Old School appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie featured a decent transfer but not one that excelled.
Some of the issues connected to sharpness. Although the majority of the flick appeared concise and well-defined, some light edge enhancement meant parts of it lacked the expected clarity. Though infrequent, these sequences caused a few distractions. I noticed no shimmering or jagged edges, though, and source flaws were negligible. Other than some mild grain and a few specks, this was a clean presentation.
Colors were inconsistent. Though most of the movie presented lively and dynamic hues, occasionally the tones came across as somewhat messy and runny. Interiors tended to look the worst in that regard, as other sequences provided more precise colors. Blacks were dark and tight, but shadows could be a little murky. Overall, this mix of concerns knocked my grade down to a “B-“.
While the audio of Old School suffered from no overt flaws, its decided lack of scope left it with another “B-“. The DVD included both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. For a light comedy like this, I thought the DTS option was unnecessary, as the two mixes sounded virtually identical to me.
Audio quality worked fine. Speech was always natural and crisp, with no edginess or other problems. Music sounded bright and lively, and effects offered good clarity. A few louder sequences also presented solid bass response.
Don’t expect much from the soundfield, though. The material stayed strongly focused on the forward channels and rarely ventured beyond the realm of general ambience. A smattering of scenes such as Frank’s tranquilizer fantasy opened up the surrounds well, but those were rare. This was a competent track but not one that did much.
When we head to the set’s supplements, we open with an audio commentary from director/co-writer Todd Phillips and actors Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, and Vince Vaughn. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. The track looks at performances and improvisation, cast and characters, sets, and some general production notes.
Frankly, it’s hard to think of many interesting details. I enjoy the goofing around about “Kevin and Shorty”, Wilson’s nicknames for his eyes. We also learn that much of the film intends to parallel Fight Club.
But otherwise, the piece is a dud. With all these entertaining guys, shouldn’t this commentary have been a blast? Unfortunately, they seem rather low-key and don’t make the track very interesting. We get the occasional chuckle but not much else. If the piece included good information, then I wouldn’t mind the lack of entertainment value. Since we learn little about the production, this doesn’t occur. Instead, we find a lot of praise and more than a few dead spots. This is a fairly dull and disappointing commentary.
Eight deleted scenes appear under the banner From the Cutting Room Floor. All together, these run a total of 13 minutes and 15 seconds. Quite a few good bits pop up here. We learn that Mitch planned to propose to Heidi, and we see concerns about his sexual tryst with a teen. Beanie gets some extra screen time as we see more of his family issues. There’s also an inspirational scene that’ll remind many of the “it’s not over” seen from Animal House. There’s a lot of amusing material in this nice collection of sequences.
A featurette entitled Old School Orientation goes for 13 minutes and three seconds. We get movie clips, shots from the set, and comments from Wilson, Ferrell, Vaughn, Phillips, co-writer Scot Armstrong, executive producer Ivan Reitman, producer Dan Goldberg and actors Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini, Andy Dick, Ellen Pompeo, Craig Kilborn, Snoop Dogg, Jeremy Piven, Matt Walsh, and Artie Lange. “Orientation” offers a recap of story/characters anf throws out a couple production basics. Don’t expect any substance, though, as this is a glorified trailer with little real content.
Next comes a spoof of Inside the Actors Studio. In this 21-minute and 26-second piece, Ferrell reprises his old SNL impersonation of James Lipton to interview Vaughn, Wilson, Phillips and himself. As expected, the emphasis is on goofiness here and not actual information,. The result is as amusing as one would hope, and it’s a fun piece to watch.
A collection of Outtakes and Bloopers fills five minutes and four seconds. With the cast we find for Old School, I hoped for better than average material here. Indeed, some funny stuff pops up in this compilation, and it’s worth a look.
A few minor elements fill out the package. We find three TV Spots and one trailer. The Sneak Peeks area includes promos for Biker Boyz, The Fast and the Furious, and Head of State.
A Photo Gallery presents 96 pictures. These mix images from the flick and from the set. Cast offers decent text biographies of actors Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Ellen Pompeo, Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini, Perrey Reeves, Craig Kilborn, Jeremy Piven, Elisha Cuthbert and Snoop Dogg. Filmmakers then gives us similar entries for director Todd Phillips, executive producers Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock, producers Daniel Goldberg and Joe Medjuck, screenwriter Scot Armstrong, co-producer/unit production manager Paul Deason, director of photography Mark Irwin, production designer Clark Hunter, editor Michael Jablow, costume designer Nancy Fisher, and composer Theodore Shapiro. More text appears under the Production Notes banner. These notes give us a nice synopsis of the flick and its creation.
The disc also comes with a mix of Easter Eggs. From the main menu, click on “Live Music” to get all of Snoop Dogg’s party performance. From the “Set-Up” screen, click on “Ask Frank” for a 115-second deleted scene. I don’t know why this one didn’t make “From the Cutting Room Floor”.
A mere four years after its theatrical release, Old School has become an acknowledged cult classic for the 21st century. Whether I’ll ever really love the flick remains to be seen, but after one screening, I can say that it has more than enough funny moments to make it worthwhile. The DVD presents decent picture and audio along with a smattering of decent extras, though its commentary disappoints. Nonetheless, this is a fun movie and a DVD I recommend, especially since I expect it’ll hold up well through repeated viewings.