DodgeBall appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. F or the most part, the picture looked excellent, but a few small concerns knocked it below “A” level.
Sharpness seemed solid as a whole. A few wide shots displayed a smidgen of softness, but those issues caused no real problems. Instead, the movie almost always appeared crisp and detailed. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, but I did notice a little light edge enhancement at times. As for print flaws, the image looked clean most of the time. I saw a couple of specks but otherwise no blemishes occurred.
As one might expect from a cartoony comedy, DodgeBall enjoyed a vivid palette, and the DVD displayed those tones nicely. Colors appeared bright and vibrant throughout the movie. I saw no issues related to noise, bleeding, or other problems. Black levels came across as deep and dense, and shadow detail seemed fine for the most part, but a few low-light scenes were slightly murky. Ultimately, DodgeBall looked quite good.
While the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of DodgeBall featured no noticeable flaws, it didn’t score high due to a moderate lack of ambition. The soundfield remained oriented toward the forward channels. Music showed solid stereo imaging, while the mix also offered general ambience that spread nicely across the front. The surrounds contributed general reinforcement most of the time. They displayed light support for the music and effects, and they kicked into gear a bit more strongly during a few sequences. Not surprisingly, it was the dodgeball games that used the rear speakers the most vividly. Nothing exceptional occurred, but the surrounds added some spice to the mix.
Audio quality appeared positive. Speech came across as natural and warm, though some minor edginess occurred at times. Effects played a modest role in the flick, but they consistently sounded clean and accurate, with acceptable low-end response when appropriate. Music seemed clear and bright, with decent dynamic range as well. Little about the DodgeBall soundtrack stood out, but it appeared fine for this kind of film.
When we examine the package’s supplements, we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber plus actors Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. All three sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. A light affair, the trio covers a mix of general topics. We get notes about the shoot as well as various inspirations for characters, gags and other elements. We hear about cut sequences, story changes, and different development issues. Frankly, I can’t say I think you’ll learn a lot from the commentary, but it remains consistently engaging. The guys make it amusing, especially when they harp about - and violate - the restrictions placed on them in regard to references to non-Fox flicks. It’s an insubstantial but entertaining track.
Next we see seven deleted/extended scenes plus an alternate ending. Taken together, the seven clips fill eight minutes, 50 seconds, while the ending goes for 81 seconds. The emphasis on the first batch should be “extended”, as the majority pad existing sequences. Some small character moments pop up along with comedic elements like the “Shame Triangle”.
The alternate ending takes a radical change of pace compared to what we actually get. It’s so different that I really find it tough to believe it was ever considered. We can watch the snippets with or without commentary from Thurber. He tells us a little about the scenes and explains why they got the boot. Thurber claims he truly fought for the alternate ending, but I couldn’t help but feel he was joking; that conclusion would have been cool in an off-putting, startling way, but it’s not sensible for this sort of movie.
The disc includes four separate featurettes. DodgeBall Boot Camp: Training for DodgeBall lasts three minutes, 27 seconds and presents movie snippets, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We hear from Vaughn, stunt coordinator Alex Daniels, and actors Justin Long, Stephen Root, Alan Tudyk, Christine Taylor, and Chris Williams. They talk about the physical rigors of all the DodgeBall practice and shooting. It’s a little tongue in cheek but offers some fun tidbits.
After this comes The Anatomy of a Hit. The three-minute, 21-second piece includes notes from Thurber, Stiller, Long, Vaughn, and Root. They discuss the pain involved with all the DodgeBall hits as well as the best parts of the body to assault for comedic purposes. It’s another short but entertaining clip.
Up next we get the three-minute and 32-second Justin Long: A Study in Ham and Cheese. It shows outtakes of Long. One offers a long take in which he psychs himself up for his cheerleading tryout. We also see various snippets of Long as he gets hit with objects and does other broad takes. It’s not too dissimilar from a blooper reel, but it’s a neat piece.
For the final featurette, DodgeBall: Go for the Gold lasts 78 seconds with remarks from Stiller and Vaughn. Just a promo, they talk about dodgeball as an Olympic sport. It’s mildly amusing.
The DVD tosses in a Bloopers/Gag Reel that presents the usual goofs and giggles. It’s nothing special.
Two DodgeBall trailers pop up as well as ads for The Ringer and Arrested Development. The DVD opens with a few promos. We get a general spot for some Fox flicks and a DodgeBall-specific clip for Pauly Shore Is Dead. We also get Inside Look with its preview of Elektra.
The flick includes one Easter egg, and it’s a creative one. Click on the “Purple Cobras” logo in the “Special Features” menu and you’ll get instructions. Whenever White snaps his fingers during the movie, press “enter” and you’ll get to see a mix of features. Most are just minor outtakes and video bits, but to my surprise, we also find a bonus commentary! And not just a short one - director Thurber presents a full-length track in which he discusses the movie.
To access this, find the “snap” that occurs at the end of the Dirty Sanchez sequence around the 34-minute mark. In the piece, Thurber covers some of the same material heard in the main commentary, with notes on the shoot, the script, and the cast. The best parts show up early, as Thurber lets us know the story’s path to the screen. It’s more ordinary after that, and he does repeat some notes we already heard in the first track. Nonetheless, this is a pretty good piece; it seems bizarre that it’s available only as an Easter egg.
For those with DVD-ROM drives, a couple more elements appear. In addition to a link to the movie’s website, we can access the flick’s screenplay. This doesn’t present the usual “script to screen” comparison, as it’s a simple text presentation. Since the film includes a fair amount of improvisations, it’s fun to be able to look at the material as originally written.
A surprise hit, DodgeBall offers a moderate amount of entertainment. The movie jumps between clever bits and cheap gross-out gags, which makes it only sporadically amusing. The DVD presents very good picture and audio plus some nice extras highlighted by the most substantial Easter egg I’ve ever found. DodgeBall lacks the evenness to turn into a great movie, but it’s reasonably fun.