Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Film Length: 122 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 1080p High Definition
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
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.
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.
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!
Here’s what’s included:
-Extended Cut with Never Before Seen Footage
-Deleted and Extended Scenes
-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
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:
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
M&K MX-125 Subwoofer