Kevin Smith has proven an ability to write some great dialogue, eg. "CHASING AMY," however, even that film showed what is arguably less impressive directing skills. He often chooses the absolute worst place to put a camera. "DOGMA" offers a better skilled director, not better dialogue, or even as good dialogue as he's achieved in earlier films. Attacking the "dogma" of the Roman Catholic church and organized religion as a whole, Smith deserves credit for not being afraid to push the envelope. Still, that alone, doesn't mean what he's created is guaranteed to be great or even good. There is a lot in "DOGMA" that's funny and creative. But, nothing there's a lot that's just plain irritating. To begin with, this critic admits to hating Linda Florentino, so casting her in the big role she has here, is certain to bother many. This woman isn't much of an actress, just someone with limited facial characteristics and even more limited acting ability. She always looks like she just ate a bad grapefruit! The supporting cast, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, George Carlin and Chris Rock, are great. But, casting Alanis Morrisette???As "g-d?" It doesn't feel daring, just kind of silly, uninspired and not even a good idea.
Carlin plays a Cardinal, who in trying to bring in more parishioners, promises that anyone entering the doors to the church he's re-dedicating, gets instant salvation, meaning entrance into heaven. When cast out angels, Damon and Affleck find this out, they take advantage of this crack in the armor and enter. This act causes the world now and hereafter to face irreparable harm, as a mistake like this, if left to exist, would mean god is able to make mistakes and the foundations of everything existing could topple forever. While this idea is creative, there are many subplots that aren't and weigh the film down. Chris Rock is great, Salma Hayek is awful. It's that kind of film.
SONY has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this release, with 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encoding. It's notably better than the previous dvd releases. However, colors aren't nearly as vibrant as one would wish. Contrast, while improved over the dvd, still lacks the deep blacks and grays, provided on many superior SONY blu-ray releases. This seems to be related to the source material rather than the transfer itself. This and other earlier films by Smith lacked great depth and composition in theaters. There are very few scenes that offer the "pop off the screen" type of depth. Still, it's better than the film has ever looked before!
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. Smith didn't seem to pay as much attention to the soundmix here as he did with his later films. Separation is limited to front speakers for the majority of the film, and even with TrueHD, the dynamic range is limited. Surrounds kick in occasionally, but never smoothly, feeling forced, rather than necessary. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
Two audio commentaries from the dvds are included herein. There's a serious commentary and one that's actually funnier than the film, both with Smith and others.
Nearly two hours of deleted scenes, a trailer and a blooper reel, make this a must have for any of Smith's fans.