Blu-ray
One to Avoid
2.5 stars
List Price
$14.99
Amazon
$9.99 (33%)
3rd Party
$4.13
Usually ships in 2 to 4 weeks Buy Now»
Overall Grade
2.5 stars

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

The Movie Itself
0.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
3.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
Supplements
1 Stars
High-Def Extras
1.5 Stars
Bottom Line
One to Avoid

Disaster Movie

Street Date:
January 6th, 2009
Reviewed by:
Peter Bracke
Review Date: 1
January 8th, 2009
Movie Release Year:
2008
Studio:
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Length:
88 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

A note to filmmakers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. I'm sure you're both nice dudes, but please god, if you love movies, stop making them. 'Disaster Movie' is yet another effort from the pair of spoof-hacks behind 'Date Movie,' 'Epic Movie' and 'Meet the Spartans,' that's supposed to be a hilarious parody of disaster flicks. But it can barely do that -- it's simply a string of lame pop culture riffs that have little or no connection to each other. Did anyone even bother to write a script?

I can't recap the plot because there isn't one. The basic concept is that a group of friends must rush to a museum to save a friend. I guess it's a set-up that's sorta supposed to be like 'Cloverfield' meets 'Night at the Museum,' though neither is really a disaster flick. Anyway, what comes next is an avalanche of scenes spoofing at least three dozen flicks, ranging from 'Indiana Jones,' '10,000 B.C.,' and 'No Country for Old Men,' to 'Superbad,' 'The Dark Knight' and 'Juno.' Any actual real disaster movie parodies are few and far between -- it's just a bunch of unrelated gags mushed together.

Some may say that such a lack of narrative coherence shouldn't be a problem in a movie like this, but I disagree. Think back to 'Airplane!', and one of the reasons that movie worked so well was because it actually did have identifiable (however over-the-top) characters and situations that told a story. It's gags remain memorable today because we truly did care about what happened. 'Disaster Movie' is the worst kind of cinematic ineptitude. It's not smart, it's not funny, and it doesn't even bother to try.

Is there anything funny here? Like even the worst of these spoof movies, occasionally a target is hit. I chuckled about three times, including a dig a Hannah Montana, an Alvin and the Chipmunks heavy metal nod, and a couple of Juno jokes. But that's about five lines out of the 500 in the movie -- an accuracy rating of, oh, about 2 percent. (Because it's not absolutely zero, for that reason alone I'm giving the movie a half-star.)

The fact that 'Disaster Movie' grossed under $15 million at the domestic box office proves that audiences may finally be getting wise to the Friedberg/Seltzer machine of unfunny cinematic comedy. This film is simply lazy, uninspired and slapdash, and deserved to be kicked to the dustbin. I hate being so negative about any movie, but quite frankly this 'Disaster' has next to nothing to recommend it.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Lionsgate presented 'Disaster Movie' in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 video (at 1.78:1). The transfer isn't the disaster that the movie is, but it's also fairly generic high-def video.

The source is a bit spotty, with some of the parodies looking noticeably worse than others. The opening is the worst, with a flat and soft appearance. Most of the rest of the movie looks better, with better blacks and generally good depth. Contrast tends to run hot, which obscures the finest details. The transfer is relatively sharp throughout, however. Colors are average, with decent fleshtones. There are no major artifacts, though solid patches can look noisy and I noticed a few instances of motion jaggies.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

Yes, 'Disaster Movie' really does get a DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 7.1 Surround track (48kHz/24-bit). The movie hardly needs it, yet I can't deny this track sounds better than I expected.

This is certainly a loud mix. I was surprised at how active the surrounds are, with heavy discrete effects and an over-done score (apparently, it's supposed to add to the humor if everything is pumped up to 11?). Dynamic range is quite bright and pronounced, and low bass is quite heavy. Dialogue is well-recorded, and surprisingly isn't drowned out by the din. As for the 7.1, 'Disaster Movie' doesn't offer more than a few zippy discrete effects, but they pan seamlessly and the rear soundstage is almost always present. A movie this bad couldn't ask for a better soundtrack.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

There's certainly an abundance of featurettes on the disc, though whether you will actually want to watch them after seeing the movie is up to up. Video materials are in full 1080i video, and subtitle options are the same as the main feature.

  • Featurette: "Straight From the Ladies" (HD, 4 minutes) - Things kick off with this improv, featuring Crista Flanagan and Nicole Parker in character.
  • Featurette: "G-Thang’s Tour/Sitting Down with a Stand-Up" (HD, 18 minutes) - In the first rambling piece (11 minutes), G-Thang gives us a tour of the set, and stops by to chat with various cast and crew. In the second (7 minutes), he seriously babbles on about nothing at all in particular.
  • Featurette: "This Is How We Do It" (HD, 9 minutes) - This is the first featurette I've seen with its own pop-up trivia track. Filmed on the last day of the shoot, the actors riff un-funnily while facts pop-up on the screen.
  • Featurette: "Who’s Spoofing Who?" (HD, 5 minutes) - This could have been fun -- the cast talking about the reactions they've received from the famous actors they've spoofed -- but none of the stories are particularly memorable, or funny.
  • Sing-Alongs (HD, 9 minutes) - Finally, there are two provided, for the "I'm [email protected]#$% Matt Damon" (4 minutes) and "High School Musical" (4 minutes) numbers.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

As if it needed it, 'Disaster Movie' comes with a couple of exclusives.

  • Picture-in-Picture - This video commentary features filmmakers Aaron Seltzer & Jason Friedberg, producer Kenny Yates, and actors Vanessa Minnillo, Gary G-Thang Johnson, and Matt Lanter. It's about as substance-free as the movie. All the participants mostly do is laugh along with the crappy movie they made, which I suppose is an accomplishment of some kind. (Note that an audio-only version of this track is included on the standard DVD.)
  • MoLog - Lionsgate's nifty BD-Live feature allows you to watch the movie as little text areas pop up, you can type in your own comments and watch the flick with others online. Too bad I'd never want to watch 'Disaster Movie' ever again, with anybody.

Final Thoughts

'Disaster Movie' is just that -- a disaster. I can't believe they keep making these dreadful spoofs, and audiences actually pay to see them. This Blu-ray is fine -- good video, loud audio and some extras -- but I can't imagine anyone actually wanting to see this movie. You've been warned.

Technical Specs

  • Blu-ray
  • BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc
  • Bonus View (Profile 1.1)
  • BD-Live (Profile 2.0)

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.85:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 7.1 Surround

Subtitles/Captions

  • English Subtitles
  • Spanish Subtitles

Supplements

  • Featurettes
  • Sing-Alongs

Exclusive HD Content

  • Picture-in-Picture
  • MoLog
List Price
$14.99
Amazon
$9.99 (33%)
3rd Party
$4.13
Usually ships in 2 to 4 weeks Buy Now»

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