Saved! appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture betrayed its indie origins with a fairly lackluster transfer.
For the most part, sharpness came across as decent to good. Some softness interfered at times, and the movie could look slightly ill-defined. However, it mainly looked acceptably concise and distinctive. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects popped up, but some minor to moderate edge enhancement created a few distractions. As for source flaws, more grain than usual crept into the image, and I also saw a few specks and bits of grit.
Colors tended toward the paler side of natural. The tones mostly were reasonably firm and lively, but they seemed somewhat flat on occasion. Skin tones tended toward the pinkish side of things and sometimes lacked realism. Blacks were tight and firm, and shadows usually came across as acceptably smooth and clear, though they sometimes looked a little dense. Overall, the image was more than watchable but not anything special.
I didn’t expect a lot from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Saved!, and the mix matched what I anticipated. The soundfield remained heavily anchored in the front realm. The forward channels provided decent stereo imaging for music and effects, as sounds appeared in the appropriate locations and blended together efficiently. Not a lot of movement occurred across the speakers, but the mix seemed reasonably well integrated nonetheless. As for the surrounds, they offered light reinforcement of music and effects at most. Frankly, I usually wasn’t really aware that much audio came from the rears; the mix really did stick strongly with the front speakers.
Although the soundfield seemed bland, the quality of the audio helped compensate for any shortcomings. Dialogue appeared consistently natural and distinct, and I detected no problems related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects played a minor role in the film, but they sounded accurate and clean, with reasonable presence and no signs of distortion. Music worked fairly well, as the score and the pop tunes presented good clarity. Highs seemed crisp and bright, while bass was acceptably rich and warm. In the end, the audio was nothing special, but it suited the film.
For the DVD release of Saved!, we get a moderate mix of supplements. The disc includes two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director/co-writer Brian Dannelly, co-writer Michael Urban, and producer Sandy Stern, all of whom sit together for a running, screen-specific track. Although this piece starts out like gangbusters, it soon turns into
something tedious. The participants discuss topics such as locations, casting, ratings issues, problems getting financing and shooting on a low budget, the music, and many little tidbits from the shoot. A variety of small production notes pop up throughout the piece.
That's great when they stick to those subjects, but unfortunately, they devote an inordinate amount of time to happy talk. They tell us how great all the participants were, how much they love the final product, and - in an annoyingly congratulatory tone - how much everyone else adores the flick too. This remains tolerable for the film's first act but gets more and more tiresome as it progresses; by the flick's final act, I couldn't stop rolling my eyes with every superlative. This commentary has some very good moments and probably still will be satisfying for fans of the flick, but it seems way too filled with banal praise for my liking.
In the second commentary, we hear from actors Jena Malone and Mandy Moore, both of whom also sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion. Don’t expect a lot of hard data, but the actors maintain a nicely light tone that focuses on their experiences. They talk a little about their characters and their work on the roles, but mainly they toss out memories of the shoot and the bits and pieces that went into making the flick. Inevitably, this chat includes some praise and compliments, but the actors tone things down substantially from the earlier commentary’s insipid love-fest. I can’t call this a stellar track, but it offers a nice perspective on filmmaking from two younger actors and it seems consistently engaging and enjoyable. This chipper and lively chat helps erase the sickly aftertaste left by its predecessor.
Next we get a featurette called Heaven Help Us. It lasts a mere four minutes and 20 seconds and consists of movie snippets, shots from the set, and soundbites from Dannelly, Malone, Moore, Stern, producer Michael Stipe, and actors Patrick Fugit, Heather Matarazzo, Macaulay Culkin, and Eva Amurri. It tosses out very basic plot and production comments without much depth. Don’t expect more than a glorified trailer and lots of happy talk.
After this we get 11 Deleted/Extended Scenes. These run between 24 seconds and three minutes, 41 seconds for a total of 16 minutes, 15 seconds of footage. The additions and changes seem fairly minor, and nothing terribly significant or entertaining shows up here.
Within the Bloopers section, four clips appear. These occupy a total of two minutes, eight seconds. Malone tosses out some funny improvs, and along with some other wacky moments, these are a little better than the average bloopers.
Some additional unused footage pops up under the moniker Saved! Revelations. These show us things like “What’s behind Roland’s comic book?” and “What’s Cassandra really saying?” Essentially they consist of short clips likely cut for ratings issues, as they include some saucier images and statements.
The DVD opens with a few ads. We get trailers for Wicker Park and Walking Tall. The latter also appears in the Other Great MGM Releases area along with promos for , Touching the Void, Intermission, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Soul Plane and Dorm Daze.
One might expect a barbed and lively satirical tale from Saved!, and the movie occasionally musters some dark energy. For the most part, though, it comes across as little more than a standard, predictable teen “coming of age” story without much cleverness or intrigue. The DVD presents decent but fairly average picture and audio along with extras that offer occasional bits of useful material. A good but unexceptional DVD for a flawed movie, I can’t muster much of a recommendation for Saved!, a film that came as a disappointment.