The Shaggy DA 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. As a whole, DA offered a rather unimpressive visual experience.
For the most part, the picture appeared to be reasonably sharp and distinct. However, quite a few examples of softness interfered with the presentation. These didn’t dominate the film, but they occurred much more frequently than I would expect. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no significant problems, but I did notice some light edge enhancement at times.
Print flaws were a more substantial issue. I saw periodic instances of speckles, nicks, streaks, grit and general debris. These never became excessive but they created more than a few distractions.
Colors appeared generally bland. Skin tones displayed a moderately pinkish tint, and the movie also looked somewhat faded and flat. At times, the hues looked reasonably accurate, but much of the time they seemed to be lackluster. Black levels appeared to be acceptably deep and rich, and shadows were fairly concise and visible. This transfer offered enough positives to merit a “C+”.
Also relatively decent was the monaural soundtrack of The Shaggy DA. Speech usually sounded acceptably distinct, and intelligibility wasn’t a concern. However, the dialogue displayed some signs of edginess. Music seemed to be reasonably clear, as did effects, but both elements suffered due to very restricted dynamics. There was little range to the audio, which meant the entire package sounded flat and thin. This wasn’t an unlistenable affair, but it seemed lackluster.
A few extras round out the DVD. We launch with an audio commentary from actors Jo Anne Worley, Dick Van Patten and Tim Conway. Each sits separately for their own running, screen-specific tracks; this piece edits all three commentaries together into one fluid program.
That roster of talent sounds appealing, but the end result is only sporadically interesting. Van Patten has the least to say, as he does little more than tell us the names of various actors. Worley chats about shooting the pie fight scene, her outfits, her interest in animal rights, and general thoughts about working at Disney. Conway offers the most substance, as he goes over production details like stunts, working with animals, and general filmmaking hassles. He also provides some dry humor along the way.
Those elements are the best, as Conway helps make the commentary amusing. Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot of worthwhile content here. Only a smattering of useful notes appear, and a lot of dead air occurs. The commentary has its moments but it doesn’t consistently entertain or inform.
We also find two featurettes. Putting On the Dog runs six minutes, 40 seconds and includes notes from makeup artist Robert Schiffer. He details all the methods used to turn Dean Jones into a dog. We find many good shots of the various elements and stages in this tight and informative program.
The Good, the Bad and the Funny fills nine minutes, 30 seconds with comments from Conway, Van Patten, They provide some notes about their characters, working with animals, dealing with the pie fight, thoughts about director Robert Stevenson and the other actors, and various anecdotes. Van Patten is much more informative here, and Conway tosses out more funny remarks. This is a fairly interesting and entertaining piece.
The DVD opens with some ads. We get promos for The Little Mermaid, Cars, Chicken Little, and Airbuddies. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with trailers for The Wild, The Chronicles of Narnia and Brother Bear 2.
Maybe I liked The Shaggy DA simply due to nostalgia. I was nine when it came out, and I remember seeing it – and liking it – as a kid. 30 years later, I can see the movie’s many flaws, but I also can appreciate the many solid actors present and enjoy their work. The performers almost single-handedly make the movie entertaining. The DVD presents mediocre picture and audio, and we get some decent extras, though nothing special appears. This isn’t a great disc, but it’s a fair release for a fun movie.