doesn’t add up to much, unfortunately, and this ends up as a less than informative piece.
During the four-minute and 45-second How to Launch a Muscle Car 175 Feet in 4 Seconds. we look at stunts with Chandrasekhar, Popov, Prescott, Scott, Bradley, 2nd unit special effects coordinator Marty Breslin, second unit propmaster Peter Muller, visual effects supervisor Jason Piccioni and world record-holding car jumper Mark Hager. They tell us about the challenges related to a big car jump sequence and give us a tight little glimpse of these factors.
Finally, The Hazards of Dukes fills 14 minutes and 48 seconds. It presents notes from Chandrasekhar, Millen, Simpson, Scott, Prescott, producer Bill Gerber, actors Burt Reynolds, Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, MC Gainey, Junior Brown, Ritchie Montgomery and David Koechner. It discusses a few issues like driving and stunts, casting and the actor’s work, the director’s work. A few serious remarks appear, but this is often a wacky look at things. It adds up to become a reasonably interesting and entertaining piece.
We find a Music Video for Jessica Simpson’s version of “There Boots Are Made For Walkin’”. I won’t defend the original Nancy Sinatra take as a classic, or even a good song, for that matter. However, it seems brilliant compared to this disaster. At least the video includes some fine pulchritude.
Two collections of Additional Scenes appear. We get both rated (23 segments, 25 minutes and 28 seconds) and unrated (4, 3:57) snippets. Most of these are fairly short expository bits that fill in a few minor gaps. We get some longer clips like an alternate driving piece from the film’s beginning, and there’s some interesting footage on display. We see a lot more of Lynda Carter, that’s for sure, and we also get an alternate ending.
As for the unrated bits, half of them show alternate takes of the scene in which Bo and Luke walk in on the sorority girls. Another is actually rated: it’s the theatrical version of the bit in which Jesse gets high. Finally, we see another getting stoned piece along with some skin when Luke bags Katie and her Aussie friend. None are very good, but I won’t complain about additional nudity.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we also discover two packages of Bloopers. The rated collection lasts five minutes and four seconds, while the unrated set goes for five minutes, , 33 seconds. Both offer the usual goof-ups and silliness, but the unrated package features more lewdness, profanity and nudity.
At no time will I claim that The Dukes of Hazzard delighted me or even came across as much better than average. That said, it exceeded my modest expectations and created a reasonably entertaining little flick. The DVD presents very good picture and audio but lacks substantial supplements. This might make for a mindlessly amusing rental.