Mr. 3000 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though it had some very strong moments, the picture suffered from a few moderate concerns.
For the most part, sharpness was fine. At times, the movie became a bit soft and ill-defined, primarily due to some edge enhancement. Otherwise, the flick was pretty concise and crisp. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no problems, and only a few source flaws appeared. The movie was a little grainer that expected, and I saw a few specks as well.
Colors usually came across solidly. A few shots demonstrated some runniness, but the movie’s natural palette was bright and vivid most of the time. Blacks were dense and firm, while most shadows looked clear and smooth. The graininess made them a bit murky, but the low-light circumstances were generally acceptably distinctive. Though this wasn’t a great transfer, it seemed satisfying.
Someday I’ll figure out the rationale behind how studios select which movies will offer both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. Why in the world did a comedy like Mr. 3000 receive dual mixes? I have no idea, and the DTS one seemed redundant. I noticed no differences between the pair, as they sounded identical to me.
To be sure, neither taxed my system. The soundfield heavily concentrated on the forward channels, even during scenes that one might expect would broaden things better. I thought ballpark sequences would open up matters, but they remained oriented toward the front. The mix offered a decent sense of atmosphere but not a lot more. Elements moved well and blended accurately. The track just displayed very little ambition and didn’t do much to accentuate the action. Crowd scenes opened things up slightly and that was about it.
Audio quality also was fairly lackluster. Speech consistently sounded crisp and intelligible, with no edginess to mar the lines. Effects didn’t play much of a role, and they lacked bite even when they become louder. No problems with distortion occurred, but effects failed to show much dimensionality. Music worked the same way. The score seemed a bit feeble and didn’t demonstrate much power. Overall, this was a somewhat thin and insubstantial mix that came across as pretty mediocre.
A decent set of extras shows up with Mr. 3000. We launch with an audio commentary from director Charles Stone III. He offers a peppy running, screen-specific discussion. Stone covers the standard mix of topics as he goes into the story’s long pathto the screen, casting and working with the actors, locations and shooting the baseball scenes, character issues, music, and general notes.
When I called the track “peppy”, that was probably an understatement. Stone blazes through the movie and rarely pauses for breath. Clearly some editing helps, as it’s apparent the DVD’s producers remove a few gaps, but Stone doesn’t seem to need much help. He comes across as a little too impressed with the movie, but he provides a good look at his flick. He really digs into character topics and delves into motivations and other such information. He’s so persuasive that he almost made me forget how bored I was when I watched the film. Anyway, this is a lively and mostly entertaining and useful piece.
After this comes the 15-minute featurette The Making of Mr. 3000. As one might expect, it presents the usual assortment of movie clips, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We hear from Stone, producer Maggie Wilde, baseball adviser Andrew Prater, baseball coordinator Mark Ellis, and actors Angela Bassett, Bernie Mac, Amaury Nolasco, Tom Arnold, Ian Anthony Dale, Dondre Whitfield, Evan Jones, Brian White, and Johnny Arnold. They chat about the movie’s casting and other possibilities for the lead, baseball training for the actors and finding real players for minor roles, challenges created by the baseball scenes, the use of real media, character issues, and filming with thousands of extras.
To my surprise, “Making” largely avoids fluffy happy talk. Some of that occurs, and I can’t call it an in-depth look at the movie, but it doesn’t turn into the usual promotional piece. The footage from the set presents some nice material, and there’s enough solid information on display here to make it a moderately above-average program for its genre.
More background footage shows up in Spring Training: The Extras’ Journey. For this 10-minute and four-second piece, we look at the casting of the ballplaying extras. We hear comments from Coaches Rob Miller and Andrew Prater, extras Jered Kotarak, Gerald Davis Jr., Darin Haugom, Bill Posteluk, Eric Goerdt, Marcellus Dawson, Mike Zywica, Ernest Castro, Bert Beatson, Jeff Silbernagel, Bronzell Miller and Mike Mitchell. Tryout footage dominates this one, as we get a very nice behind the scenes look at the auditions. It presents a solid examination of an unusual subject and merits a screening. I like the fact it shows some movie clips and points out the extras so we’ll notice them.
A short featurette comes via Everybody Loves Stan. In the three-minute and 24-second clip, we get a montage of sports show elements used in the movie to comment on Stan’s comeback. These include some bits we didn’t see, so they’re fun to watch.
More of the same kind of material shows up in three Extended Sequences. Via “Play All”, these go for five minutes, 51 seconds, and include “SportsCenter”, “Mr. 3000 Mini-Mall Commercial”, and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. Again, it’s entertaining to get a look at the full sequences.
Three proper Deleted Scenes appear next. These fill a total of two minutes, 13 seconds and cover “EA Sports Commercial”, “Doctor’s Office”, and “Skillet and Minadeo”. The first is just an ad that includes Pennebaker, while the second reminds us of Stan’s crummy health and the third shows a little more of those characters’ competitions. The “Office” one is unnecessary due to all the other information about Stan’s health, but it’s the most useful of the bunch. The other two don’t give us much.
We can watch the scenes with commentary from Stone. Actually, “Commercial” comes only with commentary; it’s optional for the other two. He covers the clips well, especially when we learn the inside joke in “Skillet”.
A three-minute and 20-second collection of Outtakes comes after this. Mac’s improvisations offer a little bit of fun, but this area mostly consists of the usual goofs and wackiness.
When the DVD opens, it provides some ads. We get trailers for Ladder 49 and National Treasure. Both of those also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with promos for ESPN and the TV series My Wife & Kids.
A good premise and able cast should have made Mr. 3000 a fun ride. Unfortunately, it ended up as a deadly dull dud. Very little amusement crops up in this slow and illogical tale. The DVD offers reasonably strong picture quality with surprisingly bland audio and a decent set of extras highlighted by a very energetic audio commentary. Even die-hard Bernie Mac fans should stay away from this clunker, as it manifests little entertainment value.