Scary Movie 4 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. Only a couple minor problems emerged in this generally strong transfer.
Sharpness was mostly very good. Some shots came across as a little loose, but much of the movie seemed pretty distinctive and accurate. I saw no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement remained very minor. A speck or two appeared, but otherwise the image lacked print flaws.
The colors worked fine. They lacked any runniness or bleeding and seemed positive across the board. The various hues were tight and bold. Black levels appeared nicely dense and deep, while low-light shots offered good clarity and definition. Ultimately, Scary 3 presented a very good image that barely fell below “A”-level standards.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Scary Movie 4’s worked well. The soundfield opened up nicely at times. Most of those came from the War of the Worlds related segments. They didn’t compete with the material from that source, but they were still pretty lively and active. The rest of the movie was more subdued, but the track managed to give us a good sense of place and space through the film.
Audio quality seemed strong. Dialogue always sounded natural and distinctive, and I noticed no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded accurate and life-like. Music fared quite well. These elements seemed vivid and lively, with clear highs and nice bass. Across the board, low-end response was firm and rich. All of this was good enough for another “B+”.
As we head to the DVD’s extras, we start with an audio commentary from director David Zucker, producer Robert K. Weiss, and writer/producer Craig Mazin. All three men sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. If you heard their track for Scary 3, you’ll know what to expect here: information mixed with comedy.
In the first area, we get notes about the movies that inspired Scary 4’s sequences, cast and performances, locations and sets, changes made to the unrated cut and the development of some gags, and the use of pick-up shots to ensure some really current spoofs. Though they occasionally praise the film’s bits, the guys show a surprising ability to criticize the parts they don’t think work.
Most of the failures they perceive come from the pieces added for the unrated version, a fact that makes it clear no one them worked on the longer cut. Indeed, they’re constantly surprised to see what’s in the extended Scary 4, which seems odd. Who put together this thing? Wouldn’t it make sense for those people to at least consult the filmmakers? Obviously Zucker and the others don’t disown the unrated cut or else they wouldn’t do commentary for it, but it remains bizarre that the folks who assembled it left them so completely in the dark.
While the guys offer a decent amount of information about the movie, the commentary works best when they joke around about various things. The track goes off onto bizarre tangents at times such as elements of Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet and Zucker’s continued confusion over one part of the film Midway. We also hear an extended discussion of how their work fits into the realm of parody or satire, and also an odd chat about how no one can prove that The Simpsons is funny. Some may become annoyed by these digressions, but I think they bring life and humor to the piece. The commentary’s vastly funnier than the movie itself.
15 Deleted & Extended Scenes fill a total of 13 minutes, 44 seconds. As you can tell based on that running time, we get a lot of short pieces. If almost nothing funny appears in the final flick, that means it becomes unlikely we’ll get any amusement from the parts that didn’t make it. We get a succession of lame gags and don’t find anything worthwhile from these excised segments.
We can watch the clips with or without commentary from Zucker, Weiss and Mazin. They crack wise about the clips but don’t tell us a ton. They don’t always relate why the segments were left out of the final flick – beyond their view of them as crummy - but at least they make it fairly interesting.
A collection of Bloopers runs seven minutes. These feature the expected mix of goof-ups and wacky bits, and they’re pretty tiresome. They also include too many shots of a shirtless Anthony Anderson and too much of “Lil Jon”, arguably the most annoying man in popular music.
After this we find a series of featurettes. The Man Behind the Laugh (Director David Zucker) goes for three minutes and 43 seconds. We get remarks from Zucker and actors Craig Bierko, Leslie Nielsen, Anna Faris, Michael Madsen, Molly Shannon, and Charlie Sheen. They talk about Zucker’s directing methods and his omnipresent giggle. Some of the footage from the set is mildly interesting, but this is mostly a love letter to the director.
In the two-minute and 58-second Zany Spoof Humor – Zucker Style, we hear from Zucker, Mazin, Nielsen, Bierko, and actor Simon Rex. The piece looks at Zucker’s style of spoof humor. We find brief tidbits of substance like a note about Zucker’s comedy rules, but as with “Laugh”, this one largely acts as a puff piece to celebrate the director’s alleged genius.
An Interviewer’s Worst Nightmare lasts four minutes, 58 seconds. Essentially this presents a collection of interview outtakes, as the various subjects act obnoxious and try to be funny. They don’t succeed.
Next comes The Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4. It fills eight minutes, 31 seconds, and features visual effects producer Alison O’Brien, entityfx president Mat Beck, entityfx senior visual effects producer Kymber Lim, entityfx visual effects producer Tricia Hefferman, entityfx lead 3D animator David Alexander, and CafeFX digital effects supervisor David Ebner. They discuss how Zucker wants effects to fit into his films, budgetary concerns, and details of some specific shots. Unlike its predecessors, “Effects” gives us some pretty solid information. It delves into a few of the flick’s elements with a reasonable level of depth. It turns into a nice little show.
During the three-minute and 25-second Youngbloodz, we find remarks from actors/rappers Sean Paul and J-Bo as they tell us about their cameo. We watch parts of the shoot and hear them give us a few observations. It doesn’t add up to much.
Finally, Rappers… Actors goes for two-minute and 39-seconds. It presents notes from Weiss, Zucker, Lil Jon, Chingy, Sean Paul, J-Bo, and Fabolous. They talk about how great their experiences were and that’s about it.
The disc opens with trailers for The Protector, Lucky Number Slevin, Clerks II and Pulse. We also find the theatrical trailer for Scary 4.
If you liked Scary Movie 3, will you enjoy Scary Movie 4? Probably, since they’re really the same film. Scary 4 adjusts its references but in no other way bothers to update the formula. That makes it even less amusing than its already tedious predecessor. The DVD gives us pretty good picture and audio, though, and some occasionally interesting extras. This is a fairly positive DVD for a terrible movie.