Bringing Down the House appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Nothing about the image dazzled, but it held up fine.
Overall definition seemed good. A little softness affected a few wide shots, but that failed to become a significant distraction. Instead, the movie usually delivered positive delineation. I witnessed no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes were minimal. Print flaws also failed to materialize in this clean presentation.
House featured a natural and warm palette that seemed well reproduced here. The colors came across as rich and full at all times, and I noticed no problems connected to bleeding, noise or other issues. Black levels were deep and tight, while low-light situations appeared well defined and accurate. This was a generally positive presentation.
Don’t expect a lot of pizzazz from the average DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Bringing Down the House. The soundfield maintained a pretty firm balance toward the forward speakers. Music showed decent stereo imaging, and the effects provided a fairly involving sense of atmosphere. However, the track rarely expanded beyond general environment.
Some directional elements popped up, and the mix gave a fair feeling of place, but little about it went beyond that level. The surrounds contributed a bit of reinforcement to the setting, and they came to life most strongly during segments like those at a club. Otherwise, the track appeared pretty subdued.
Audio quality was acceptable but lacked much energy. Speech mostly sounded distinct and accurate, and the lines always remained intelligible, but more than a slight amount of edginess crept into the track at times.
Music seemed reasonably concise but lacked tremendous range. The score and songs presented decent but unspectacular low-end most of the time; some of the more bass-heavy tunes presented a better punch, but those occasions occurred infrequently. Effects came across as accurate and fairly full but not anything more than that. The audio for House seemed passable but lackluster for a modern movie.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was essentially a wash, as the track didn’t have the pop to make the lossless DTS-HD MA version a notable change. Visuals showed the standard Blu-ray improvements, though, as this one was tighter and brighter than its predecessor.
The Blu-ray offers all of the DVD’s extras. We open with an audio commentary from director Adam Shankman and writer Jason Filardi. They sit together for this running, screen-specific track. The two clearly maintain a friendship and that tone comes through well during this fairly amusing and lively piece. The guys make fun of each other and keep things light and jokey.
As for actual information, we get some decent notes about changes made from the script and other improvs and alterations as well as material about sets and locations, working with the actors, and general anecdotes. Too much of the track tells us little more than general praise for the film and the participants, but it still comes across as a pretty fun and entertaining discussion.
Next we find a short documentary called Breaking Down Bringing Down the House. This 16-minute and 33-second program provides the standard mix of shots from the set, movie snippets, and sound bites. We get remarks from director Shankman, actors Queen Latifah, Kimberly J. Brown, Eugene Levy, Missi Pyle, Joan Plowright, Betty White, and Angus T. Jones, and producers Ashok Amritaj and David Hoberman. Abandon hope all ye who hope for something more than the usual fluffy promotional program. Mostly this featurette tells us how great all the participants are and how funny the movie is. Some of the behind the scenes bits had potential, but they fly past so quickly they make little impact. Skip this waste of time.
The very tongue in cheek The Godfather of Hop runs two minutes, 57 seconds, and tells us that actor Eugene Levy heavily influenced rap. It shows movie bits, shots from the set, and interviews with Shankman, Steve Martin, Queen Latifah, Levy, and choreographer Anne Fletcher. They tell us of all Levy’s “talents” in this marginally amusing piece.
A music video for Queen Latifah’s “Better Than the Rest” comes next. It starts promisingly with some new bits between Latifah and Eugene Levy, but it quickly becomes little more than the usual boring lip-synch/movie clip combination. The four-minute gag reel gives us some of the standard goof-ups and wackiness, but it doesn’t include anything memorable.
Four deleted scenes run a total of four minutes, 10 seconds. Mostly these provide expository bits. Nothing special appears, though fans might like the small added moments. (Note that the DVD included seven deleted scenes; I don’t know why the Blu-ray dropped three of them.)
The disc opens with a promo for Frankenweenie. No trailer for House pops up here.
While it was nice to see Steve Martin ride high on the box office charts again back in 2003, I wish this occurred via a more entertaining vehicle. Bringing Down the House seems crass and unfunny, and its cast of solid performers can’t help escalate the predictable and uninspired material. The Blu-ray presents very good picture quality along with mediocre audio and a decent but unexceptional complement of extras. A competent release for a terrible movie, I can’t recommend Bringing Down the House to anyone who doesn’t already know they love the flick.
Footnote: what’s with incorrect anniversary editions for Touchstone-distributed Steve Martin movies? First Father of the Bride got a “20th Anniversary Edition” 21 years after its release, and now we receive the “10th Anniversary Edition” for the nine-year-old House. I think the studios figure one year plus/minus is close enough and only nit-picky nerds like myself care about these things. And they’re probably right, but it still bugs me!
To rate this film, visit the original review of BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE