SRP $29.98 2.35:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 UNIVERSAL

UNIVERSAL has released the most expensive comedy production to date, "EVAN ALMIGHTY" on dvd and a HD-DVD Combo release.  Steve Carell stars in this follow-up to the superior predecessor, "BRUCE ALMIGHTY." While Carell's good, the script is mediocre at best. Perhaps if Carrey had been willing to come on board, it would've forced a better script to be developed. With the cost of this production, it's hard to figure out why his fee would've been too much. He did do that awful pile of crap, "#23," didn't he?

Anyway, the plot revolves around the newscaster being summoned by G-d, in the form of the always welcome, Morgan Freeman, to build an ark.  There are moments, especially early on, that are quite funny involving the grandiose responsibilities of the job at hand. However, there's just way too many needless scenes thrown in about the family and the sub-plot involving political corruption, is just plain dull.

UNIVERSAL has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for both formats with 1080p/VC-1 for hd-dvd and 16:9 enhancement for the dvd.  The HD-DVD image is more detailed than the dvd, however it doesn't have many scenes that pop off the screen with depth associated on many superior UNIVERSAL hd-dvd releases.  The blacks and grays are excellent on hd-dvd and impressive on dvd. Still, edge enhancement pops up on both formats, with the dvd also suffering from artifacts on occasion. It's a decent transfer, but not up there with the many better ones from UNIVERSAL in either format.

UNIVERSAL has provided a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix for the hd-dvd and Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the dvd.  Neither are the typical comedy mixes, with far more surround involvement than expected. The surround mix comes close, at times, to giving the film an "epic" quality! Animals and props surround the audience throughout virtually every scene. The score is good, though not memorable, and perfectly balanced with the effects and dialogue. The Plus 5.1 mix offers superior dynamic range over the standard dvd mix, however bass is equally good in both formats.

With the notable exception of high-def picture in picture commentary, all of the other extras are pretty much the same on both formats. There are numerous featurettes, needless deleted scenes and outtakes, and more.