The Jerk appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This release offers a consistently decent but unspectacular transfer.
Sharpness looked fairly good. Not much real softness materialized, but the source showed its age and could feel a bit loose and ill-defined at times.
I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering appeared, but a smidgen of edge enhancement popped up at times. The picture felt awfully grainy at times, but only a handful of specks ever marred the presentation.
Colors seemed adequate. While the hues never looked wan or bland, they also failed to deliver much real punch. Still, they came across with reasonable clarity.
Blacks felt fairly dark, while shadows appeared acceptable, albeit a little thick at times. This was an adequate image given the movie’s roots and age.
Although I expected little from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Jerk, the remix worked pretty well, and it opened up the soundscape better than I anticipated. Not that this meant much from the surrounds, as they may have added general information, but they never went beyond that.
However, the forward channels seemed more engaging than one might predict. In that regard, music was something of a disappoint, however.
Most of the score stayed in the range of broad mono. The music spread to the sides in the general way but didn’t offer concise stereo delineation.
Effects fared better. They presented some good localization of minor elements and also meshed together smoothly.
A few instances of panning worked out nicely, as the pieces moved cleanly across the channels. This wasn’t a spectacular soundfield, but it seemed believable and added some zing to the proceedings.
Audio quality also worked fine. Movies from the late Seventies don’t normally offer stellar sound quality, and Jerk sounded better than I thought it would.
Speech usually satisfied. A few lines came across as a bit reedy, but most of the dialogue was reasonably natural, and I encountered no issues with intelligibility or edginess.
Music also seemed pretty robust. Though the score occasionally showed its age, the material mainly offered clear, lively tones.
Effects were relatively strong. The smattering of loud scenes – like the towing of the church – added decent dimensionality to the proceedings, as they kicked in with some solid bass.
Not all the elements sounded that good, but they were consistently clean and distinctive. Overall, this was a surprisingly strong soundtrack.
How do the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD? The lossless audio showed a bit more range, though the nature of the source restricted growth.
In addition, the Blu-ray looked a little tighter and more vivid, but the movie’s age and low budget meant it didn’t dazzle. The Blu-ray didn’t blow away the DVD, but it offered minor improvements.
In terms of extras, the biggest attraction comes from The Lost Filmstrips of Father Carlos Las Vegas De Cordova. This looks like it’ll be deleted footage from the “cat juggling” sequence, but from what I can tell, it’s not. The clip shows four minutes, 20 seconds of additional pet-related mistreatment: fish teasing, plant abusing, and pet dressing.
I don’t know if this stuff was created specifically for the prior DVD, but it sure doesn’t appear to be related to the original production. The audience for the performance is totally different, and everyone – especially the sexy “card girl” – look a lot more 2005 than 1979.
Whatever the case may be, it’s not funny at all. This is a very lame piece.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a thoroughly pointless extra: Learn to Play “Tonight You Belong to Me” on Ukulele. This goes for seven minutes, four seconds.
I don’t know about you, but even if I owned a ukulele, I wouldn’t waste my time learning to play this annoying song. Why bother with extras at all if they’ll be this dopey?
Despite repeated attempts to develop an appreciation for The Jerk, it just hasn’t happened – and probably never will. The movie has an occasional moment of mirth but usually seems slow, witless and boring. The Blu-ray offers reasonably good picture and sound, though its extras are mostly a waste of time. Many people love this film, but it doesn’t connect to me.
To rate this film visit the original review of THE JERK