Dogma (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Bartelby (Ben Affleck) and Loki (Matt Damon) were once glorious angels, but now they’ve been banished to Wisconsin, never to return to the splendors of heaven. But their stay in the Cheese State could be headed toward an end, as they’ve discovered a loophole in God’s word. If the two can pass through the doorway of a certain church, their souls will be renewed and when they perish, they will return to heaven. In the process, the word of God will be proven fallible and then, all of creation will vanish. In an effort to prevent this Rufus, the unknown 13th apostle (Chris Rock) has been sent to gather some help to stop Loki and Bartelby. He soon joins forces with Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) and the slackers Jay & Silent Bob, all of whom have some kind of connection to the issue, it’s just unknown what that is. Can this band of folks manage to stop the renegade angels before they undo God’s work, even with the aid of Metatron (Alan Rickman) and a gorgeous muse, Serendipity (Salma Hayek)?

This film was surrounded by controversy when it debuted, so when I sat down to watch it, I had certain expectations. In the end, I am unsure why it was so hammered by the various groups, as I think writer/director Kevin Smith plays it pretty safe here, much safer than I had figured on. But while Dogma is more mainstream and less offensive than expected, it is a pretty amusing movie and has some colorful performances. The waste of spaces Matt Damon and Ben Affleck aside, Dogma’s cast is terrific, including such names as Chris Rock, George Carlin, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, and the great Alan Rickman, who is greatly underused here. As usual, Smith supplies a literate and often base screenplay, which is well performed by the able cast, at least for the most part. I think Rickman and Rock steal the show here and I wish they had more screen time, to be sure. This is the long awaited special edition of Dogma and while some expected features were dumped at the last second, this new dual disc release is more than worth the upgrade. The film is good, but this two disc set is great and as such, fans will not want to miss this release.

This film was written and directed by Kevin Smith, who has amassed a lot of fans in his brief filmmaking career. Although I don’t think he is the genius some of his fans claim, I think Smith is a solid writer, though his direction is substandard. I do think his film have a lot of humorous moments however, I’m just not as rabid as some of Smith’s fanbase. In Dogma, Smith has delivered his most sound film yet on a technical basis, but still comes across as an overblown, overly long picture in all respects. Smith writes some terrific sequences in Dogma, but not enough to justify the extended running time, if you ask me. Even so, Smith supplies enough humor to make it a worthwhile movie, though I think he would be better to suited just to write and allow someone else to helm the films. Other films directed by Smith include Clerks, Mallrats, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, and Chasing Amy. The cast here includes Ben Affleck (Armageddon, Pearl Harbor), Salma Hayek (Desperado, Timecode), Chris Rock (Lethal Weapon 4, Nurse Betty), Alan Rickman (Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), and Linda Fiorentino (Men in Black, Vision Quest).

Video: How does it look?

“Dogma” makes its long-awaited debut on Blu-ray and I have to say that I was pretty stunned with the transfer. While not the most pristine example of the new HD format, “Dogma” has never really looked that great on standard DVD. Thankfully the 2.35:1 AVC HD transfer does improve in several areas where the previous editions failed. Colors seemed to be a lot more rich and vibrant and that coupled with the increased resolution makes for a much more interesting viewing expreience. Odds are that this movie will never be the shining example of HD that we’d like and hope, but it’s an improvement and we can’t ask for more than that.

Audio: How does it sound?

In addition to the increased video resolution, we get a PCM uncompressed track that actually sounds pretty decent. Believe it or not “Dogma” actually has some scenes in which the speakers really do some work. As with most of Kevin Smith’s movies, dialogue takes front and center stage here (literally) and it sounds crystal clear in the delivery. LFE do make their presence known a bit and I’ll be darned if I wasn’t actually impressed by the way this sounds on Blu-ray. Chalk up another score for “Dogma” in this department as well.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Though a more robust edition of “Dogma” does exist on DVD, this Blu-ray does contain a couple of commentary tracks (the same ones found on the Special Edition DVD) and over 100 minutes of deleted scenes (again, the same ones found on the DVD) along with the blatant self-promotion of “Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash”. While this isn’t the definitive edition we hoped and thought it would be, “Dogma” still delivers even after nearly a decade of offending Catholics around the world.

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