Case Number 12117

BLADES OF GLORY (HD DVD)

Paramount // 2007 // 93 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 27th, 2007

The Charge

Kick some ice.

Opening Statement

Will Ferrell continues his streak of sports-themed comedies and delivers another very funny, slightly surreal experience -- providing you're a Will Ferrell fan of course.

Facts of the Case

Ferrell is Chazz Michael Michaels, the self-proclaimed "bad boy" of the male figure skating circuit. His routines are lively, spandex-clad and all end with him shooting fire from his fingertips. Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite), Chazz's arch-rival, takes the classical approach to the sport, trading improvisation for meticulous routine. The two stars despite each other, and when an unfortunate incident erupts between the two following an event, they find each other banned for life from men's figure skating.

But Coach, the wily coach (Craig T. Nelson, Coach) has big things in mind for the two washed-up pros. He's going to bring them together as the first ever male-male skating team, much to the bewilderment of the world, the sport and the Van Waldenbergs (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler), the number one ranked team.

So it's on, as the unlikely duo attempt to make history and a respected sport prepares itself for planet-wide humiliation the only way Will Ferrell knows how to do it: walking around with his shirt off.

The Evidence

I like Will Ferrell. He makes me laugh. Lots. It's rare that I don't laugh lots when I watch a Will Ferrell movie, save for Stranger than Fiction, which can bite me. Talledega Night? Lots of laughing. Anchorman? See "Nights, Talledega." And now there's this movie. I laughed at it. Lots.

Blades of Glory is very funny, and the humor is what you'd expect from Ferrell's comedies. Did you like those other films I listed in the paragraph above? Then you're probably going to like this one. The jokes are sophomoric, but funny and occasionally hyper-bizarre, e.g. the final scene. Gross-out humor and simple parodies, which sometimes seem to be overtaking the comedy genre in Hollywood, are largely missing, save for a surprise decapitation scene. That by the way, I laughed at huge.

Looking at this cast, even if the writing had been cribbed straight from a treatise on post-modern interpretations of Biblical dispensationalism, there's a strong likelihood this movie would have still been funny. Ferrell, Heder, Arnett, Poehler, and Jenna Fischer -- an All-Star lineup and each are on their game. Heder in particular shone, changing up his usual slack-jawed comic presentation, to a straight set-up man, a fine complement to his co-star's Alpha Male routine. Arnett and Poehler (married as they are) delivered, and any time an Arrested Development alum gets work is fine by me, as long as it's not Let's Go to Prison. Jenna Fischer is, of course, awesome, so need to go into much more depth here. Finally, Ferrell. He's certainly got his machismo-laden idiot schtick down cold, and Chazz Michael Michaels is pretty much Ricky Bobby with long hair and form-fitting sequins, and it's inspired, but at some point, homeboy's going to have to mix it up a bit.

Anyway, to sum up: Blades of Glory = funny.

Onto the HD portion of this review. Frankly, I found the video presentation (1.85:1, 1080p) disappointing. The picture quality was nowhere near as sharp as it should have been, especially considering how bright and vibrant this film is. Colors were drab and detailing soft, a far cry from my current PQ ice skating reference disc, Miracle. Paramount should have come up bigger with their kick-off release in the HD-DVD-exclusive era. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus audio mix fares better, providing a crisp overall experience.

The high-def extras are the same as the standard-def's offering, with a handful presented in HD. Those are: the making-of documentary, "Celebrities on Thin Ice" featurette, the costuming featurette, "Arnett and Poehler, a Family Affair," which, by the way, is hilarious, "20 Questions with Scott Hamilton," "Hector: Portrait of a Psychofan," the deleted scenes, gag reel, and alternate takes. Left out in the cold is the MovieFone Unscripted segment with Ferrell, Heder and Arnett (also hilarious), the "Blades of Glory" music video and photo galley. Overall, it's a fine set of extras, and there is a lot here, but a lack of spiffy HD-DVD bonus material is a downer.

Closing Statement

This movie is funny and I recommend it, though the picture quality was a disappointment and the dearth of high-def extras were a missed opportunity for Paramount.

The Verdict

These suckas are as cool as ice.

Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 80
Audio: 90
Extras: 85
Acting: 90
Story: 85
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile
Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (Widescreen)

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Surround (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Portuguese
* Spanish

Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Making-of Documentary
* Skating Featurette
* Costuming Featurette
* "Arnett and Poehler--A Family Affair"
* "20 Question with Scott Hamilton"
* "Hector: Portrait of a Psychofan"
* MovieFone Unscripted
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Takes
* Gag Reel
* Photo Gallery
* Music Video

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0445934/combined

* Official Site
http://www.bladesofglorymovie.com/