The Longest Yard (2005) - Widescreen Collector's Edition Studio: Paramount Year: 2005 Rated: PG-13 Length: 113 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Audio: Dolby Digital English 5.1, English / French 2.0 Subtitles: English, Spanish Closed Captioned Special Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Blooper Reel, Music Video Suggested Retail Price: $29.99 USD Release Date: September 20, 2005 Somehow, this poorly scripted, acted, and executed remake of the classic Robert Aldrich film actually made money. This, despite largely negative reviews. The film follows the same plot as the original, while delivering none of its soul. After drunken, former NFL quarterback Paul Crewe steals his girlfriend’s car and leads the police in a high-speed chase, he gets thrown into a maximum security prison to serve a three year sentence. The warden, fully aware of Crewe’s credentials, orders him to put together an inmate football team as practice fodder for the guard’s league. Crewe and his players use the opportunity to settle the score, so to speak, against the cruel prison guards. One has to wonder what studio executive envisioned Adam Sandler as a former pro NFL player. I’d believe Paul Reubens in the role as much as I believe Sandler. Not only is Sandler not up to the part physically, but he has absolutely no authority in the role. Chris Rock is on hand merely to crack off-color jokes, most of which aren’t funny. He plays the role of “Caretaker,” originally played by James Hampton. And Burt Reynolds is on hand as Nate Scarboro - a role played by Michael Conrad in the original film. The role of the warden, played by Eddie Albert in the ‘74 version, is played by James Cromwell. The original film was all about the experience. Humor was an afterthought. The improvisation in the original film made the characters seem real, and the chemistry was impressive. This remake has people sleepwalking throughout their parts, while reading essentially the same script as the original, peppered with updated jokes that seem forced and only serve to take your attention from what matters... and what matters is handled so poorly as to diminish it to the point of not caring. As in the original film, the best sequences are in the game footage in the final act. Of course, in this case, it’s all relative. The best parts of a bad film can be the highlights of the film and still not offer anything original or exciting. This is an entirely forgettable film - and that is its saving grace. After 113 minutes of this playing out on your screen, you can move on, secure in the knowledge that there is nothing here that will stick with you. The only thing you have to show for it is a loss of two hours of your life. I read Roger Ebert’s review of this film as it played in theaters. I recall that the entire review was an explanation for what amounted to his temporary insanity when he gave the film a marginal thumbs up on his syndicated television show, Ebert and Roeper. It is a sad commentary when a review of a film spends more time explaining itself than the film - and that review is more memorable than the film itself. The Video is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. Like the film, the transfer leaves a bit to be desired. The print is clean and free of damage The picture is less than sharp, and yet suffers from halos at high contrast borders as a result of edge enhancement. Shadows are a bit muddy, colors are a bit inconsistent in hue and saturation, and brighter scenes suffer from a a bit of clipping in the bright whites It’s not a terrible transfer, but it certainly could have been better - and one usually expects better of a new film. The Audio is brought to you in a rousing and active Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Provided is a nice and open soundfield with active surrounds, good frequency response, and solid low frequency effects. Dialog is always crisp and intelligible. There is good panning across the front soundstage for offscreen action and dialog, and appropriate use of surround effects. While rap isn’t my thing, the music is strongly represented. Special Features The special features are not anamorphically enhanced. First Down and Twenty-Five to Life This is a 20 minute fluff piece, including on-set interviews with cast and crew. Certainly not earth-shattering in content. Traditional self-congratulatory stuff here, with a hint of “making-of” material. The Care and Feeding of Pro Athletes Would you believe a five minute piece about who eats more on-set? That’s what this is. That’s all it is. Really. Lights, Camera, Touchdown The most interesting featurette, also about 5 minutes long, is all about how the football scenes were cast, choreographed and shot. It’s the only featurette really worth you time. Extra Points with Commentary by Peter Segal 5 quick featurettes, with commentary, about how specific visuals were achieved. The problem is, most of these are under 30 seconds. There isn’t much danger of gathering useful information in under 30 seconds. The last of the five is a bit longer, and talks about creating the appearance of a huge crowd out of about 100 extras. That one flirts with being informative. Deleted Scenes Nine in all, with a “Play All” feature and optional director’s commentary. All together, these add up to just over 6 minutes of content. I do always appreciate a director’s commentary on deleted scenes - and one is provided. Still, only six minutes split between nine scenes doesn’t allow to the director to get into much depth on the cuts. Music Video “ERRTIME” by Nelly Here comes the Boom Clips from the film cut to music. Under 3 minutes. Fumbles and Stumbles Almost 4 minutes of bloopers - a pretty decent blooper reel. Previews for other coming attractions (There is no trailer for The Longest Yard) Final Thoughts A dog of a film with an uninspired video transfer can’t be saved by the meager special features. The dvd does include a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 track, however.