The Kentucky Fried Movie appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a 1.33:1 version on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. The transfer could look decent but came with more downs than ups.
Admittedly, it became somewhat tough to judge the presentation due to variations in the source. The filmmakers emulated a variety of styles, and those prompted the inconsistencies. For instance, segments meant to depict TV shows looked the worst, as it appeared the filmmakers degraded them to simulate broadcast visuals.
However, that didn’t mean the remainder of the movie looked consistent, as even the mix of film shots varied a lot. While the “TV elements” were easily the ugliest, the film sequences lacked consistency. At best, these seemed pretty accurate and concise, with warm enough colors and good blacks; the “Fistful of Yen” portion was probably the most attractive.
However, other portions jumped around quite a bit. Overall sharpness tended to be decent at best, with reasonable accuracy in close-ups but less solid definition in wider shots. I noticed light edge haloes and a generally blocky look. No real issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, but digital artifacts were a concern and left the movie somewhat messy. Source flaws were fairly minor; I saw occasional lines, streaks and marks, but these didn’t dominate.
At their best, blacks could be deep, but they also could seem flat and dull. Shadows showed similar variations, and colors failed to deliver consistency. Some hues appeared reasonably full, while others were bland and messy. The image had enough going for it to muster a “C-“, but that was about the best it could do.
Though not impressive, the film’s monaural soundtrack seemed more than acceptable given its age and budgetary origins. Dialogue sounded clear and moderately natural, with no intelligibility issues.
Effects were somewhat thin but they appeared clean and acceptably crisp. The film featured no actual score, so whatever music we heard came from the individual segments and wasn't part of a greater whole. Within those constraints, the music seemed acceptably full and concise. I found the soundtrack of The Kentucky Fried Movie to provide a relatively positive listening experience.
When we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from director John Landis, writers David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, and producer Robert K. Weiss. All five men were recorded together for this running, screen-specific look at the film’s origins and development, cast and performances, sets and locations, aspects of the various skits, and general thoughts about the movie.
The guys sound as though they're having a great time as they screen the flick and reminisce. Unfortunately, their fun doesn't always - or often - translate to great listening for the fan. Too much of the commentary degenerates into laughter, which can get a bit annoying after a while.
A lot of the track tends to simply identify the names of the on-screen participants, so this recording can be short on real information. It provides good notes on occasion - I was amused by the titles the guys wanted to use for the film - but all the laughing and non-information can make it a tough listen.
With On-set Home Movies, we get an 18-minute, 43-second collection. These Super 8 scenes were shot by the Zuckers to try to convince the folks back home they actually were working in Hollywood. The quality remains pretty rough, but the clips seem entertaining as they provide a fun glimpse at the production.
Next comes a Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery which provides exactly what the title states. We get 129 stillframes of black and white production shots. These are moderately interesting, though I was pleased - very pleased - to find some nudity in them. Hooray for naked women!
Finally, the DVD finishes with a decenttheatrical trailer and some good Talent Bios of the five men who participate in the audio commentary.
I've seen less entertaining films than The Kentucky Fried Movie, but not many. It wants to be an outrageous and daring comedy, but it only succeeds in appearing stupid and inane. The DVD offers problematic visuals, acceptable audio and a few decent supplements. I can’t recommend this poor comedy.
To rate this film, visit the Blu-ray review of THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE