Judge Eric Profancik is an expert hunter and forager...as long as you're hunting common household insects, or foraging for Captain Crunch.
"This is a fast-paced, in-your-face, outdoors presentation. That will give all of you the unique opportunity to embrace the wild!"
I sit here scratching my head, for I have to wonder why I requested this disc. It's not because it's a bad disc; it's because I am definitely not its target audience. So, for that, I apologize as I don't know exactly what I may be talking about. Odds are that you are the target audience and have some idea of what this disc is about. For those of you who don't know, this DVD is about hunting—not just your everyday, garden variety, normal hunting. No. This is wild hunting. What does that mean? It means you have some wild guys hunting for exotics and having a wild time.
Hence the title, Wild Life & Wild Times.
Eric Adams and Chester Moore carry the big guns on this DVD. Again, these are new names to me, but they are famous in many a circle. Eric is the lead singer of the heavy metal band Manowar, and Chester is an award-winning outdoors journalist and all-around outdoorsman. Outside of Chester's profession, he's also a huge fan of Manowar. By strange twist of fate, Eric loves to hunt. Thus, a match made in heaven.
These two decided to document their hunting trips, and, as noted, it wasn't for the usual game. On Wild Life & Wild Times, these guys hunt ram, buffalo, Catalina goat, elk, and wild boar. They also do some bowfishing and go after king salmon and bull red fish. It's atypical hunting from atypical men.
Not that I know anything about hunting. I've never done it, and the closet I can say I've come to it is that my Uncle Lee in Pennsylvania is an avid hunter. The best I can say is that I have fished, so that part of the "hunting" I understood better.
As a non-hunter, I was dismayed when I belatedly realized we would see animals die on the DVD. That's all my fault and I should have known better. Yet that is all assuaged as Eric and Chester are skilled hunters who take great care and pride in their sport, always going for the ethical kill and using the meat when all is said and done.
But that's not the point of the DVD. The point is to show to avid hunters having a great time going after exotic game. Not ever having seen another hunting DVD or watching more than twenty seconds of a hunting show, I cannot relate what I saw here versus anything else. So I have to tell you what I think of these "wild times." First and foremost, these guys are having a lot of fun. They are enjoying the hunt, the new game (mostly for Eric), and each other's company. But is it really wild? From what I saw on the DVD, honestly, it didn't look all that wild. They are having a great time at what they are doing, but it just doesn't seem to be wild: "full of, marked by, or suggestive of strong, uncontrolled emotion." Because these guys are hunting, they are always in control.
Now I know I'm being too analytic and fixating on the word wild. I'm sure it all boils down to just a clever usage of the word in the title, so I'll back off. I do that because I don't wish to diminish the final product. From what I can see, it's a nicely produced hunting documentary. But it could be better. The segments vary wildly in length, with not enough time of one subject and too much on another. For example, did we need the bit at the rattlesnake roundup? It's interesting to see the event, but the guys didn't do any hunting. It was press day. On the flip side, the final segment on wild boars runs far too long. Did it really need fifteen minutes? Several times it felt like the story was over, and then it would go on a bit longer. It wasn't boring, but it felt too stretched out.
The quality on the DVD is top-notch. As I've said before, the best looking DVDs (or HDTV programs for that matter) are always nature shows and sporting events. This hunting disc, in the great and wild outdoors, is no exception and the video transfer sparkles. The full frame transfer has crystal clear colors, sharp blacks, and excellent sharpness and details. I detected not the first error across its presentation. For the audio, I'm saddened to see only a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. Why would a hunting disc require something more like a 5.1 mix? You are right in that this is not a demanding feature, being dialogue driven. The provided mix is also free of any defects, with clean and clear dialogue from the center channel. The dilemma stems from Eric's association with Manowar. Any time I see a musically related bonus feature on a disc, I demand a 5.1 mix—not that I always get it. And since Eric fronts a band and since Eric composed all of the music to the DVD, why wouldn't he want it showcased in the finest way possible? He wrote an excellent score, influenced by his heavy metal background, and it deserves better. The DVD does come with some bonus materials: some bloopers (3 minutes, 10 seconds), a photo slide show (2.5 minutes), and a menu of all of Eric's music (10 songs)—still not in 5.1.
Even though I'm not a hunter, I enjoyed this disc. It wasn't exactly as wild and crazy as I expected—even though Eric and Chester always seemed to try to remind me of how wild it really was—but I can appreciate a quality product nonetheless. I am a bit confused of how to parlay a recommendation into this, but I'll go back to the assumption that you already know something about this disc and are interested because of Eric or Chester. Since you're interested, I can tell you there's nothing on this disc to keep you from owning it. For the rest of us, I don't think it'll ever be an option at Blockbuster or Netflix.
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