Plot: What’s it about?
I’ll see pretty much anything starring Will Ferrell. I enjoyed his stint on SNL for so many years and he seems to be one of the few more recent alumni of that show that’s actually having a successful movie career. Ferrell is a very versatile actor, though obviously his strength lies in comedy. I think his work in “Stranger than Fiction” is about the closest he’s come to a dramatic role, but fear not Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all comedic actors will eventually want to be taken seriously (Jim Carrey and Bill Murray come to mind) and I’m sure someday Ferrell will take a more challenging role. However, for us fans, let’s hope that day is far away. Ferrell’s latest effort is “Blades of Glory”, itself a pun of the Bon Jovi song from the early nineties (or maybe not, but that’s what I got out of it). Ferrell teamed with “Napolean Dynamite” star Jon Heder and the result, let’s say, is hilarious.
Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) is the bad boy of ice skating. If you can imagine someone in a Harley Davidson jacket gliding along the ice, you’d have Chazz. Compare that with Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder), an adopted kid who was literally brought up and trained to bring home a gold medal to his father (William Fichtner). As fate would have it, both Chazz and Jimmy’s performances are good enough to merit a gold medal, but the two are such rivals that during the ceremony, they get in a little fight. They’re both subsequently banned from ever competing in singles skating again and we watch as they go from the top to the very bottom of the sport. Years pass and Chazz and Jimmy have gone their separate ways. However, Jimmy’s former Coach (Craig T. Nelson) has the crazy idea of having Chazz and Jimmy skate together as a male pairs team (a loophole in the rules that would allow both men to compete and win a medal). The problem being, however, can Jimmy and Chazz stand each other long enough to make it that far and will the intrusion of rival team (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) prohibit that from happening all together?
I’ll come right out and say that you’re going to have to take “Blades of Glory” with a grain of salt. I mean, just the cover alone should tell you that. If you’re a fan of Ferrell’s type of humor then you’re in for more of the same. I will admit that the plot is eerily familiar of one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies: “The Cutting Edge”. In that film a hockey player teams up with a spoiled brat ice skater to compete for Olympic gold. This is merely a takeoff on that movie, but it works mainly because of Ferrell. The movie has a good supporting cast with Will Arnett and Amy Poehler getting some of the better lines. Jenna Fischer (“The Office”) plays a supporting part as Jimmy’s love interest, though I could see her role being played by just about anyone. The main draw here is Ferrell, whose counter-culture performances either entertain of offend but always deliver. For pointless laughs, look no further than “Blades of Glory.”
Video: How does it look?
“Blades of Glory” looked pretty darn good on standard DVD and I’d requested a Blu-ray version for review as well. However, Paramount announced that they’ll no longer be supporting the Blu-ray format so the HD DVD version will suit me just fine. The movie is new to DVD and a product of a major studio, so we can expect (and get) a very nice transfer. The color palette used is fairly colorful, ranging from the teal and blue of Jimmy’s outfit to the black and tan of Chazz’s chaps. This HD transfer bumps up the detail level a couple of notches and essentially anything wrong with the standard DVD transfer has been corrected here. Truly, there’s just a “clenliness” about the entire thing that makes watching the HD version that much better. On the whole, I have to say I was pretty impressed. While the standard DVD looks good, the HD DVD version grabs the gold medal here.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 track is pretty representative of a comedy and sounds just a fraction better than the Dolby Digital 5.1 track found on the standard DVD. Yes, there are some surround effects that add some extra pizazz to a few key scenes, but for the most part this soundtrack is located in the front stage. Dialogue, as one might expect, is very clear and clean. There are a few montage scenes that make use of all five speakers, but let’s face it – we’re not watching this movie for the soundtrack. Again, nothing special here but then again, there wasn’t really supposed to be.
Supplements: What are the extras?
All of the supplements found on the standard DVD release are included here, but as somewhat of a bonus most of them are presented in HD (something the standard DVD can’t produce). Paramount has included just enough to warrant a purchase, but not so many that you’ll actually get your money’s worth. First up are some deleted and alternate scenes, a few of which I felt should have been left in the film. Though they don’t add a whole lot, the movie was under 90 minutes and more Ferrell is better…right? There’s the obligatory Gag Reel and “Making Of…” featurette that don’t offer a whole lot of extra information. The box exclaims “much, much more!” but form my investigation that’s just the trailer.