Old School appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This wasn’t a bad presentation, but it seemed dated and bland.
Sharpness appeared average. Close-ups demonstrated fairly good delineation, but wider shots could be somewhat tentative. Edge haloes exacerbated the issue; these stayed minor but they created light distractions. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no print flaws. I thought the movie appeared to use a bit too much digital noise reduction, though, as it seemed a little too “scrubbed” and lifeless.
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. While the movie remained watchable, it lacked much pep and seemed like a mediocre transfer.
As for the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, 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.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was a bit peppier and livelier, while visuals seemed somewhat more dynamic and detailed. The Blu-ray could’ve been more appealing, but it still upgraded the DVD.
The Blu-ray duplicates the DVD’s extras, and 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 19 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 two 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 13-minute and 39-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. We also find three TV Spots and one trailer.
The disc also comes with a mix of Easter Eggs. From the “Extras” menu, click right on “Orientation” to get all of Snoop Dogg’s party performance (2:06). From the “Extras” screen, click up to highlight a mug of beer; hit enter to see a deleted scene with a drunk and upset Frank (1:55). I don’t know why this one didn’t make “From the Cutting Room Floor”.
Not long after its theatrical release, Old School became 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 Blu-ray offers fairly average picture and audio along with a mostly interesting set of supplements. This never turns into a great release, but it serves the movie in a reasonable fashion.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of OLD SCHOOL