Evan Almighty 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. I guess “enormous budget” doesn’t necessarily translate into “great-looking DVD”, as the transfer of Evan seemed decidedly lackluster.
Most of the issues related to sharpness. Although the movie usually looked acceptably distinctive and accurate, more than a few soft shots materialized. Some edge enhancement impacted these, and the movie’s general definition seemed rather erratic. Jagged edges and shimmering didn’t crop up, and I noticed no source flaws in this clean transfer.
Colors looked pretty good. The movie featured a natural palette that came across with nice vivacity and fidelity. Blacks were also dark and firm, but shadows tended to be a bit thick. Take the shot in which Evan prays; it seemed muddier than I’d like, and that trend continued with other low-light scenes. While watchable, Evan appeared fuzzier than I’d like.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Evan Almighty, it showed a mix of ups and downs as well. Its negatives related to quality, as some problems occurred. The main distraction connected to speech. While the lines were always easily intelligible, they showed a fair amount of edginess throughout the movie. Music demonstrated decent clarity but lacked great dimensionality; the score and songs tended to be a bit flat. Effects were a bit better though still erratic. The thunder and flood at the end added nice low-end, but most of the elements seemed somewhat thin.
At least the soundfield was pretty good. All of the animal scenes allowed for the spectrum to open things up in a pleasing manner. Birds flew around the room in a believable manner, and the smattering of “big” scenes gave us a good sense of place and punch. Music showed nice stereo presence and the whole thing fit together well. The lackluster quality of the audio left this one as a “B-“, but it wasn’t a bad track.
In terms of extras, we find a slew of featurettes. The Ark-Itects of Noah’s Ark fills six minutes, 49 seconds and offers movie clips, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We hear from director Tom Shadyac, production designer Linda DeScenna, producer Michael Bostick, writer Steve Oedekerk, construction coordinator Dennis DeWaay, ark construction foreman Michael Crowe, special effects coordinator Daniel Sudick, and actors Steve Carell, John Michael Higgins, Morgan Freeman, and Wanda Sykes. The program looks at ark designs and how the movie created it. We get a good look at the practical ark set, though we get too much hype about the massive boat and less actual info than I’d like. Still, there’s enough meat to make the show decent.
For the six-minute and 26-second Becoming Noah, we hear from Bostick, Carell, Sykes, Oedekerk, Shadyac, Higgins, special make-up effects artist David Anderson, and actor Lauren Graham. The piece looks at the physical transformation of Evan from prissy neatnik to shaggy Biblical figure. We learn about costumes and makeup in this pretty interesting little piece.
Next comes Steve Carell Unscripted. The three-minute and 13-second featurette includes wackiness from Carell on the set. It’s essentially a form of blooper reel and not very interesting.
Animals On Set Two By Two goes for 12 minutes, 50 seconds and presents material with Shadyac, Graham, Carell, Freeman, Sykes, Oedekerk, Bostick, animal coordinator Mark Forbes, and actors Johnny Simmons and Jimmy Bennett. We learn about how the filmmakers got all the animals to work on the flick as well as various cast experiences with the critters. We learn some fun notes about the beasties and the challenges they presented. Who knew bears like ice cream?
In the five-minute and 26-second The Almighty Green Set, we get notes from Shadyac, Forbes, Freeman, Bostick, Carell, and Habitat for Humanity’s Ryan Jacoby. The featurette looks at the ways the production tried to be environmentally friendly. I hope none of the participants got hurt as they relentlessly patted themselves on the back. Hey, it’s nice that they went “green”, but this show is awfully self-congratulatory.
After this comes It’s Easy Being Green. It fills four minutes, 40 seconds with environmental tips from various cast and crew members. It’s got its heart in the right place, but it still feels somewhat smug.
The featurette parade continues with the one-minute and 47-second Acts of Random Kindness. Here we hear from Bostick, Freeman, Carell, Sykes, Graham, Bennett, and Shadyac as they encourage us to be nice all the time. Man, those arms must be really sore by now! How much self-congratulation can one man take?
Technical elements come to the forefront in A Flood of Visual Effects. It lasts seven minutes, 10 seconds and offers remarks from visual effects supervisors Douglas Smith and Bill George, computer graphics supervisor Willi Geiger, associate visual effects supervisor Lindy de Quattro, digital production supervisor Craig Hammack, animation supervisor Andy Arnett, and compositing supervisor Marshall Krasser. The show looks at the creation of the flood, animal animation, and fitting together various pieces. “Effects” is a brief but decent examination of the topics. It should’ve been longer and more detailed, but it offers a fair overview.
Casting Call: Serengeti fills two minutes, 52 seconds as it looks at the “casting call” for the animals. It’s a comedy piece meant to promote the flick. It’s not very amusing. Oh, and it throws in even more self-congratulation about the production’s “green” status. Ugh.
Finally, The Almighty Forest runs five minutes, 59 seconds and features a listing of all the people who planted a tree for a cause led by the production. Again, I can’t criticize the movie’s attempts to help the environment, but I could live without all the discussion of those efforts.
14 Deleted Scenes run a total of 14 minutes, 33 seconds. Most are extensions to existing sequences. Evan defends his Hummer on the drive to the new house, and we see more of Evan’s rampant and wasteful consumerism as the family fits into their mega-home. We also get longer prayers during that first night in the new place as well as a longer look at Evan’s prissy grooming habits.
Further pieces show more “614” instances, a longer shot of Evan with assistant Dorothy on their first day in Congress, a little bedtime talk between Evan and son Jordan, and more of Evan as he tries to flee all the animals who pursue him. In addition, we see more of Evan as he builds the ark and developments at that site. These include Evan’s attempt to save some dogs from the flood that look really goofy since the clip lacks most of its effects; Evan runs in terror from… dirt.
Since I didn’t like the movie, was there much chance I’d find anything amusing about the bits not good enough for the final cut? Nope, and that prediction held true. Most of the bits just offered minor additions to the shots in the existing movie, so they don’t bring us much. They ain’t funny, that’s for sure.
More cut footage comes from the Outakes. This two-minute and 45-second reel presents a fairly standard set of goofs and giggles, though we get a few more improv moments than usual. Those make the “Outtakes” a bit more interesting than usual.
Next comes the Animal Roundup Game. This requires you to answer trivia questions to get the animals onto the ark. It’s actually pretty good as these things go. The questions aren’t the “gimmies” I expected, and a “hint” option proves useful. It doesn’t end with a good reward, but it’s more interesting than most DVD games.
The DVD opens with some ads. We find promos for VeggieTales: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, The Office Season 3, HD-DVD and Bring It On: In It to Win It. No trailer for Evan appears here.
In the category of unfunny comedies, we must lump Evan Almighty. The fact it’s the most expensive unfunny comedy might make it worse, but no matter what budget it boasts, Evan is a dud. The DVD presents lackluster picture and audio along with some decent but unexceptional extras. This is a mediocre DVD for a bad film.