Bratz (US - DVD R1)
Troy reviews the film that's dumbing down children more than lead paint
Bratz is a film made for little girls about the thrills and excitement to be found in High School. Everyone of a certain age knows that this is a pipe dream, but the tykes will take this film to heart as though it was a documentary from Errol Morris. Parents should be bothered by that, but they’re too busying popping Ambien and knocking back Vodka/Red Bull cocktails. The children have run amuck, people. The toymakers, fashion designers and general trash wranglers know this and they’ve got a marketing plan.
Well, let’s take a look at what Mattel and the powers that be decided to throw together. Freshman year has just started for the four new girls at Carry Nation High School. Yasmin (Nathalia Ramos), Jade (Janel Parrish), Sasha (Logan Browning) and Cloe (Skyler Shaye) are the best of friends until they met the Ice Queen Meredith Dimly (Chelsea Staub). I don’t know why I keep putting the actress names up, if any of you people know who these people are, then you’ve probably been the cause of an Amber Alert or two. Two years pass and the four friends have been broken up by the school’s caste system. The girls still miss each other, but what can help bring them back together?
Honestly, if you care, if you give a damn about this flick…I want to smack you. COPPA laws should keep you from being here. But, I don’t know how stuff swings in England, so it might be all freaky deak and most of the people leaving comments might recall 1999 as being the good ol’ days. By some force of nature, I made my way to the finale and got to watch Jon Voight age before my eyes. The film’s more depressing than Night and Fog.
LionsGate has had an off again/on again history of having DVD transfers that don’t match up with their original theatrical exhibition. The first LionsGate disc to bring this problem to light was Lord of War, sadly we’ve had several more occurrences since that release and Bratz is just one more for the pile. When I was creating the screen shots for this review, I noticed a lot of open room to the sides of the image. A lot of this comes from taking an HD master out of the camera and trying to choose two positions for theatrical and home viewing.
The compromise isn’t too horrible, but you’re still losing information off the sides of a given shot. It’s unfortunate that LionsGate chose to do such things with the release, but if it sells…it sells. The transfer as it stands is extraordinarily clear and doesn’t run into problems until later scenes with huge mobs of characters. Given that the production team saw fit to stuff the Carry Nation High School with enough extras to choke a horse, the problem surfaces several times throughout the presentation.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is too big for a film where the greatest sound expanse is during a food fight or one of their girls’ hi-jinks. Still, it’s nice to see such commitment to all titles on the audio level. Dialogue and forward audio is located discretely in the front channels, while the back channels only come into play during larger scenes and the musical numbers. It’s a great sound design for a film that could’ve been overlooked. But, your average ten year old girl probably won’t care, as long as the movie plays without skipping.
The DVD is pretty impressive for such a lacklustre film. Seven deleted scenes, two music videos, a director’s commentary and an army of featurettes flood the disc. The audio and video quality on these special features differs wildly, but everything is presented in a clear and pristine manner. It’s clear by the second music video or the seventh deleted scene that the film is nothing more than a cash-in on the toy brand. It’s just sad that we have to watch outtakes of Jon Voight losing his credibility while enduring this tripe.
Bratz is a film that dictates in glittery paint what’s wrong with youth-focused American pop culture. Everything is a step away from ADHD and McDonald’s tie-ins. There’s no story left for kids that can’t even stop texting long enough to read this review. So, in the spirit of kids with little-to-no detention span, I’ve decided to end this review by texting this last bit in from my Blackberry. LOL and all of that noise, avoid this disc.
Review by Troy Anderson
Some material may not be suitable for children
Release Date: 27th November 2007
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English and Spanish
Extras: 7 Deleted Scenes, 2 Music Videos, 12 Featurettes Covering the Production, Director's Commentary
Easter Egg: No
Director: Sean McNamara
Cast: Nathalia Ramos, Janel Parrish, Skyler Shaye, Logan Browning, Chelsea Staub, Lainie Kazan and Jon Voight
Length: 102 minutes