Blu-ray
Worth a Look
3 stars
List Price
$15.99
Amazon
$9.90 (38%)
3rd Party
$7.40
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»
Overall Grade
3 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
3.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
2.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
Supplements
2 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Worth a Look

Sweet Home Alabama: 10th Anniversary Edition

Street Date:
November 6th, 2012
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
November 20th, 2012
Movie Release Year:
2002
Studio:
Disney/Buena Vista
Length:
108 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

For being a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, 'Sweet Home Alabama' hits all the right notes. I remember dreading the thought of seeing the film with my girlfriend 10 years ago, but I actually found myself enjoying the experience about as much as I possibly could. I think the secret is the cast.

One other thing 'Sweet Home Alabama' has going for it: Things don't turn out how you'd expect. We follow a young woman named Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) who grew up in Alabama and later moved to New York to become a high powered player in the fashion world. She has neglected to tell her New York friends about her childhood in the deep south.

Melanie is on her way to creating her own line of clothing. Luckily, she has her friend Tabatha (the beautiful Rhona Mitra) to help her out along the way. After a big event, her boyfriend Andrew Hennings (Patrick Dempsey), a wealthy son of New York Mayor Kate Hennings (Candace Bergen) takes Melanie to Tiffany's Jewelry store in Manhattan and pops the big question.

Although Melanie is very excited to be engaged to the man of her dreams, she also has to deal with Andrew's mother, who doesn't like her. She also has to deal with things back in Alabama. Not only did Melanie change her name and southern ways when she moved to the city, she wasalso known for getting into trouble with the law quite a bit back home. Add to that, she married her high-school sweet heart, Jake Perry (Josh Lucas) right out of high-school, then left him a short time later, but never finalized the divorce.

Now, Melanie must travel back to the slower paced life of Alabama to take care of her issues before her marriage to Andrew, which includes getting her first husband to sign divorce papers. In the process, she crosses paths with her parents, as well as other friends from her past. Hilarity ensues.

In addition to the cast I've already mentioned, Ethan Embry, Melanie Lynskey, Jean Smart, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Mary Kay Place, Fred Ward, and Courtney Gaines round out the supporting player, and everybody does a great job. The twists and turns help 'Sweet Home Alabama' stand out in the genre, and the film still holds up today.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

The 10th anniversary of 'Sweet Home Alabama' has received a sub-par video presentation. The film comes in a 2:35.1 aspect ratio and presented in 1080p.

I expected this to be a bit better, but there is consistent noise throughout the film. It's not constant, but it will appear in one scene, then it will be gone the next, then it will re-appear. I didn't understand why this was happening, because the source material seemed perfect, but nonetheless, it's there, and it is annoying.

Most of the image is soft as well, but that was likely a creative choice. The detail is great with the skin tones natural and smooth. The blacks are deep and inly and the colors are vivid and bright. I love the different color-scapes from the bright colors of the country to the darker colors used in the big city. This video presentation could have and should have been much better.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

'Sweet Home Alabama' comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix and sounds impressive for being a romantic comedy.

No, there isn't a lot of bass, and the rears are not used a whole lot, but let's face it, you're not watching 'Sweet Home Alabama' for the raging bass and sound. That being said, the dialogue is crystal clear and centered on the center channel. There was no evidence of hissing or scratches.

The ambient noise, when it was available sounded good and clear on the surrounds, whether it was bugs and farm sounds in the country, or loud traffic and people talking in the big city. The score and music sound great and never drown out the dialogue. Even the song 'Sweet Home Alabama' boasts proudly through the speakers. I think the only bass I heard was from the two storm sequences, other than that, no bass. A solid romantic comedy audio presentation.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • Commentary with Director Andy Tennant - Director Andy Tennant provides a fun commentary on his film. There are plenty of funny anecdotes and stories about the actors and sets. He and the rest of the cast clearly had a good time making this and it shows. He talks a great deal about scenes he cut and his favorite moments, as well as how cold it was during most of the shoot. Decent commentary if you're a fan of the film.
  • Off the Cutting Room Floor"/Deleted Scenes (SD, 18 mins) - There are a total of eight deleted scenes, all of which are introduced by Tennant. He tells us why he eventually cut them. None of them are particularly interesting, but one character and storyline was completely eliminated.
  • Alternate Ending (SD, 3 mins) - Here is the film's original ending with an intro by Tennant explaining his decision to go with the ending we're all familiar with.
  • Mine All Mine" Music Video (SD, 4 mins) - Here is the song by SheDaisy, which is the song from the film. There is no need to ever watch this.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD exclusives.

Final Thoughts

I can't believe it has been ten years since this film came out. For being a run-of-the-mill rom-com, 'Sweet Home Alabama' offers a good story with fun characters, and it still holds up after ten years. The video presentation is something less than desired, but the audio was decent, and the extras, while not in HD, were mostly fun. I'm surprised there wasn't a gag-reel with this release. This is worth a look, because it's still one of the better romantic comedies, and it has a great cast.

Technical Specs

  • 50GB Blu-ray Disc

Video Resolution/Codec

  • "1080p"/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 2.35:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Thai: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English
  • Mandarin
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Indonesian
  • Korean
  • Malay

Supplements

  • Commentary with Director Andy Tennant
  • Off the Cutting Room Floor"/Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Ending
  • Mine All Mine" Music Video

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.

List Price
$15.99
Amazon
$9.90 (38%)
3rd Party
$7.40
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»

Related reviews