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Wild Hogs

review by Zach B.

 

 

Running Time: 100 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Crude and Sexual Content, and Some Violence)

Starring: Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Marisa Tomei, Jill Hennessy and Ray Liota

Written by: Brad Copeland

Directed by: Walt Becker

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Walt Becker and Writer Brad Copeland, Bikes, Brawls & Burning Bars: The Making Of Wild Hogs, How To Get Your Wife To Let You Buy A Motorcycle, Alternate Ending and Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary, Outtakes

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, French Subtitles, Scene Selection (15 Scenes)

Released: August 14th, 2007

 

"Wild Hogs" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and looks great. Colors are well saturated and appear pretty vibrant, and flesh-tones are dead on. Shadows and black levels are quite strong, and detail is pretty sumptuous - this really comes across during the exterior shots of the open road. The print used for the transfer is quite clean, but there is some slight edge enhancement. There's also a little noise, and some edge halos peak in. Overall, this is a sharp transfer that's very pleasing to the eye.

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is pretty good. Dialogue is very clear and easy to hear, and the music sounds pretty swift through the channels and further add to the feel - be it the typical hard rock staples the movie features, or Teddy Castellucci's bright score. Surrounds also make a decent impression: there are the motorcycles revving, some fighting, an explosion and the usual physical comedy that's to be expected here (i.e. crashes of characters falling off bikes, or getting hit in the face by something on the road). However, as with a lot of comedies, the surrounds are pretty front-loaded. Fidelity is pretty high though, and dynamic range is more than adequate. The track isn't incredibly discrete, but there is some nice imaging through the speakers and fair use of the subwoofer. It's a fine 5.1 mix overall, but I think it could have hit a higher gear (yes, pun intended).

Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes are available in French and Spanish too, and there's also subtitles in English, French and Spanish. Subtitles are also available for the supplements, including the commentary - which mysteriously uses English spellings (i.e. "flavour") and at times combines in dialogue and sound effects from the movie. Hmm.

 

Given the success of "Wild Hogs" in theaters, it should come as no surprise that the DVD is loaded with a few supplements. First up is Bikes, Brawls & Burning Bars: The Making Of Wild Hogs. Lasting nearly seventeen minutes and in anamorphic widescreen, the featurette has plenty of clips from the movie and on-the-set footage. What really drives this piece though are the interviews with the cast and crew. It's not a standard making-of feature though; there really isn't much structure to it and feels like a series of EPK-ish interviews strung together. It begins with director Walt Becker talking about how he used to sell motorcycles, so this film was familiar terrain to him. Becker discusses his directing style and how he wanted all of his stars to shine, and the cast praises his directing chops and collaborative nature. There's also some bits on the film's stunts and motorcycles, which is mainly guided by stunt coordinator Jack Bill. There's also a focus on the actors themselves, and what seems to be a friendly competition in scoring laughs. There's nothing really amazing about this featurette, but it's nice that everyone seems to enjoyed themselves on the set. I'm sure if you liked the movie, you'll enjoy this behind-the-scenes look.

How To Get Your Wife To Let You Buy A Motorcycle is a cute little piece lasting about three minutes, but ultimately superfluous. Interspliced with clips from the movie, the film's stunt coordinator Jack Bill gives all you guys tips in how to turn your female companion's "no" into a "yes." Bill gives a pretty convincing argument about the beauty of the open road, and how leather actually serves to protect you if you fall from a bike. Truthfully though, I don't know how many women will be impressed that a motorcycle makes you "intimidating" so that others will stay away from you.

An Audio Commentary with Director Walt Becker and Writer Brad Copeland is included. This commentary is a bit on the dull side, with several dead spots. The two joke around a bit, but no offense to them... their comments really aren't that funny. Becker and Copeland seem most interested in pointing the most random things out that don't hold much relevance to the film's overall production, and say the most rudimentary things. Still, some interesting details about the film's developments make their way through (example: Martin Lawrence's character was written as a Jewish guy), and there are some production stories as Becker guides the listener through some parts of the shoot. Becker also goes more into detail about his background with selling motorcycles, and seems really impressed still that he got his entire dream cast. It seems like there was great excitement in making this movie, but I wish there was a lot more punch in the commentary and dissection of the actual comedy in the movie, rather than comments in how funny the actors were behind the scenes. I also wish Copeland was more detailed in speaking about his writing process. In all, this commentary is for die-hard fans of the movie only.

An Alternate Ending and Two Deleted Scenes are also featured, with Optional Commentary from Becker and Copeland (one of the deleted scenes does not have commentary, however). These scenes don't really register at all, and each basically hover around a minute or two. The scenes are fully edited and presented in crisp anamorphic widescreen, but the audio doesn't seem completed. The deleted scenes wouldn't have killed the film, but they aren't really that funny. The alternate ending isn't much either. The commentary doesn't really enlighten, but Becker points out a cameo from John Travolta's sister. Most puzzling is that based on Becker's comments in the feature commentary, there was a lot more deleted and alternate material. Where is it?

There's also two-and-a-half minutes worth of Outtakes, also in anamorphic widescreen. I wouldn't say they're outtakes really, but quick cuts of the cast laughing.

Of course, you also have your usual Sneak Peeks. I usually don't mention what the advertisements are, but I'll be happy to plug one: "The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D." With the rise of theaters able to show 3-D, it's nice that Disney seems to be making this a holiday tradition.

 

"Wild Hogs" was a box office smash, and I have no idea why. Like most critics, I found the movie to be pretty painful and uninspired. But I can't fault the DVD: the transfer is excellent and the 5.1 mix is strong, but the extras are only so-so - but I am sure fans of the movie will find them appealing. If for some crazy reason you have a desire to re-visit this movie over and over, then the DVD is worthy of a purchase.