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September 15, 2011
Dazed and Confused Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
27/5/199427/7/2011UniversalRichard Linklater
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MAdam Goldberg

THE MOVIE
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Richard Linklater's Dazed & Confused has become a cult classic.

Generally I love teen comedies, and I've seen a hell of a lot of them over the years, but for one reason or another I've never watched the 1993 comedy Dazed and Confused in its entirety. Making this even more surprising is the near "cult" status which the film now holds, and the stellar cast which includes Adam Goldberg, Matthew McConaughey, Marissa Ribisi, Milla Jovavich and Ben Affleck. Admittedly many had smallish roles, but it's a great cast.

It's the last day of school before summer vacation - 1976. It's been three years since Watergate, oil prices have hit an all-time high and the sixties are well and truly over. Fortunately there are quick fixes for everything that bothers you at seventeen. Sex is still safe; drugs are not dangerous yet and booze is just having fun. And the music, well, the music just keeps getting higher and higher...

Hmmm... I honestly don't know. Looking at IMDB this movie astounded me with a 7.6/10 rating and I just can't figure out why. Sure it has a great cast with many of the actors now household names, but it lacked a little something to make it special. Few characters are truly memorable. There isn't really much of story and it just seems to revolve around kids getting drunk and smoking weed. At least movies like Animal House, American Pie and Superbad had a bit of a storyline as well - well perhaps not Superbad so much.

To be honest I was a little let down by Dazed and Confused. It simply wasn't the hilarious movie I expected - perhaps that was much of the problem - isn't hilarious, and just falls flat for the most part. Still it's not terrible, but just barely passable in my book.

VIDEO
Dazed and Confused is presented on Blu-Ray in the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. Generally this catalogue release, which we must point out has been released on Blu-Ray for only $AU15, but we've seen it under $10, is an improvement over the DVD release with the 1080p resolution, but it's not overly clean, vibrant or exciting to look at.

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Looking Cool, and checking out the chicks.

Indeed, there are some shots that seem to lack sharpness including the one looking over the city lights at 1:12:17. It may be a fault of the source material, but does drag the overall quality down. There's plenty of black crush and lack of vibrancy to colours so don't expect a reference quality transfer - you won't get one here.

AUDIO
This disc includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) English track and despite the film being almost 20 years old the audio is fairly impressive overall. Surround sound channels are used frequently for music, dialogue and effects while the soundtrack in the film, which includes Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top and Black Sabbath among others, is certainly a highlight. I wouldn't call this anywhere near a reference quality disc, but there's no doubt you've never heard this film sounding better.

The only other audio track is a French DTS 2.0 channel track encoded at 384kbps. It certainly lacks the fidelity of the lossless English track. Subtitles are provided in English SDH, Spanish and French. We sampled the English track which was accurate to the dialogue and music in the sections we checked out.

There are three other tracks on this disc, all encoded with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. These are German, Spanish and Italian and the dubbing is a little questionable in quality, but not unexpected for such and old film. Subtitles are provided in German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Danish however somewhat disappointingly there is no English subtitle track on this disc.

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Dazed & Confused is out now on Blu-Ray.
EXTRAS
There are only a couple of extras on the Dazed and Confused Blu-Ray from Universal and there's isn't much quality here either.

Deleted Scenes (14:27): Nine deleted scenes are presented in pretty poor quality Standard Definition in 4:3 cropped aspect ratio. It's nice to have them as there is some decent content here that could have remained in the film.

The Blunt Truth (4:21): This is a short fake documentary about weed. Despite the amount of use in the film I'm not quite sure how this fits into the release.

Retro Public Service Announcements (2:03): Two short public service announcements. Pretty pointless.

U-Control (HD): Finally Universal's somewhat awkward U- Control makes an appearance on this disc. On this disc it allows you to see the details of the songs that play throughout the film.

OVERALL
Dazed and Confused didn't impress me as much as I expected, or hoped. Still it has a large fan base and is regarded as a cult classic now so I'm sure many will be keen to check this out. Fortunately the transfer is solid enough and at a cheap price fans should consider the upgrade from DVD.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
6/10
THE VIDEO
7/10
THE AUDIO
8/10
THE EXTRAS
2/10
OVERALL
5.5/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Universal. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.