Blades of Glory Blu-ray delivers great video and solid audio in this fan-pleasing Blu-ray release
In 2002, two rival Olympic ice skaters were stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men's single competition. Presently, however, they've found and exploit a loophole that allows them to qualify as a pairs team.
For more about Blades of Glory and the Blades of Glory Blu-ray release, see Blades of Glory Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 21, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Here it is. DreamWorks' Blades of Glory is finally here and available to own. The title has
become somewhat of an icon, representing the embodiment of the Paramount/DreamWorks
defection to the rival (and now deceased) HD-DVD format. The disc was scheduled for release
just days after the studios abandoned the now victorious high definition Blu-ray format. A
Blu-ray version of Blades of Glory had supposedly shipped to retailers but was returned to
manufacturer upon news of the defection just days before the disc was slated to hit store
shelves on August 28, 2007. Now, some nine months later, the studios are back, and the long
sought-after disc is amongst their initial wave of releases and re-releases. Sporting the same
specifications and features that were announced last year, the disc is obviously from the same
batch that were initially pressed and packaged prior to the defection. No doubt that this first
wave of Paramount/DreamWorks discs, including Blades of Glory, Next, and Face/Off, is the
same products that Blu-ray fans would have seen and owned last year, smartly saved by the
studios for their inevitable return to the Blu-ray format.
Thank you, thank you, we're glad to be back on Blu-ray!
Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder, The Benchwarmers) was a child prodigy figure skater living in an
orphanage until he was "bought" by Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner, Prison Break) and
further trained and molded into a gold-medalist caliber singles figure skater. Now an adult, he
performs very well at the World WinterSport Games and is on track for a gold medal until his
Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell, Semi-Pro) skates and earns the exact same score. The two are co
winners, but a brawl ensues between them, and they are quickly banned from the sport. Jimmy
is left on his
own, Darren wanting nothing to do with the now-disgraced star. More than three years pass,
and a loophole in the National Figure Skating Association's rule book is brought to Jimmy's
attention, a rule stating that he can indeed return to skating, but only as part of a pairs team.
happenstance, as Jimmy is searching for a partner, he runs into Chazz and the two continue their
brawl which is caught by a camera and broadcast on the local news. Jimmy's former coach (Craig
T. Nelson, TV's "Coach") sees their fight but also sees through the confrontation and
recognizes the pair's possible compatibility as a skating team. Eager to get back into the sport,
they agree to become an oddity, a male-male figure skating tandem. To win and
gain acceptance in the skating community, they are going to need a revolutionary move,
something new and dangerous, a move only two men can perform together, all the while dealing
with some competitors who
will exploit Chazz and Jimmy's weaknesses to stop them.
To say that I don't particularly enjoy what passes for comedy these days would be an
understatement. They just don't make 'em like they used to (I really miss John Candy), but all
things considered, Blades of Glory isn't half-bad. I sure didn't find myself laughing all
that often, but perhaps I just don't relate to Will Ferrell's brand of humor. For my money, there
were only a few truly unique and funny moments in the movie, such as a low-speed chase
between two characters on ice skates as they have to walk across a busy street, up a few stairs,
hitch a ride on an electric scooter, and proceed up an escalator, ending with a mascot with an
arrow in the head. It's a brilliant and side-splitting routine, worthy of mention in the same
breath as some of the all-time best comedic routines. Jon Heder once again portrays his
character and steals the show (I can't wait for
Napoleon Dynamite to hit Blu-ray).
As a sports fan, I do appreciate Ferrell's recent trend of involving himself in projects that poke fun
at some of America's most cherished sporting pastimes (see Talladega Nights and Semi-Pro, the
actor's spin on NASCAR and professional basketball). As a sports-centric film, Blades of
Glory is a very watchable
movie. It never becomes bogged down by a slow pace or worthless plot devices. The action flows
naturally, and even if the material wasn't quite as funny as I hoped it would be, the movie proves
itself to be well-made, acted, and directed. The skating routines are entertaining and as unique
as the characters that participate in them. The cameos by some of the legendary figure skaters
of our time, namely Nancy Kerrigan, Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, and Dorothy Hamill, add a
charm and realism to the movie that only the best sports-centered movies can
The actors are also impressive when they display their skating prowess. Though aided by cables
(as seen in the supplements), the actors, filmmakers, and choreographers have nevertheless
created a final product that has us believing that these people truly can skate at a high level of
Blades of Glory graces Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 framed, 1080p high definition image. Frankly,
I wasn't a fan of the look of the movie. That's not to say the transfer is bad, it's fine, I just didn't
care for the cinematography, lighting, and the like. Save for the actual competitive ice
skating sequences, the movie looks drab and lifeless, certainly an odd and often startling
difference in appearance to the bright, pleasing, and vibrant championship skating sequences.
The skating portions of the film do look very pleasing, offering rich and well-defined
colors and sparkling imagery that is impeccably clean. Flesh
tones appear just a bit off in some scenes, appearing somewhat darker than they do in others,
almost as if the actors are caked in dark make-up. Detail is generally good, and and in
some scenes exceptional. The intricate costumes worn by the competitors shine in high
definition, all the nuances and adornments clearly visible and elaborate, providing some
impressive eye candy. Black levels are solid throughout, certainly not as deep as others I have
seen, but far better than merely "acceptable." Finally, the disc maintains a sharp, well-defined
look and softness is never a major problem. Blades of Glory makes for a perfectly
acceptable high definition image, even if I wasn't enamored with the look of the entire movie.
