Tucker and Dale vs Evil (UK - BD RB)
Chris takes a quick look at the Blu-ray release of this recent comedic-horror...
Get ready for a wild ride into the woods in this hilariously gory comedy which does for killer rednecks what 'Shaun of the Dead' did for zombies. Tucker (Alan Tudyk - Dodgeball) and Dale (Tyler Labine - TV's Reaper), are two best friends who are taking a break at their dilapidated mountain house. However, their peace is soon disturbed by the arrival of a group of obnoxious college kids. When one of the students (Katrina Bowden - Sex Drive), gets separated from her friends, the boys try to lend a hand, only to be mistaken for a pair of murderous backwoods hillbillies intent on killing everything in their path! As they try to put things right, the misunderstanding grows, as does the body count… (from the Sony synopsis)
From what I’ve been able to learn Tucker and Dale was apparently shot on Red One cameras and as such it is furnished with a pleasing 2:35:1 widescreen transfer (1080/50i AVC). Yes, that’s right, this is an interlaced effort. Now one assumes that the original shooting method was 24p, so it’s curious that Sony has chosen to deliver it in this format. I suppose it could be because they had access to a master prepared for HDTV broadcast, but again I’m working on assumption when I say this. In any event the disc still manages to impress visually, with a relatively detailed transfer that presents strong, natural colours and fairly decent black levels. There's no getting away from the fact that it looks very much like a digital feature, but that's not not a criticism and it results in a blemish-free effort. If I had to niggle I'd say that I perhaps found the image a tad too bright overall, but this could just as easily be attributed to the film-makers' intentions as anything else. I was also expecting it to look a little sharper given the shooting method, but the image is actually quite soft in places, although again this isn't really a criticism, more of an observation. Tucker and Dale isn't the best looking disc in the world, but it's pretty good given its limited production budget.
A DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is the order of the day here. As previously mentioned this disc is interlaced and as such it runs slightly faster than a standard feature film. This has the unfortunate side-effect of speeding up and altering the pitch of the actors' voices. Ordinarily it would bug the hell out of me when watching a film I'm intimately familiar with, but without a basis for comparison I wasn't hugely bothered by it when watching Tucker and Dale (your mileage may vary). In fact, I was actually pretty happy with the track, which delivers strong dialogue reproduction and a dynamic, engaging multi-channel experience that takes full advantage of the setting. Atmospherics are neat, as birds squawk off in the distance and insects chirp in the undergrowth, while the livelier scenes are full of over-the-top effects such swarming bees and ricocheting bullets. Bass is also potent when called upon, lending satisfying weight to the many impalements, explosions, and even the score. Speaking of which, the score is a mix of traditional horror music and harmonica and banjo heavy tunes, which is fun in a Dukes of Hazard sort of way and adds to the quirky charm.
The bonus material consists of a short (twelve minute) making of featurette, a trailer and a photo gallery. To be honest I wasn’t really expecting much in the way of extras, so while they’re unimpressive I have to at least give some credit for their very presence.
Tucker and Dale is a sporadically entertaining, goofy movie that should appeal to the after pub crowd and those with a pre-existing fondness for this sort of thing. Both Tudyk and Labine are likeable in their roles, there’s some decent eye candy in the form of Katrina Bowden, and there are a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments, but comparisons to films like Shaun of the Dead are really overstating the film’s quality. Technically the disc is a mixed bag. Visually it’s pretty good, if not great, but the whole speed-up issue could annoy those more familiar with the film than I am and it shouldn't be a factor on a modern release. With that said, the Master Audio track is still quite pleasing. I’m sure I’m not doing my indie cred any good, but as much as I enjoyed parts of the film I can’t envisage watching it again anytime soon. Perhaps worth a rental, but not a blind buy.
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Chris Gould
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 26th September 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Extras: Making of, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Eli Craig
Cast: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Christie Laing, Chelan Simmons, Travis Nelson, Alex Arsenault, Adam Beauchesne, Brandon Jay McLaren, Philip Granger
Genre: Comedy and Horror
Length: 85 minutes
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