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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY (MIXED)

Blu-ray Reviews

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#1 of 20 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams

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Posted December 05 2006 - 10:10 AM

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Posted Image

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby






Studio: Sony
Year: 2006
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 122 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 1080p High Definition
Codec: Mepg-2
Disc: BD-50 Dual Layer
Sound: English Uncompressed PCM 5.1, English & French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH & French




Release Date: December 12, 2006

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The Movie:
(***/*****) 3/5


NASCAR: No matter where you sit regarding the sport, it is obviously here to stay. I read recently that it is now the most popular sport in America. So, it makes perfect sense that there have been two major releases this year that live in a NASCAR world. First we had Cars from Pixar and now we have Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) was born to race cars. As a worker in a pit crew, he is given a one off chance to sit in for a frustrated driver and soon finds himself the darling of the auto-racing world. He and childhood pal Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly) live the life of NASCAR royalty as they seem to win every race and bask in their racing glory. When French racing phenomenon Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) arrives on the scene, Ricky Bobby will have to get back to basics to reclaim his NASCAR crown.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is pretty funny stuff. While I had a hard time deciding if the players were laughing WITH the NASCAR crowd or AT them, it is clear that everyone involved with the film was having a blast making it. As is usually the case, John C. Reilly absolutely steals the show with his portrayal of the loyal, if not incredibly stupid, Cal. Sacha Baron Cohen is also in fine form delivering a French accent that is nothing short of disgusting at times. Strangely, for a supposed Will Ferrell film, his Ricky Bobby is, in my opinion, the least interesting character in the movie. At any rate, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is solid, funny and entertaining, but somewhat of a one-note flick. I just don’t see myself returning to watch this over and over as I would with a truly great comedy.

The Video:
(**/*****) 2/5


Not having seen Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby theatrically, I can’t comment on how this film looked at the cinema. What I can say, however, is that this Blu-Ray presentation is pretty lackluster stuff. There is nothing horribly offensive about the transfer in that it doesn’t suffer from compression artifacts or banding or any of those annoyances. It does however seem overly dark at times and it generally has a very bland quality to it. None of the movie had much pop to it and the desired high definition 3D effect was absent throughout. The image was also incredibly soft and I didn’t feel that all of the detail in the image was being presented. So, I honestly can’t recommend Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby from a video standpoint.

The Sound:
(****/*****) 4/5


Unlike the video content contained on this BD-50 Blu-Ray release, the audio is outstanding. Sony again gives us wonderful uncompressed PCM audio that is pure sonic joy. The entire film has a gigantic spatial feel to it, with a good deal of surround activity. The racing scenes are spectacular with incredibly active surrounds and plentiful directional effects. As this is, at its core, a dialogue-heavy comedy, vocal presence is fantastic with nice, crisp center channel usage that is never difficult to understand. Highly Recommended!

The Supplements:
(****/*****) 4/5


Here’s what’s included:
-Extended Cut with Never Before Seen Footage
-Deleted and Extended Scenes
-Gag Reel
-Line-O-Rama - Alternate lines not used in film
-Interviews with Ricky, Cal and Carley
-Bonus Race Footage
-Will Ferrell Returns to Talladega Super Speedway
-Audio Commetary with Director and Friends
-Interviews with Jean Girard and Gregory
-Walker & Texas Ranger: Montage and Outtakes
-More Deleted Scenes: What’d You Do Today? and Cal Calls Ricky
-Ricky and Cal’s Commercials
-Ricky and Cal’s Public Service Announcement
-Theatrical Trailer

In the extras department, Sony has really delivered the goods on this Blu-Ray version of Talladega Nights. All the extras from the regular DVD release are here and are presented in 1080p. There is a wealth of material on this disc and it is clear that the filmmakers were much more interested in carrying on with the jokes from the movie rather than offering a serious take on filmmaking. For a release like this, I think they chose the right direction to take this batch of supplements. Most every feature finds the various actors still in character and still riffing on NASCAR, how stupid they are and how much fun they are obviously having. Director Adam McKay is responsible for one of the funniest commentaries I’ve ever heard and seems to be enjoying his time in the spotlight. If you are a fan of supplementary material, you are going to love this set. Just don’t expect to get any kind of education in filmmaking! Highly Recommended!

