Zack and Miri Make a Porno 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. The movie presented a consistently satisfying transfer.
Sharpness was good. I noticed only minor softness in wide shots, as the movie usually seemed crisp and well-defined. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to appear, and I detected no signs of edge enhancement. Source flaws also stayed away, as the movie suffered from no specks, marks or other defects; interiors could be a little grainy, but that wasn’t a problem.
Colors looked nice. The movie went with a warm, golden feel much of the time, and the transfer delivered clear hues. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows seemed clear and smooth. Overall, this was a satisfying picture.
Should you expect a slam-bang spectacular from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Porno? Nope, as it stayed with an extremely subdued soundfield. Speech dominated, as dialogue was easily the most important aspect of the mix. Music and environmental elements also appeared but didn’t play hugely significant roles. They broadened the package to a degree, however, and opened up matters in a natural and satisfying manner. The only effects sequence that packed a real punch occurred during the destruction of a building. Otherwise, even a hockey game lacked much pizzazz.
Audio quality was quite good. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no edginess or other issues connected to the lines. Effects were a minor concern but appeared accurate. Music worked well, as the tunes sounded lively and dynamic. All of the elements boasted solid bass response. Though the flick sounded good, the ordinary soundfield left this one as a “B-”.
We find plenty of extras across this two-disc set. To my shock, however, we don’t get an audio commentary. Every other Kevin Smith feature film includes a commentary, so the absence of one here stuns me. A trip to the “View Askew” website indicates that this was Smith’s decision; he’s not totally clear about the reason for the commentary’s absence, but his remarks leave me with the impression that he prefers podcasts – available at http://www.quickstopentertainment.com/category/smodcast – and that he’s simply bored with doing commentaries.
I think Smith produced fine commentaries, so I remain disappointed that we don’t get one here. Nonetheless, we do discover many other components. On DVD One, we locate a whopping 43 Deleted Scenes. In total, these run one hour, 34 minutes and 46 seconds. No, I’m not going to discuss – or list – them individually; I don’t want to type that, and you don’t want to read it.
Most of the scenes extend existing segments, and about one-third of the total footage consists of outtakes from the coda that appears during the end credits; a full 20 minutes shows improv work with Justin Long and Brandon Routh. These bits are funny but don’t do anything to embellish the plot.
On the other hand, we find some decent added info in the first hour or so of cut footage. We learn the origins of Miri’s granny panties, and we find out a bit more about Delaney’s postal service lawsuit. We discover why so many odd old people audition for the flick, and – in a rare completely deleted scene – we see how Deacon and Zack paid for the video equipment.
Some character relationships expand as well. In particular, we see more of the connection between Barry and Bubbles. More of the deepening Zack/Miri relationship also occurs, but those shots tend to feel redundant.
Still, most of the deleted scenes are good, and it seems clear the majority were cut due to time considerations. There are only a few that I think would’ve harmed the movie; for instance, one telegraphs the shady nature of the movie set rental and makes Zack look too stupid. Expect plenty of funny material through this extensive collection of scenes – they’re definitely a lot of fun.
DVD One opens with some ads. We get clips for Sold Out: A Threevening with Kevin Smith and Clerks 2. No trailer for Porno appears here.
Over on DVD Two, the prime attraction comes from a documentary entitled Popcorn Porn: The Making of Zack and Miri. During this one-hour, 14-minute and 44-second show, we hear from Smith, producer Scott Mosier, production designer Robert “Ratface” Holtzman, and actors Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Mewes, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Craig Robinson, Traci Lords, Ricky Mabe, Katie Morgan, Jeff Anderson, Justin Long, and Brandon Routh. “Porn” looks at the origins of the project and its development, cast, rehearsals and performances, principal photography and shooting in Pittsburgh, test screenings and dealing with the MPAA, and the movie’s release.
Although I still wish the DVD included a commentary, “Porn” helps compensate for the absence of one. It digs into many good movie-related subjects and does so in a highly entertaining manner. I especially like the detailed examination of the “shit cannon” as well as the exploration of the ratings issues. This is a fine documentary.
For some Internet-based material, we go to Money Shots: A Series of Webisodes. These originally appeared on the official movie website, and we get 22 of them; all together, they fill 47 minutes, 43 seconds. They give us comments from Smith, Rogen, Mabe, Robinson, Anderson, Mewes, Banks, Morgan, Routh, Long, and actors Kenny Hotz and Tisha Campbell. These follow the actors around the set, usually for comedic purposes; you won’t learn much about the production, though a kitchen table chat between Rogen and Banks gives us some decent notes. The “Money Shots” are consistently fun, but don’t expect to get much movie info here.
Comic-Con 2008 goes for 23 minutes, eight seconds and shows a panel with Smith, Rogen, Banks, Mosier, Mabe, Long, Morgan, Mewes, and Lords. They cover various movie-related topics as well as other aspects of their careers. I usually expect the worst from the fanboys who follow Smith, but they actually ask some pretty decent questions here. That factor turns this into a fairly engaging and informative piece.
Unused footage appears via the 12-minute, 59-second Gang Bang: Outtakes, Ad-Libs and Bloopers. It provides what the title implies: lots of alternate takes and some goof-ups. Happily, the former dominate and we only get a little of the latter. We find many funny unused takes in this entertaining collection.
Finally, we get a clip called Seth Vs. Justin: Battle for Improvisational Supremacy Part 1. It goes for seven minutes, 24 seconds as it gives us a bunch of alternate lines for the scene in which Zack meets Brandon. Who wins the battle? Long – and by a bunch. Not only are his lines funnier, but he also keeps a straight face; Rogen can’t go 10 seconds without chortling. It’s another fun batch of footage.
By the way, if you want to see “Part 2”, you’ll have to make it a Blockbuster night. The rental giant has an exclusive deal with Porno distributor the Weinstein Company, so “Part 2” is exclusive to Blockbuster. Bummer.
Among Kevin Smith’s films, Zack and Miri Make a Porno ends up somewhere in the middle. To be sure, it’s usually quite funny and enjoyable, but it sags as it progresses and doesn’t match up with his best work. The DVD provides very good picture, more than adequate audio, and a set of extras that works really well despite the lack of a commentary. I doubt Porno will create many new Smith fans, but those who dig his work will like it.