The Longest Day 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. Although it made a comeback toward the film’s conclusion, most of the time Yard offered a surprisingly muddy transfer.
Edge enhancement created the majority of the concerns. Haloes popped up around objects with moderate frequency, and these led to some fuzziness. Sharpness ranged from pretty solid to mildly indistinct throughout the film, though it usually remained acceptably well-defined. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and other than one or two specks, source flaws were absent.
To match the desolate Texas location of the prison, the palette usually tended toward desaturated tones. Matters got a bit brighter during the climactic football game, but even then, I thought the colors were subdued and somewhat flat. Still, the DVD seemed to replicate the production design faithfully, despite a few scenes that looked a bit messy. Blacks were acceptably dense and tight, but a few low-light shots presented greater opacity than I’d like.
As I watched the movie, I figured I’d give it a “C+” because of the problems mentioned above. However, the football game worked well enough to boost my grade to a “B-“. Granted, it took place in daylight, a setting that usually looks good on film. Nonetheless, those scenes worked well and gave the transfer a kick that it lacked during most of the preceding moments.
On the other hand, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Longest Yard provided consistently satisfying. Between the football scenes and the prevalence of rock/rap music, the audio got a lot of opportunities to blast us, and it took advantage of them. The soundfield was nicely broad and well-developed. In the front, the mix placed elements in the appropriate spots and meshed them smoothly. The surrounds added a lot of punch to the track. They actively boosted the music and also contributed many crunches and hits during the football scenes. Make no mistake: this wasn’t a standard “comedy mix”, as the audio came to life well.
Strong audio quality made the soundfield work even better. Speech was consistently natural and crisp, as I noticed no edginess or issues with intelligibility. Music boasted clean highs and deep lows, especially during the many rap songs; those pumped out the bass from the subwoofer. Effects also demonstrated solid clarity and definition. Once again, the football bits packed the greatest impact, as the low-end made them forceful. Although it lacked the great breadth I’d require of an “A”-level soundtrack, this mix certainly stood out as very good.
When we check out the extras of Yard, we start with some featurettes. First Down and 25 to Life runs 20 minutes and 55 seconds as it presents a standard mix of movie shots, behind the scenes bits, and interviews. We hear from director Peter Segal, production designer Perry Blake, 1st assistant director John Hockridge, executive producer Michael Ewing, QB coach Sean Salisbury, costume designer Ellen Lutter, and actors Adam Sandler, Nelly, Michael Irvin, Terry Crews, Chris Berman, Brian Bosworth, Chris Rock, Bill Romanowski, Steve Austin, William Fichtner, Kevin Nash, Bill Goldberg, and Burt Reynolds.
They discuss sets and shooting at an actual prison, problems with weather, themes, filming in the mud, the actors and their football training, outfits, the use of real football players, and the climactic game. As I went into “Down”, I expected a fluffy promo piece. While a few decent tidbits emerged, that’s essentially what I got. There’s a lot of hype and hyperbole but not much hard data. It moves quickly and tosses out enough to merit a look, but don’t anticipate anything substantial from it.
Next comes the five-minute and 28-second The Care and Feeding of Pro Athletes. We get notes from Segal, Crews, Goldberg, Romanowski, Rock, Reynolds, Nelly, Sandler, caterer Fred Gabrielli, Lutter, Austin and actors Bob Sapp and Joey Diaz, As implied by the title, this covers who ate what on the set. We learn about all the caterering requirements and what it took to feed all the mega-athletes. It’s fairly insubstantial but becomes marginally informative.
Yet another light program comes to us via Lights, Camera, Touchdown! It fills five minutes, 35 seconds with comments from Segal, Crews, Sandler, Austin, Nash, Fichtner, Romanowski, Irvin, football coordinator Mark Ellis, and arena football player Jerry Sharp. As you might expect, they concentrate on how they executed the football sequences. Again, we get a few good tidbits as we learn some details about those elements. Unfortunately, the tone remains too puffy for us to get any real substance.
Extra Points offers five short clips, all of which come with narration from Segal. We get “Ride Along” (48 seconds), “Gearing Up” (0:34), “Hornet’s Nest” (0:22), “Ping Pong” (0:23) and “Crowd Control” (2:26). These look at some visual effects shots used in the film. They go by quickly and the absence of a “Play All” option stinks, but they provide a few neat details.
After this we find nine Deleted Scenes. These offer “Play All” and run six minutes, 13 seconds via that option. Many offer extended or alternate versions of existing sequences, and none of them stand out as particularly memorable, though it’s fun to see Chris Rock try a few different lines about Switowski’s broken nose. We can watch them with or without commentary from Segal. He gives us general notes and makes sure we know why the scenes got the boot.
An inevitable Music Video appears for Nelly’s “Errtime”. It sounds like a million other rap tunes and mostly looks like a million other rap videos, though a coda with Adam Sandler adds a little life. Here Comes the Boom provides a two-minute and 43-second musical montage. It shows lots of football shots and is wholly uninteresting except for a slightly alternate line from one scene that appears at its end.
Fumbles and Stumbles presents three minutes and 55 seconds of bloopers. Should you expect anything other than the standard mistakes and silliness? No – despite the presence of comedic talents like Sandler and Rock, this is the usual nonsense.
The DVD opens with a bunch of ads. We get promos for the 2005 Honeymooners movie, Beavis and Butthead: The Mike Judge Collection, Hustle and Flow, the 2005 Bad News Bears remake, The Oprah Winfrey Show 20th Anniversary Collection, Everybody Hates Chris, and the original Longest Yard. These also appear in the disc’s Previews area.
A minor improvement on the disappointing original version of The Longest Yard, the 2005 remake offers scattered laughs but not much else. Instead, it adds up to a lot of lost potential and wasted talent. The DVD presents erratic but usually acceptable picture plus excellent audio and a mediocre set of extras. If you really liked this flick, the DVD might be worth your time, but I can’t advise anyone else to examine it.