Kingpin appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt pleased with this mostly appealing picture.
Sharpness was positive. A few wide shots displayed mild softness, but those instances caused no real distractions. The majority of the flick showed good delineation. Jagged edges and moirť effects never cropped up, and no edge haloes appeared. With natural grain, I didnít suspect digital noise reduction, and print flaws created no concerns; I saw a speck or two but nothing more.
Colors were fine. The movie opted for a natural palette that showed a pretty positive range of tones held back only by the eraís lackluster film stocks. Blacks came across as dark and dense, and shadows showed nice clarity. Nothing about the image dazzled, but I thought it satisfied given the movieís era.
Donít expect much from the highly restrained DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Kingpin, as it offered little in terms of sonic ambition. In the front, the mix presented mediocre stereo spread and mild breadth from effects. Occasionally the track delivered a smidge of movement or involvement, but these instances were minor and forgettable.
Even less material came from the surrounds, as they stayed passive. In truth, the listener would be hard-pressed to cite many instances in which the back speakers came to life at all, as they seemed virtually silent. Granted, I donít expect much five-channel pizzazz from a comedy like this, but the imaging appeared awfully lackluster nonetheless.
Audio quality was also bland. Speech seemed intelligible and reasonably natural, which made it the strongest aspect of the track. Music stayed clear but didnít have much range, as the songs/score seemed somewhat flat and thin.
Effects worked about the same, as they were clean but without much heft. Even with the limited expectations that came with a movie of this sort, I thought the soundtrack was average at best.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the original 1999 DVD? Audio was a little peppier but the restrained nature of the material limited the improvements. This remained a tremendously low-key mix; going lossless wasnít going to make it more interesting.
On the other hand, the visuals gave us a nice uptick. The image seemed sharper, cleaner and more vivid. Given its age, the old DVD wasnít bad, but the Blu-ray brought us a much more satisfying presentation.
The Blu-ray includes both the movieís theatrical cut (1:53:43) as well as an extended version (1:57:14). The old DVD included only the longer edition, so itís nice to finally get the theatrical presentation.
In addition to the filmís trailer, we find an audio commentary with directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, sets and locations, story and characters, shooting the bowling, editing and deleted scenes, music, and related subjects.
When I first listened to this commentary in 1999, I thought it was a meandering bore. Some of those impressions remain, but I can locate more value in it now.
The negative comes from the brothersí fondness for naming names. Sometimes it feels like they do nothing other than tell us the identities of everyone who appears on screen, most of whom appear to be friends and family. That gets old fast, and the occasional dead spots also donít help the commentary.
When the brothers invest in the filmmaking process, though, they offer a pretty good chat. I like their thoughts about their comedy preferences/choices, and they tell us a lot about their editing/storytelling decisions. They also prove to be more self-critical than expected, as they relate what they donít think works in the movie. Its status as annotated credit roll means the commentary becomes a chore at times, but it does give us some good info along the way.
New to the Blu-ray, Kingpins: Extra Frames with the Farrelly Brothers lasts 19 minutes, 14 seconds. In this piece, we get new comments from the Farrellys as well as archival materials from actors Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Bill Murray. The participants discuss how the Farrellys got onto the project and what they liked about it, cast and performances, the movieís reception, the Farrellysí style of comedy, and other filmmaking thoughts. ďFramesĒ brings us a moderately informative piece, but it seems somewhat redundant after the commentary.