Dazed and Confused appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a watchable presentation but not a great one.
Sharpness was a moderate issue. It appeared that the Blu-ray suffered from a fair amount of digital noise reduction, and that gave it a general look of mild softness. The movie was never terribly ill-defined, but it lacked the expected delineation. Some have excused this as an artifact related to the photography, but I don’t think that’s the case; I think it’s the transfer that made the film appear so fuzzy at times.
I saw no concerns with jagged edges or shimmering, and only minor edge enhancement appeared. Print flaws also weren’t a concern; outside of a speck or two, this was a clean presentation.
Dazed went with a pretty natural palette, though with a moderately garish Seventies tone. The hues tended to be a bit too heavy; even when I allowed for the design, I thought the colors looked somewhat dense. Blacks were acceptably firm, while shadows seemed concise and well developed. Between the processing, softness and colors, this was a “C+” presentation.
I felt happier with the decent DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Dazed and Confused. Given the film’s budget and scope, I didn’t expect much from the soundfield, and it developed along anticipated lines. The front speakers heavily dominated, and music played the most important role up there. The film used period songs almost constantly, and they usually showed good stereo delineation.
Effects mostly stayed in the realm of general ambience, as they offered a nice feeling of place and setting. Occasionally we got a little more than that, such as during the mailbox destruction scene, but usually we stayed with modest environmental material. The surrounds lightly supported those elements and that was about it.
Audio quality was fine. Dialogue consistently came across as natural and distinctive, with no signs of edginess or problems connected to intelligibility. Effects appeared accurate and crisp. They didn’t often tax things, but they were clean. Music varied dependent on the source. Some songs appeared vibrant and lively, while some others seemed somewhat muddy and flat. The majority of the tunes appeared well defined, though. Overall, the soundtrack wasn’t scintillating but it functioned fine for this style of movie.
How did the Blu-Ray compare to the 2004 “Flashback Edition” DVD? Audio remained about the same; the lossless track was a bit warmer but it didn’t provide a significant upgrade. Visuals were also better but not to a radical degree. Though the Blu-ray looked tighter, it was a little too messy to qualify as a strong step up in quality.
Most of the DVD’s extras repeat here, and we locate nine deleted scenes. All together, they last 14 minutes and 27 seconds. We see more exposition about the antagonism between the seniors and the rising freshmen, and there’s also a snippet that makes Benny look like a racist. There’s also some general chatter among various groups of girls as well as more at the movie-ending party. Only the clip where Benny complains about Asians really needed to get the boot, as it changed the tone of the film. The rest of the stuff seems decent but probably was cut for time and redundancy.
The Blunt Truth goes for four minutes, 21 seconds. It presents a fake anti-marijuana film. At best it’s cute, but it’s not very interesting.
Two retro public service announcements appear. We get “VD Is For Everybody” and “Crying Indian”, two TV spots from the Seventies. That’s for real – they’re not mock ads to spoof the period. Anyone who grew up in the era will remember the anti-pollution commercial with the Indian, but the VD one is new to me.
Only one Blu-ray exclusive appears via the U-Control option. This provides “The Music of Dazed and Confused”. With this activated, we get on-screen credits for all the songs that appear in the movie. That might prove to be occasionally helpful
Scads of movies have looked at the shenanigans of teenagers, so its focus doesn’t make Dazed and Confused special. What helps it stand out from the crowd? Its looseness, lack of artificial emphasis on plot, and its casual humor allow it to rise above the usual genre restrictions. The Blu-ray provides average picture, good audio and a handful of supplements. This is a bland release for an entertaining movie.
To rate this film visit the Flashback Edition review of DAZED AND CONFUSED