Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a positive presentation.
For the most part, sharpness seemed fine. A smidgen of softness occasionally impacted wide shots – or some iffy visual effects – but overall delineation felt solid.
Jagged edges and shimmering caused no concerns, and edge enhancement remained absent. In addition, no source flaws cropped up in this clean presentation.
What with the NASCAR vehicles and other varied settings, Nights enjoyed a lot of opportunities for bright colors, and these appeared good. The hues consistently looked lively and full.
Black levels worked fine and seemed deep, while shadow detail also was clear and appropriately dark. The hint of softness made this a “B+” image, but it worked fine overall.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix seemed more than satisfactory, though it tended to focus on the front channels. Music featured prominently in the film, and the track presented the score and songs with nice, clean stereo. Effects popped up in appropriate and distinct locations and melded together naturally.
Surround usage tended toward general ambience, but a few segments gave us greater activity from the rear. The races brought out some good movement that added a lot of pep to the track. The various elements zipped around the spectrum well and created a good feeling of the action.
Audio quality appeared fine. Speech came across as natural and concise, and the lines betrayed no flaws like edginess. Effects sounded crisp and detailed. They showed no distortion or other concerns and demonstrated reasonable low-end response when necessary.
Music worked best of all. The various bits of songs and score were robust and dynamic, and bass seemed tight and dense. Overall this was a strong mix.
Note that the picture/audio comments address only the Theatrical Cut of the film. The Unrated/Uncut version replicates the original disc from 2006, so click here for full info.
How did the quality of the 2016 Theatrical presentation compare to that of the 2006 Unrated? Audio seemed very similar, as the DTS-HD MA mix didn’t show obvious changes from the old disc’s uncompressed PCM track.
As for visuals, the theatrical Blu-ray boasted improved accuracy, but not to a huge degree. Despite its age, the 2006 disc held up well, so the newer release became a mild step up but not anything stunning.
On the disc for the theatrical version, we get an audio commentary. Entitled “25 Years Later”, this takes us to 2031 and purports to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Nights.
At the start, it features actor Will Ferrell and “director’s son Darnell McKay”. We quickly learn that director Adam McKay couldn’t appear because he died years earlier when attacked by hammerhead sharks.
Those two don’t sit alone. As the track progresses, additional participants enter the picture. We get “Michigan militia captain” John C. Reilly on the phone, and others come into the studio. Those folks include actors Jack McBrayer, “Senator” David Koechner, and Michael Clarke Duncan.
Yes, this will be a commentary with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and I must admit, I didn’t relish the prospect of listening to it. I thought it’d quickly become lame and lack much entertainment value.
Happily, I was wrong, as “25 Years Later” proves consistently funny and enjoyable. Of course, you don’t learn a damned thing about the film’s creation, and the fact that every new participant needs to be informed about the fake lives of the others creates a lot of repetition.
Nonetheless, the gags fly fast and furious, and most of them hit home. Surprisingly, the track gets better as it progresses.
I thought it’d run out of steam, but each speaker adds his own twist and contributes to the comedy. This is an awfully fun little piece that fans of the movie should love.
14 Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of 42 minutes, 36 seconds. Most of these are actually pretty good. I don’t think any of these would’ve fit into the final film very well, but they’re fun to watch here.
Under Adam’s Video Diaries, we find an 11-minute, 46-second compilation. This domain shows behind the scenes footage accompanied by first-person comments from McKay. We get fun glimpses of the shoot, and McKay’s remarks add entertaining observations.
Alternate bits show up via Line-O-Rama 2.0. A four-minute, 45-second compilation, we see a slew of variant lines, mostly from Will Ferrell. It’s a funny reel.
More footage appears under Raw Takes, a 16-minute, 44-second package. It gives us unedited shots that show just one perspective. That’s a cool way to see the material, and it brings more unused lines as well.
With Auditions, we find a nine-minute, 16-second package with tryouts for Houston Timlin, Grayson Russell, Leslie Bibb. Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch. These become enjoyable to see.
Under the banner of Interviews, we find 12-minutes, 28-seconds of material. We see in-character chats with Cal, Ricky, Jean, and Ricky and Cal.
Essentially these consist of more improv material as we watch the actors riff. Many funny bits emerge, especially since we see more from Cal.
Disc One ends with two trailers. We find both the teaser and the theatrical promos.
On the Unrated/Uncut disc, we launch with an audio commentary from director Adam McKay and “friends”. Actor Ian Roberts accompanies McKay for the entire track, while line producer Scott Kavanaugh joins them around the 45-minute mark. Don’t expect to learn anything about the film’s creation from this piece, as it prefers to take a comedic bent.
That means the participants talk about fictitious elements behind the flick. We learn of its $450 million plus budget, hiring Sean Penn and Donald Sutherland as extras, and many other excesses. The track comes chock full of ludicrous claims and much happy praise for a movie described as one of the greatest ever made.
The commentary gets off to a rocky start, though maybe I felt that way mostly because I anticipated a more straightforward discussion. As such, I wasn’t too excited to get a spoof.
I do think the guys need a few minutes to settle in, though, so the first minutes aren’t particularly interesting. Matters improve from there, however, and quite a few funny bits emerge. I mourn the absence of a factual commentary, but at least this one’s entertaining.
Nine Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of 26 minutes, 15 seconds. We find “Going for the Win” (0:41), “I’m Hot” (2:45), “Little Sticker on Windshield” (2:01), “Ricky in Hospital” (5:46), “Gas Money” (0:48), “Jenga Scene (Extended)” (7:15), “What’d You Do Today?” (3:02), “Cal Calls Ricky (TV Room v.1)” (2:20) and “Return to the Garage” (0:37).
Most of these are actually pretty good. “Hot” and “Sticker” give us a better look at Carley’s callousness, while “Hospital” provides funny riffs from Cal. “Jenga” also has some great bits from Cal. I don’t think any of these would’ve fit into the final film very well, but they’re fun to watch here.
A Gag Reel runs two minutes, 28 seconds. Though we get a lot of the usual goofs and giggles, plenty of funny improv appears as well, so this clip works better than usual.
Line-o-Rama goes for five minutes, 30 seconds. It includes more unused gags. This reel shows lots of short cut snippets, many of which are very amusing.
Even more alternate footage pops up in Walker & Texas Ranger. This presents five minutes, 44 seconds of the movie’s obnoxious kids.
I like the other stuff, but this section gets old pretty quickly, as there’s only so much abrasiveness from little boys I can take. A fair amount of the material appears elsewhere, anyway.
Two similar features appear next. We find Ricky and Cal’s Commercials (1:38) and Ricky and Cal’s Public Service Announcements (2:38). Both expand on elements in the final film and provide decide entertainment.
Three sections appear under the banner of Interviews. We get “Ricky and Cal” (5:32), “Jean and Gregory” (3:48) and “Cal and Carley” (4:19).
Essentially these consist of more improv material as we watch the actors riff with each other. Many funny bits emerge, especially since we see more from Cal; I'd be interested in a Cal spin-off flick.
Will Ferrell Returns to Talladega lasts five minutes, 26 seconds. This shows the actor as he goes to the track to act as grand marshal, chat with the press and interact with fans.
We also get some comments from various NASCAR drivers. It’s a watchable piece but not particularly memorable.
Next comes 78 seconds of Bonus Race Footage. As implied, this simply shows more shots of cars. Advertising appears on a NASCAR Page. Here we see clips for a few NASCAR-related elements.
In addition to the movie’s trailer, we find a collection of Previews. This area presents ads for The Pursuit of Happyness, Click, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3, The Da Vinci Code, Curse of the Golden Flower, Little Man, An Evening With Kevin Smith 2, Seinfeld Season Seven and upcoming Blu-Ray titles.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby has many good moments, but it doesn’t soar consistently. An unlikable lead character and too many weak gags keep it from living up to its potential. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with a strong mix of interesting extras. No one will call this a classic, but it offers reasonable amusement.
To rate this film visit the original review of TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY