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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Cars > Racing > Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Blu-ray + Full Screen DVD)

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Blu-ray + Full Screen DVD)


Picture: B/C     Sound: B/C+     Extras: C     Film: D



After Bewitched, Will Ferrell has survived to be big box office again with the surprisingly big summer box office hit Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) which became the “leave your brain at the door hit” that every studio hopes for.  We already had our theatrical critic go after it for being dumb and pointless before the tons of cash started top roll in, as this review demonstrates:





Even with all of its problems and there are many, I can see why it was a hit, besides the NASCAR factor.  Once again many of the blockbusters that failed to perform left it open for this film to do better since people wanted to spend their money on some film they thought would be fun.  Subconsciously, especially since Ferrell always impersonated him so well, I think some of the success (not necessarily out of anger either) had to do with so many being tired of the second President Bush and how different is Ricky Bobby’s accent from the one Ferrell uses for Bush?


The CG animated Cars (reviewed elsewhere on this site) also did not hurt getting audiences in the mood for their love of automobiles.  That kind of related synergy happens, which is sadly why some films bomb because the studios try to have too much of the same kind of product the competing studios are working on.  The film is weak and I have a feeling people may not find this as rewatchable, but ironically, having a better fidelity format like Blu-ray might better recapture what fun viewers in theaters had, making it more rewatchable than it would be on standard DVD.  It will be interesting to see how this sells in both formats.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image should have looked really good, but Cinematographer Oliver Wood’s camerawork has the same peculiar slight degradation and odd color as the Fats & Furious films, especially their HD-DVD versions.  What is going on here?  Has the NASCAR aesthetic gone too far?  Had digital made it too easy to just goof off instead of presenting good cinematography in a racing film?  For this, we cannot strongly recommend the HD-DVD of John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix (1966), likely to come to Blu-ray as well).  Here, it looks phony, though the 35mm print was not this odd.  The 1.33 X 1 Full Screen DVD is very pasty in detail, softer than expected throughout and always has odd moments of distortion that are annoying.


The PCM 5.1 mix is better than that of the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix here, with the sound really kicking in during the racing and maybe slapstick action moments.  Part of the reason is that this was one of the only films this year to take advantage of the full 8-channel version of Sony’s theatrical-only Sony Dynamic Digital Sound format.  However, it is not used to its fullest extent, though this mix has some good moments.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Full Screen DVD does not always match the image and seems cut down to match the blocked-off image in awkward ways.  A Widescreen DVD is also available, while the Blu-ray was the disc included with the first round of PlayStation 3 machines.  Needless to say it is not the best demo.


Extras are many and include 13 more minutes not seen in theaters, 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, feature length audio commentary with the director & company, Daytona 500 Spot, NASCAR Chase for the Nextel Cup Spot, interviews with Jean Girard and Gregory Walker & Texas Ranger: Montage and Outtakes, more deleted scenes: What’d You Do Today? & Cal Calls Ricky, Ricky and Cal’s Commercials and Ricky and Cal’s Public Service Announcement.  Well, if you did not get the joke or get enough of it form the film, these extras should more than satisfy all your Ricky Bobby needs.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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