Revenge of the Nerds 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 not a bad transfer, it suffered from some flatness typical of its era.
Sharpness seemed somewhat problematic. Most of the film looked acceptably crisp and well-defined, but some of the movie came across as a little muddy and soft. These tendencies weren’t extreme, but the movie tended to show moderate softness at times. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no discernible concerns, and edge enhancement was minor. Print flaws were essentially non-existent. I noticed a couple of small specks, but otherwise the flick stayed clean.
Colors generally looked a bit heavy and muddy. Skin tones came across as blotchy and muddled, and the rest of the hues were similarly affected. Black levels seemed a bit flat but were acceptably deep, and shadow detail showed similar tendencies; low-light sequences provided watchable but slightly heavy shots.
I will note that the picture improved as the movie progressed. Sharpness became more concise, and colors grew more dynamic. Low-light shots like the one in the moon bounce also appeared clearer. The improvements weren’t stellar, but they were enough to bolster the otherwise mediocre transfer to “B-“ level.
In addition to the movie’s original mono soundtrack, the Nerds DVD presented a stereo remix. The soundfield remained anchored strongly to the front center channel. Some extremely light spread to the sides existed but not enough to make a difference. For all intents and purposes, this was a mono mix.
Audio quality seemed similarly unexciting. Dialogue usually appeared acceptably distinct and accurate. The lines could be a little thin, but they lacked significant edginess. Effects sounded relatively flat but they were fairly clear and without serious problems. The music seemed similarly forgettable, as the score and songs failed to present notable dynamic range. All in all, however, it’s a very lackluster affair.
How do the picture and audio of this “Panty Raid Edition” compare to those of the prior DVD? Other reviewers claim that they’re identical, but this is completely incorrect; both visuals and sound are different here.
In terms of picture, the “Panty Raid” DVD is an improvement. Colors, blacks and delineation remain about the same, but the 2007 transfer loses the many specks and marks that mar the old DVD. This new one looks considerably cleaner.
Audio is different but not noticeably stronger in either edition. On the positive side, the “Panty Raid” DVD sounds better. It offers clearer music and dialogue, as it lacks the edginess prevalent in the old disc. However, the Dolby Surround 2.0 remix for the 2001 DVD presents a broader soundfield. It’s not a radically open track, but it broadens the music better. Both remain mediocre due to their flaws; I’d advise viewers to simply stick with the original mono mix that also appears on the DVD.
While the prior Nerds DVD included no significant supplements, this new “Panty Raid” edition adds some components. We start with an audio commentary from director Jeff Kanew and actors Robert Carradine, Timothy Busfield and Curtis Armstrong. The director offers one running, screen-specific track and the actors another; the results are edited together to create the impression that all four are together, but that’s not the case.
As for the content of the commentary, performance issues dominate. We learn about improvisation and changes from the script, cut sequences, sets and locations, costumes and music, cast and performances, and anecdotes from the shoot. The commentary proves moderately engaging but not much more than that. We get a smattering of amusing stories and interesting facts, but there’s just not a lot of substance for the participants to offer. This ends up as a mildly fun chat but not anything more than that.
Next comes a documentary called I’m Nerd, and I’m Pretty Proud of It. This 38-minute and 36-second piece presents movie clips, archival materials, and interviews with Kanew, Carradine, Busfield, Armstrong, and actors Andrew Cassese, Ted McGinley, Larry B. Scott and Julie Montgomery. The show looks at how the director and cast came onto the project, shooting in Arizona and extracurricular activities, the script and broadening it for the screen, raunchiness and ratings, characters, performances and the depiction of nerds, Kanew’s direction and the work on the set, and the film’s reception.
“Proud” provides a surprisingly frank assessment of the production. Plenty of funny stories come along the way as we learn of various issues and elements of the shoot. It’s a blunt and entertaining glimpse of the flick’s creation.
Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of eight minutes, 44 seconds. We get “Stan Owes Nerd Money” (0:48), “Gilbert Tells Judy How He Feels” (1:52), “Tri-Lamb Vegas Convention” (1:25), “Meet Uncle Meyer” (2:08), “Chariot Race” (1:55) and “Nerds Catch Jocks Destroying Their House” (0:35). A few minor excised story threads occur here, but they don’t get much exposition. It’s unclear where “Money” would have gone, and the elements related to Vegas aren’t productive.
“Judy” is a cute romantic scene but not necessary in the long run. “Vegas” is pretty funny, if just because the nerds wear African garb to “fit in” with the other Tri-Lambs. This takes a turn in “Meyer” when we meet Lewis’s racist uncle. It and “Destroying” are a little too dark for this flick. Some general exposition pops up in a few of these and the clips are interesting, but they’re not especially significant.
In addition to trailers for Nerds and sequel Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, we get the Nerds television pilot. The show lasts 24 minutes, 18 seconds and reprises many of the movie’s characters. However, none of the original actors appear.
Brady Bunch fans will be interested to note the casting of Robbie Rist as Booger; he played annoying Cousin Oliver in the earlier series. Nothing else about the show will intrigue anyone, though, as it’s a humorless dud. Still, it’s fun to find the pilot here as a curiosity. I won’t ever watch it again, but I appreciate its inclusion.
While not a great film, Revenge of the Nerds does its job. No, it’s not anything remarkable, but it’s generally fun and entertaining. The DVD presents adequate picture and audio along with a smattering of nice extras. It’s a good disc for fans of the film or others who want to indulge in some wacky fun, Eighties-style.
Should fans who own the original DVD upgrade to this one? Yup. It improves picture quality and adds a lot of good supplements. With a list price of only about $20, it’s a good package to snag.