The Final Analysis:
(***/*****) 3/5


Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a funny and thoroughly entertaining film. If you enjoy Will Ferrell’s particular brand of comedy, I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy the flick. Despite an excellent supplementary section and fantastic audio, I do feel that many viewers are going to be disappointed in the video presentation delivered on this disc. So, I have a mixed recommendation for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. If you can get past the bland video, everything else here is top quality.

Equipment used for this review:
Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-Ray Player
Mitsubishi HD1000U Front Projector
Carada 93” diagonal 16x9 Criterion Series/Brilliant White Screen – www.carada.com
Rotel RSX-1056 Surround Receiver
Rotel RB-1080 Amplifier
B&W Speakers
M&K MX-125 Subwoofer
Interconnects: www.catcables.com

#2 of 20 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

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Posted December 05 2006 - 12:04 PM

"The Video:
(**/*****) 2/5"

This is what Sony bundled w/PS3 to promote Blu-ray?


Thanks for the review.
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#3 of 20 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted December 05 2006 - 01:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed St. Clair
"The Video:
(**/*****) 2/5"

This is what Sony bundled w/PS3 to promote Blu-ray?


Thanks for the review.

Let's see, XBox Add-on = King Kong, PS3 = Talladega Nights.

While I found Talladega Nights very funny, when you want to show off the High Def format, this is not the type of movie you want to use. MS got it right. Sony, well they have had a rough year, haven't they.
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#4 of 20 OFFLINE   Craig_Ehr

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Posted December 05 2006 - 01:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed St. Clair
"The Video:
(**/*****) 2/5"

This is what Sony bundled w/PS3 to promote Blu-ray?


Thanks for the review.

To be completely accurate, this it is not what Sony bundled w/ PS3. The first 500K PS3 owners got the exclusive, bare-bones theatrical release Blu-ray disc of 'Talladega Nights'. I haven't watched it yet (not until after Xmas) so I can't comment on the the transfer yet.

#5 of 20 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted December 05 2006 - 01:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed St. Clair
"The Video:
(**/*****) 2/5"

This is what Sony bundled w/PS3 to promote Blu-ray?
I guess they wanted to go with the novelty of packing in a movie that wasn't available for sale yet and that had just been in theaters. It probably wasn't the best idea but I'd bet that was their rationale.

#6 of 20 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted December 05 2006 - 02:16 PM

They should've packed the PS3 with a PS3-exclusive barebones BD release of Spiderman (1 or 2) instead.

It's a popular film that more closely targets the typical console owner and can show off HD much better.

Of course this is Sony, and they haven't made many correct choices in the longest time.

#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Jordan_E

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Posted December 06 2006 - 12:30 AM

I watched about half of this movie bundled with my PS3 and it looked very flat and uninspiring. Me thinks I need to rush out and buy Black Hawk Down to keep Buyer's Remorse from sinking in too quickly...
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#8 of 20 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted December 06 2006 - 03:27 AM

I was going to buy this on BD but reading this review, I will not. I will see it on DVD. After the HD Superman Returns "fiasco", I will make sure of the picture quality before purchasing a BD. We pay for HD to get excellent quality, otherwise DVD is good enough!

#9 of 20 OFFLINE   PeterTHX

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Posted December 06 2006 - 03:39 PM

Yeah, it wouldn't have been my first choice either.

For what it's worth, it looks better than it did theatrically. Also "plays" better (funnier) much like "Anchorman" did on subsequent viewings. I just think the director, Adam McKay, likes that 70's look for the cinematography.

Sony wanted a family friendly, recent box office hit they owned to pack in. They certainly weren't going to put "The DaVinci Code" in there now, were they?

#10 of 20 OFFLINE   Jordan_E

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Posted December 07 2006 - 04:38 AM

Well, "family friendly" is relative, especially when those brats, Walker and Texas Ranger (We call him TR) started talking to Gramps at the dinner table.

