Heavyweights appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Nothing here excelled, but this was a generally positive presentation.
Sharpness usually came across well. Softness crept into a mix of shots, but those instances remained fairly minor, so the majority of the flick looked pretty good. No shimmering or jaggies showed up, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws stayed away, and with natural grain, I didn’t sense any digital noise reduction issues.
Colors were fairly positive. The movie favored a natural palette with a modest golden tint, and the tones appeared peppy and warm enough. Black levels appeared deep and rich, while shadow detail was decent. A few shots seemed somewhat dense, but mostly the low-light images were appropriately delineated. This transfer lacked sparkle but satisfied.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Heavyweights, it seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that strongly favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.
Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. The climactic go-kart race boasted the only active sequence, as most of the movie stayed with limited imaging.
Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed decent dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “C+“ but didn’t do much to impress.
Despite the film’s low profile, the Blu-ray comes with an extensive roster of extras. We open with an audio commentary from writer Judd Apatow, writer/director Steven Brill, actors Allen Covert, Aaron Schwartz, Shaun Weiss, Tom Hodges and Paul Feig. For this running, screen-specific chat, all of the participants sit together except for Feig; he phones in briefly toward the film’s end. The track looks at the flick’s origins and development, cast and performances, music, sets and locations, stunts, and a few other production elements.
While we learn a lot here, the commentary tends to be somewhat anecdotal in nature – and that’s fine with me. Honestly, the track’s much more entertaining than the movie itself, as it gives us lots of fun tales from the shoot and moves at a nice pace.
One weird element: sometimes it appears that all involved think they made Heavyweights in the 1920s. They talk – often erroneously – about all the modern conveniences that didn’t exist when they shot the film. Some get self-corrected – like the notion that “PG-13” didn’t exist in 1995, while it’d already been around for a decade – but others are let stand, like the bizarre notion that 1995 was a world pre-compact disc!
I also think all involved overrate the film and believe a) it’s darker/more daring than it is, and b) it’s more ahead of its time than it was. As I noted in my review, I think you need to look long and hard to find any glimmers of Apatow To Come here, and I also find it to be pretty similar to many other kiddie flicks. I’m not sure what movie these guys watched.
Those petty gripes aside, the commentary remains a delight. It gives us more than enough movie-related information along with the joking and fun. This ends up as a thoroughly likable chat.
The Making of Heavyweights runs 24 minutes, 36 seconds and provides info from Apatow, Brill, Hodges, Schwartz, and actors Ben Stiller, Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Tom McGowan, Max Goldblatt, and Leah Lail. “Making” looks at story/character issues, cast and performances, Brill’s work as director, and some thoughts about the shoot.
Made to accompany the film’s theatrical release, we don’t get a retrospective feel here. Instead, we find lots of footage from the set and hear what the participants thought about it as they created it. This means we don’t get much perspective, but I like the on-the-fly footage, and this one works better than most promotional pieces.
32 Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of one hour, 34 minutes, 32 seconds. That’s right: this collection lasts almost as long as the theatrical film. Even with all that extra time, though, you won’t find any significant added plot points. Most of the clips extended existing sequences, and even the “totally new” bits tend to simply bring us minor gags.
That doesn’t mean the scenes are superfluous, though. One gives us an earlier introduction to the Camp MVP crew, and some characters/situations receive additional exposition. I can’t claim that any of these are particularly interesting/amusing, but fans will enjoy them. (Expect poor quality, though, as the scenes come from old videotape.)
A piece called Where Are They Now? goes for 14 minutes, 41 seconds and includes details from Schwarz, Weiss, Goldblatt, and actors David Goldman and Cody Burger. They discuss how they got onto the film, their experiences during the shoot and what they’ve done since then. I like the opportunity to see what the guys look like now, and they offer some enjoyable memories.
Another actor pops up in the eight-minute, 21-second Video Chat: Judd and Kenan. As expected, Apatow and actor Kenan Thompson converse over computers to discuss their experiences during the shoot, with an emphasis on Thompson’s memories. This is a fairly likable piece, though it’s light on insights. (Goldblatt also pops up briefly at the end to discuss a painful fart-related incident.)
Super 8 delivers footage from the set. This reel occupies eight minutes, 59 seconds and shows rough film taken during the production. Don’t expect much from this silent footage; we see lots of the kids goofing off for the camera but that’s about it. It’s probably fun for the actors themselves but I can’t believe that audience members will get much out of it.
Finally, we get Judd’s Art Project. It goes for one minute, 53 seconds and lets us see “The Angry Man”, Apatow’s “side project” during the production. This reel consists of a series of Polaroids in which Apatow looks mad while he poses with others. While more interesting than “Super 8”, it’s still pretty forgettable.
The disc opens with ads for The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Oz: The Great and Powerful. These also pop up under Sneak Peeks along with clips for the Newsies Broadway show, The Muppet Movie, Planes and Frankenweenie. We find the trailer for Heavyweights as well.
With Judd Apatow and other future notables involved, I hoped 1995’s Heavyweights would bring us a better than average kiddie flick. Unfortunately, it displays absolutely no hints of talent, as it brings us forgettable, unfunny nonsense from start to finish. The Blu-ray delivers generally good picture, average audio and bonus materials highlighted by a fun commentary and an extremely generous collection of deleted scenes. While I think the movie’s a stiff, I feel pleased with the manner in which it comes to Blu-ray.