Zoolander appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though the image didn’t leap off the screen, it seemed positive.
Overall sharpness worked well. A few interiors could be a smidgen soft, but not to a notable degree, so the majority of the film provided solid delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no concerns, and I also detected no evidence of edge enhancement. As for print flaws, I noticed no specks, marks or other concerns.
Colors nicely bright and vibrant. Zoolander went with a peppy palette, and the tones came across as accurate and vivid. Black levels seemed deep and dense, while shadow detail was appropriately thick but not excessively opaque. This ended up as a pleasing presentation.
I also felt happy with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Zoolander. As with most comedies, the film’s soundfield stayed fairly heavily oriented toward the front channels, where it presented fine presence and stereo imaging. Music seemed to spread broadly across the speakers, while effects were appropriately localized and they blended together neatly.
The surrounds usually offered general reinforcement of the front audio, but they kicked in with some unique material at times. For example, the “Relax” hypnotism sequence used the rears nicely, and a few other sequences contributed good activity. Overall, the soundfield appeared unspectacular, but it worked fine for this sort of material.
Audio quality was more than acceptable. Dialogue seemed reasonably natural and distinct, and I heard no problems related to edginess or intelligibility. Music was nicely bright and vibrant. Both songs and score showed fine range and clarity, and they contributed some terrific low-end elements at times.
Effects also came across as clean and accurate. They seemed well reproduced and kicked in good bass when appropriate, such as during an explosion. Zoolander offered a consistently fine soundtrack.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was fairly similar, though the Blu-ray’s lossless mix added a little range and warmth. As for the visuals, the Blu-ray boasted broader colors, increased definition and a cleaner print. The Blu-ray acted as a good improvement.
The Blu-ray mostly replicates the DVD’s extras. First up is an audio commentary from actor/writer/director Ben Stiller plus fellow screenwriters Drake Sather and John Hamburg. All three were recorded together for this running, screen-specific piece. Overall, the commentary offers a breezy and compelling look at the film.
Not surprisingly, Stiller dominates the track, though he doesn’t do so in a forced or egotistical way. He wore so many hats on the film that it’s inevitable we’ll hear his voice more than the others.
Sather and Hamburg contribute some good material, but this remains Stiller’s commentary to make or break, and he handles it well. He and the others discuss a myriad of elements about the movie, from its origins to casting to story and script changes to locations to a number of other bits. Very few empty spaces appear, and the three men keep the tone light and engaging across the board. They provide a solid commentary that seems enjoyable and educational.
After this we discover five Deleted Scenes and five Extended Scenes. The deleted scenes run between 23 seconds and four minutes, 41 seconds for a total of seven minutes, 46 seconds of footage. The extended scenes last between 34 seconds and two minutes, five seconds for a total of eight minutes of material. All 10 snippets can be viewed with or without commentary from Stiller.
I think the various clips are pretty interesting. Actually, many of them are quite good, and a few of them should have made the final cut. As for Stiller’s remarks, he doesn’t always tell us why the material was removed from the film – which is the basic mission of deleted scenes commentaries – but he usually provides that info, and he also adds some good statements about the shots.
Many more video-based extras appear here. Next we locate six minutes, 34 seconds of Outtakes. Most of these consist of the usual flubbed lines and laughing, but they also include a few more interesting moments. Most of those came from a variety of unused ad-libs offered by Will Ferrell, and those make the segments more entertaining than normal.
As noted in my review, the Zoolander character first emerged during some VH1 Fashion Awards Skits. The disc includes both the 1996 edition (two minutes, 48 seconds) and the 1997 take (three minutes, 54 seconds). While not any funnier than Stiller’s material in the movie, these are cool to see since they show the earliest incarnation of the Zoolander part. I’m happy to find them on the disc.
Breakdance Fight Researsal runs four minutes, 29 seconds and offers what it describes. We see video footage of the choreography for this climactic sequence. The reel adds a fun look behind the scenes.
In the Photo Galleries section we find three subsections. It includes “Derek’s Portfolio” (eight shots), “Hansel’s Portfolio” (12 images), and “Zoolander Production Stills” (19 snaps). The two portfolios are fun to see since they give us clearer views of material from the film. The production shots feel more ordinary.
Zoolander includes a music video for the Wiseguys’ “Start the Commotion”. This clip uses the standard mix of shots from the film intercut with lip-synch images of the band. Actually, the latter elements seem more clever than usual, as they feature the performers in outfits that emulate various performers, but it remains a pretty ordinary video.
Tons of short pieces show up in the Promo Spots domain. “PSAs” offers six phony public service announcements from Zoolander; they fill a total of two minutes, one second. “MTV Cribs” gives us three 30-second bits, while “Interstitials” contributes an additional six clips, each of which lasts between 20 and 30 seconds. All of these are fairly similar promotional pieces that usually show Derek as he spouts inanities. They get a little redundant after a while, but they still offer amusing material.
In addition to a teaser for Zoolander 2, we find an Easter Egg. If you click left from “Breakdance Fight Rehearsal” in “Zoolander’s Closet”, you’ll highlight a “Z”. Press “enter” to see a two-minute, 49-second reel that shows rehearsals for the “walk-off” scene. Along with narration from Stiller, it becomes a fun extra.
While Zoolander has enough entertaining material to warrant a look, it suffers from the blandness of its star. When the lead actor is the worst thing about a movie, that becomes a trap from which it can’t escape. The Blu-ray provides generally solid picture and audio along with an often enjoyable set of supplements. Zoolander ends up as a spotty comedy.
Release note: starting December 1, 2015, the Zoolander Blu-ray will be a Wal-Mart exclusive for two months. The Blu-ray will hit other outlets February 2, 2016.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of ZOOLANDER