The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Feature running time: 109 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Owen Wilson, Leslie Mann, Josh Peck, Troy Gentile, Nate Hartly, David Dorfman
Directed by: Steven Brill
Music by: Christophe Beck
Written by: Kristofor Brown & Seth Rogen
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 1, 2008
"You get what you pay for"
Ryan (Troy Gentile), Wade (Nate Hartley) and Emmit (David Dorfman) attend their first day at high school and they’re pumped…until they meet up with Filkins (Alex Frost), a school bully who comes off like a little Hannibal Lecter. Before they become completely engulfed in Filkins’ reign of terror, they seek out some protection by placing an ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine. Their best response – and the cheapest – comes from Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), a down-on-his luck soldier of fortune who lives a homeless – he likes to say “home-free” – existence on the beach. He enrolls them in some physical and mental training.
Drillbit Taylor is a comedy that deals with teenage bullying which is a serious issue. Of course it is important to keep the spirit of the movie in mind so as not to get hung up on the bullying aspect. Owen Wilson has a pleasant way about him that I feel makes him ideal for a role like this. His onscreen interaction with the three young characters featured in the story worked. Ryan (Troy Gentile) and Wade (Nate Hartley) were actually very good as they carried the bulk of the film’s funny moments. Ryan seemed to be the voice of reason most of the time and I thought that Troy Gentile pulled it off with comedic timing reminiscent of an actor with more than 2 years experience. Together with Wade they made a great team. Emmit (David Dorfman) didn’t have the natural spark that I saw in the other two and his performance seemed less genuine. Part of the problem could be that I remember him from the two Ring films where he played a much different and darker character. This is a silly film that does have some charming and funny moments. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. Those monents primarily involved the three young members of the cast. Conceptually the premise is nothing new and it seems that lately there has been a rash of films dealing with teenagers, school and the problems that they can get into. I appreciated the fact that this one didn’t use language and graphic images to try and achieve shock value. The writing definitely had familiar elements ala Seth Rogan but with a tamer edge which made it more palatable. I think that the term “stupid funny” with charm would best describe the story.
This is an unrated version that contains brief nudity, language, violence and depicts teenage bullying.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Drillbit Taylor comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio with an average bitrate of 3.4 mbps.
The video presentation was a bit disappointing. I found the image to have plenty of luster and clarity so that details were easily discernible. Dimensionality and apparent resolution were rarely questionable in close ups but it varied in longer shots. The first half of the film contains mostly exterior bright and sun drenched scenery or interior shots with plenty of light. It appeared as though there was some filtering applied that cast a golden hue over the image. Contrast and brightness were pumped up to the point where it negatively impacted fidelity. There were a variety of colors used which included exaggerated and multiple shades of red, blue, and yellow. Colors were vivid and well saturated which made them visually appealing and warm. There were two instances however, where I noticed that a brighter shade of red exhibited a blooming quality which reminded me of chroma error (CUE). The scene where the boys are discussing the possibility of hiring a bodyguard Wade is wearing a fire engine red shirt polo shirt. The other is when Drillbit goes to the local Mart to buy scratch off tickets. The clerk is wearing a red smock which is the same shade of red. On both occasions the red color exhibited a blooming quality that made it appear as though it was excessively saturated. This made them look cartoonish and was very noticeable. Later Wade is wearing a shirt that is a darker shade of red and it didn’t suffer from this and looked fine. The problem was that the combination of high contrast, filtering and bold color textures made the video appear overly processed and unnatural. The bright and sunny exterior shots, of which there are many, looked washed out. Whites had little to no definable characteristics and appeared excessively hot. Flesh tones were adversely affected and looked either pasty white with poor delineation or sun tan golden and radiant. Interior shots and later the nighttime sequences offered better skin tone reproduction but the aforementioned issues were still present but to a lesser degree. Blacks had good extension and solidity which helped give the nighttime shots depth. Shadow detail revealed good delineation and visible structure in darker areas and backgrounds. I couldn’t help but be distracted by the quality of the video which at first glance doesn’t look bad. After the first 5 or 6 minutes the problems become obvious.
I am happy to see Paramount using lossless audio on a regular basis on their Blu-ray disc releases. This is essentially a dialogue driven film that excelled where it needed to. Dialogue was crystal clear with excellent tonality and texture. The mix relied upon the front three channels almost exclusively which left it sounding less dimensional. The surrounds were used sparingly for ambient detail only and seemed to have been mixed a bit too low in relation to blending with the main channels. LFE contained in the mix was similar to the surrounds and saw only occasional use. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was fine overall and had no trouble conveying the film’s elements.
** Note: This disc would not load in my Panasonic BD30 Blu-ray disc Player. It would begin to load and then would stop and go back to the Panasonic splash screen. I tried it several times in various ways with no luck. It loaded in my Sony PS3 and Samsung BD1400 with no problem.
There are a ton of bonus features included on this Blu-ray presentation. The problem that I saw was that while there was plenty of quantity I didn’t think there was much quality. There was a commentary track that included Steven Brill, Kristofor Brown and the three young actors featured in the film. The Writers get a chance to talk piece was a commentary style Q&A featuring Seth Rogan and Kristofor Brown. I just didn’t fine either to be rewarding for the time spent. There were 19 deleted/extended scenes that just droned on and on. The Line-o-rama featured funny lines and quips taken from movie that were shown via film clips. This one wasn’t bad. The gag featured 4 minutes of breakups and outtakes which I usually find entertaining and did so in this case.
The Exclusive Survival Features included 12 short segments that featured footage of the cast members offering their insights into some of the off camera goings on, examining several segments featured in the film, what it was like directing the young cast members, and what appeared to be an in character adlibbed piece by Ian Roberts. There were two trailers included as well. The entire bonus set is presented in high definition (Woo Hoo!). I found some of extensive material to be good but when all was said and done it just felt like a lot of fluff. Fans of the film may find it more enjoyable.
- Commentary featuring Steven Brill, Kristofor Brown, Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley, and David Dorfman
- The Writers get a chance to talk: Commentary set to still pictures from the production
- 19 deleted and extended scenes
- Gag Reel
Exclusive Survival Features:
- Extended version of the film
- Pan Handle
- Kids on the loose
- Directing Kids
- Super Billy
- Trading punches
- Rap off
- Sprinkler day
- Filkins first
- The life of Don
- The real Don: Donnie McBride
- Two trailers: International Trailer & Bodyguard
Drillbit Taylor is a film that some may find offensive for its humorous take on the subject of teenage bullying. Personally I enjoyed the interaction among the young co-stars and in the process had a few chuckles. For those who enjoyed films similar to the type we have seen over the last few years involving teenage exploits then this is right up your alley. I found the video quality to be questionable but it is not what I would describe as poor. Paramount has included a large cache of extras that fans of the film are more likely to appreciate. My advice is to rent this one first and go from there.
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Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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