‘Old School’ Blu-ray Review
‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’ was such a huge hit back in the late 70’s which starred John Belushi. Since its release there have been plenty of comedies that have tried to replicate the formula. They weren’t as successful, but one film by the name of ‘National Lampoon’s Van Wilder’ came rather close. Then in 2003 co-writer/director Todd Phillips would unleash to the world, ‘Old School’. This is the film that would be ‘Animal House’s’ little brother. At the box office ‘Old School’ would be a run away success with an $86 million dollar world wide total gross.
Mitch Martin’s (Luke Wilson) world is about to take a spin when he comes home from a business trip to find his girlfriend Heidi (Juliette Lewis) in bed watching a porno. This gets Mitch all excited as it is something that will spice up their love life. As he starts to take his clothes off, two people start walking out of the bathroom with blindfolds on. This freaks him out and Heidi confesses that she enjoys orgies while he is gone on his trips. After some fighting back and forth between the two, Mitch decides its time to leave and when he opens the door he finds another man at the door that is there to pleasure Heidi. Mitch moves to a house which is on the local college campus.
Mitch tells his buddies Beanie (Vince Vaughn) and Frank (Will Ferrell) that he has found a house on a college campus. This excites both Beanie and Frank as they are trapped in marital hell from their viewpoints. With Frank just recently married and Beanie have been married for a number of years; this is an opportunity for all three men to enjoy their younger days once again. They both see this as an escape from their married lives where they can hang out and party. They decide to thrown one hell of a party that Mitch doesn’t see coming one day when he just walks into his own home and all these college kids are hanging around. Being the best buddy that he can be, Beanie tells Mitch that they need to start their own fraternity. They get a bunch of pledges ranging from all different ages. The trio put the pledges through their initiation, and some of the things they have to do are utterly hilarious.
Then enter Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven) that knows the guys from when they were children. He still hates them to this day for making his life so utterly miserable growing up. He wants payback on these guys for all the misery they caused to him. Pritchard wants to shutdown the fraternity and get Mitch out of the house. The boys won’t allow that to happen as they put up a fight right back even though some things do go sour along the way.
I have viewed ‘Old School’ multiple times since its release and I have enjoyed the film more and more with each viewing. I find this film to be a modern day ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’. Ferrell, Wilson, and Vaughn work very well here as the trio keeps the laughs coming in one form or another. The laughs keep on coming in this film from start to finish.
Movie Content: 4/5
The print is presented in 1080p AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This is the same print as what was released on HD DVD. Colors are rather bright and vibrant throughout. There are some spots in the film that look rather soft. Blacks are rather deep. Fleshtones look accurate helping bring out some nice details. I found the details to be pretty good in some scenes, while in others they appeared to be out of focus. Some of these issues attributes to the film noise that is used throughout the print. There are times where it can be subtle and then gets a bit heavier. I will not complain since this movie does look pretty good for a catalog title.
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. On HD DVD the film had a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix which has received a small audio bump to TrueHD. The soundfield only receives usage when the boys are in the middle of a party or anytime there is ongoing music from the film’s soundtrack. Don’t go in expecting this aural experience since comedies aren’t usually that. This mix is much more front heavy. With ‘Old School’ being dialogue driven, voices come through the center very clean and crisp.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
- Feature Audio commentary from the Co-Writer and Director Todd Phillips, Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn
- From the Cutting Room Floor – Deleted Scenes (13:19) – 8 scenes total
- Old School Orientation (13:02)
- Inside the Actor’s Studio spoof (13:39)
- Outtakes & Bloopers (5:04)
- TV Spots (1:36) – 3 spots total
- Theatrical Trailer (2:29) [HD]
All the special features are presented in standard definition, except for the Theatrical Trailer which is in high definition. This is kind of disappointing that these features weren’t available in high definition. This is one area that I would love to see the Blu-ray format improve in with starting to have all special features in high definition.
Special Features: 2.5/5
‘Old School’ is a great comedy with a trio of friends that are in a midlife crisis. This film will have you at the edge of your seat from start to finish with the laughs. If you own the previous HD DVD release, the Blu-ray version may not warrant an upgrade unless you can get the film at a cheaper price.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 (Purchase)