Blades of Glory is not only representative of Paramount/DreamWorks' defection to HD
but is also representative of a change in philosophy at the studios just prior to the abandonment
the Blu-ray format. Blades of Glory was to be the first title from those studios to receive a high-definition soundtrack. Although
with the aforementioned Next as the first title from Paramount/DreamWorks with an
uncompressed sound mix, Blades of Glory nevertheless makes good on that promise,
delivering a fine sounding PCM 5.1 uncompressed soundtrack that runs at 6.9 Mbps. This track is
one of the best I've heard associated with a comedy. The rear channels always offer up a good
amount of ambience, be it crowds cheering or jeering during the skating matches or finer
nuances that add a sense of realism to the mix. The film's score always comes through
loud and clear, floating to the back channels but definitely focused in the front soundstage.
Gordon theme song sounds fantastic during the film's climax, far better than it did on the
recent release of that film by Universal (the last DVD I purchased, oddly enough). Bass,
when it is called upon, is solid and deep. It's not action movie deep, but it pounds and thuds on
occasion, the music playing over Chazz Michael Michaels' first skating routine of the movie
providing one example. Dialogue is
solid, perhaps a bit muffled in a few places, but almost always discernible and clear. The final
skate provides some nice moments, the music and some of the special skating effects employed
by the skaters to heighten their routine coming through perfectly with excellent imaging. All
things considered, however, this is a mostly uninteresting track. It is neither excellent nor dull,
but it does fit the subject matter of the film perfectly, and receives a score reflective of that.
Blades of Glory arrives on Blu-ray with a long list of high-quality and high-definition
supplemental materials. The first is
Return to Glory: The Making of 'Blades' (1080p, 14:46). This is a better-than-basic
that looks at the making of the film but with a decidedly comedic twist. Featured are interviews
with producer Ben Stiller, the primary cast, and co-directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon.
Celebrities on Thin Ice (1080p, 6:03) is next, a short feature that examines the actor's
introduction to the world of ice skating and their training, showcasing interviews with the cast
their trainer, along with raw footage of their training sessions. Cooler Than Ice: The
Costumes of Skating (1080p, 4:36), obviously, takes a look at the wardrobe in which the
cast decks-out throughout the movie, how the clothes fit in with the personality of the
characters, and the
costume designer Julie Weiss.
Arnett & Poehler - A Family Affair (1080p, 5:48) is a short interview about how this
real-life married couple got involved in the movie and the challenge of playing as brother and
Like the other features, this one is decidedly lighthearted and not meant to be taken seriously.
20 Questions With Scott Hamilton (1080p, 4:59) is an interview with former figure
skater Scott Hamilton, so far the most serious feature on the disc. This interview is followed by
Hector: Portrait of a Psychofan (1080p, 3:21). This is a mock interview with a fictional
fan of Jon Heder's character, Jimmy MacElroy. Moviefone Unscripted With Will Ferrell, Jon
Heder, and Will Arnett (480p, 9:54) is a short 3-way conversation between three of the
film's stars where they answer fan mail about the movie.
Next on the list of special features are four deleted scenes. They are presented in 1080p high
definition video, Dolby Digital 2.0 channel audio, and run for 9:10. A series of alternate takes
(1080p, 8:38) follow the deleted scenes. I found several of these scenes to be far funnier than
anything that made it into the final cut of the film. Concluding the extra features are a gag reel
(1080p, 2:08), three series of behind-the-scenes still photos, a music video entitled Blades of
Glory (1080p, 4:38) by Bo Bice, and MTV Interstitials (480p, 1:37) which are three
30-second previews for the film.
Blades of Glory definitely has its funny moments, and Will Ferrell fans will eat this one
The movie is somewhat raunchy and potty-mouthed, but never in excess, hence the PG-13
Classed in a genre that, for me, has headed south over the past decade, Blades of Glory
managed to prove just entertaining enough to hold my interest and keep me reasonably
entertained, even if I only found myself laughing uncontrollably once or twice and barely emoting
smile the rest of the way. Ferrell and Heder have a wonderful chemistry and can pull off hating
another just a well as they can pull off being best friends and teammates. DreamWorks'
long-awaited and overdue
Blu-ray release of Blades of Glory is a solid effort by the studio. It looks fine, sporting
good detail and vibrant colors in the
skating portions of the film. The PCM soundtrack is impressive and ranks as one of the best
comedy-centric soundtracks available today. The supplements are numerous in number and
entertaining, but a bit short nevertheless, though fans of the movie will no doubt enjoy them.
Blades of Glory is one of the most talked-about Blu-ray discs of all-time, and even if you
aren't the film's biggest fan, it's importance in the history of this burgeoning format should earn
spot on every serious Blu-ray collector's shelves. Recommended.
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Paramount Home Entertainment today revealed further details about their upcoming Blu-ray plans and in addition to releasing 'Bee Movie', 'Face/Off' and 'Next' on May 20th, they will also be releasing 'Blades of Glory', a quirky comedy about the competetive world ...