If this was the best Sony could put out there for the PS3 launch....dang.
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#11 of 20 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

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Posted December 07 2006 - 04:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterTHX

Sony wanted a family friendly, recent box office hit they owned to pack in.
MPAA RATING PG-13, for crude and sexual humor, language, drug references and brief comic violence.
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
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#12 of 20 OFFLINE   PeterTHX

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Posted December 07 2006 - 08:18 AM

Quote:
for crude and sexual humor, language, drug references

This is the same MPAA that rated "Lilo & Stitch" PG for "Sci-Fi mayhem" (should have been G), "Superman Returns" PG-13, "13 Going on 30" PG-13, and so on.

"I was stoned" is the drug reference (Ricky's Dad explaining his classroom performance). No drug use whatsoever.
Sexual...well maybe the gay jokes would offend only the most sensitive, or Ricky making out with his wife at the dinner table. Again, nothing that crosses the line.

I say "family friendly"

#13 of 20 OFFLINE   Ben_Williams

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Posted December 07 2006 - 08:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterTHX
This is the same MPAA that rated "Lilo & Stitch" PG for "Sci-Fi mayhem" (should have been G), "Superman Returns" PG-13, "13 Going on 30" PG-13, and so on.

"I was stoned" is the drug reference (Ricky's Dad explaining his classroom performance). No drug use whatsoever.
Sexual...well maybe the gay jokes would offend only the most sensitive, or Ricky making out with his wife at the dinner table. Again, nothing that crosses the line.

I say "family friendly"

Just what, exactly, is "Sci-Fi Mayhem?" Posted Image These darn kinds these days and all their sci-fi mayhem! It's getting out of control, I tell you!

#14 of 20 OFFLINE   BrandonJF

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Posted December 07 2006 - 10:27 AM

I guess I'm easily satisfied, because after reading the lackluster reviews for this title, nothing sure jumped out of me as being particularly wrong. I can say I never for once thought I was watching a DVD....

#15 of 20 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted December 07 2006 - 01:46 PM

just got this in my PS3 box today. will have to check it out.

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#16 of 20 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted December 09 2006 - 03:44 PM

i have the bare edition from the ps3.
i saw banding or something like it on the opeing sony logo.
saw it again on a logo that started the movie.

i know this disc probably isnt reference but on the scene when ricky bobby was laying in the hospital and his buddy was talking to him, i could see makeup on will ferrell's face, on the edges of his sideburns.

i didnt hink this was a funny movie a little bit.

it was ok up until he went nuts and thought he was on fire the first time and
ended up in the hospital.

the knife in the leg portion was just stupid.


i have ethe unrated and uncut sd dvd from work here but i cant put this in just to see what the differences are.
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#17 of 20 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted December 09 2006 - 04:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
I guess they wanted to go with the novelty of packing in a movie that wasn't available for sale yet and that had just been in theaters. It probably wasn't the best idea but I'd bet that was their rationale.

Makes sense in a convoluted sort of way. Include a movie that has not yet been released on a console that is barely released.Posted Image

And by the time Sony gets 500K consoles out, the movie could be a golden oldie.
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#18 of 20 OFFLINE   Jon_Liu

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Posted December 10 2006 - 03:38 PM

I own the one bundled with the PS3 and it's pretty lackluster. The video and the audio. The audio included was NOT uncompressed. It had no dynamic range to it really. The racing didn't sound any louder than the dialogue. The only thing that really got louder was the music, on occasion. Anyone else experience this?
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#19 of 20 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted December 10 2006 - 04:05 PM

Well, considering that Amazon has this for $14.99 (and I get 10 percent off that), I'll risk it.

Thanks for the review, Ben!

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#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Shane_M

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Posted December 10 2006 - 08:21 PM

I was shocked at how poor the video quality was. In fact it looked suspiciously like the SD version. I have not had the opportunity to compare them yet, but I hope to this week. I will post back here with my results.
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