Norbit appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the most part, this was a pretty good transfer, though not without concerns.
Overall delineation seemed fine. At times, the movie appeared slightly gauzy, but the image usually came across with good delineation. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and both edge haloes and print flaws seemed absent.
Colors tended to favor a rather golden tint. Within those constraints, the hues seemed solid. The movie showed nice color reproduction and I encountered no problems with the tones. Blacks were deep and dense, and shadows looked clear and smooth. Only the mild issues with sharpness left this image as a “B”.
Given the comedic roots of Norbit, I expected little from its Dolby Digital 5.1 soundfield. Indeed, this was a fairly restricted soundfield that fell in line with films of this genre. The audio stayed largely focused on the front channels.
Some of the Rasputia stunts added life to the track, as they opened up the spectrum. Those elements weren’t a major factor, though, and the soundscape remained simple. Music showed good stereo imaging, at least, and the general ambience was fine.
Audio quality was solid. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and effects were clean and clear. Good low-end popped up during the Rasputia bits, as her weight pounded the bass. Music seemed lively and full as well. This never became an impressive track, but it was worth a “B-”.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio appeared identical – literally, as the Blu-ray lacked a lossless option and offered the same DD 5.1 track from the DVD.
Even though both discs gave us the same audio, I lowered my grade from a “B” on DVD to a “B-“ on Blu-ray. That reflected the absence of lossless material – I think Blu-rays that go with lossy soundtracks should be “dinged” for this.
Visuals demonstrated the standard improvements that come with Blu-rays. This version showed stronger definition and smoothness. Even with some softness, the Blu-ray bettered the DVD.
The Blu-ray reproduces the DVD’s extras, and we start with The Making of Norbit. This 21-minute, 33-second program mixes movie clips, behind the scenes bits, and interviews. We hear from director Brian Robbins, screenwriter/producer/actor Eddie Murphy, screenwriter Charles Murphy, producer John Davis, costume designer Molly Maginnis, visual effects producer Les Hunter, special effects makeup designer Rick Baker, body double Lauren Miller, and actors Terry Crews, Clifton Powell, Thandie Newton, Michael Colyar, Anthony Russell, Lester “Rasta” Speight, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Eddie Griffin, Katt Williams, and Marlon Wayans.
“Making” looks at the project’s origins, casting, characters and performances, costumes, storyboarding and Robbins’ work on the flick, visual effects and makeup, and improvisation. Without question, the best parts of the show document the makeup and visual effects.
Unfortunately, those are brief, and the rest of “Making” tends to feel fluffy and promotional. We learn a little about the movie’s creation but not enough to make this a particularly strong featurette.
Next comes the four-minute, four-second Man of A Thousand Faces. It features Baker, Crews, Gooding, Griffin, Speight, Davis, Murphy, and Robbins. As expected, this one looks at the makeup that changed Murphy into the movie’s different characters.
Like “Making”, it’s way too short and superficial. It mainly just praises Murphy and Baker, so don’t expect to learn much from it.
With Power Tap, we get a four-minute, 50-second clip that acts as an “informercial”. It “advertises” the exercise technique highlighted in the movie. It’s just as funny as the material in the flick - that’s not a compliment.
The Stunts of Norbit fills 11 minutes, 51 seconds with comments from Robbins, Davis, stunt coordinator Andy Gill, stunt double Aaron Toney, stunt/body double Virgil E. Carter, and actor Pat Crawford Brown. The featurette looks at… uh, the stunts of Norbit.
Unlike the prior programs, though, it does so in a satisfying manner. We get lots of great raw footage and learn quite a lot about the challenges in the movie’s physical comedy. This becomes a solid little piece.
14 Deleted Scenes last a total of eight minutes, 29 seconds. Given the brevity of most of those segments, perhaps they should be called “Deleted Trims”. Not a single one presents anything substantial.
The most interesting clip – and I use that term loosely – comes from “Proposal”, which shows how Norbit and Rasputia got engaged. Overall, the snippets remain forgettable.
In addition to the movie’s trailer, we find a Photo Gallery. It includes 58 shots that mix images from the set and from the movie. It’s a mediocre collection.
A few minutes into Norbit and you’ll look back longingly on Pluto Nash. A film so terrible it makes The Haunted Mansion look inspired, Norbit serves to offend and degrade but not to entertain. The Blu-ray presents fairly good picture and audio along with average extras. If you want some laughs, stay far away from the abysmal Norbit, a contender for the crown as 2007’s worst film.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of NORBIT