Never having been a fan of Director Richard Linklater’s work(hated “DAZED AND CONFUSED”), and not finding anything special about Jack Black’s talent, this reviewer didn’t expect much from their collaboration, “SCHOOL OF ROCK,” just released on dvd by PARAMOUNT. Having said that, Black is terrific in the film as somewhat of a dolt, posing as a substitute teacher at an elite prep school. Writer Mike White has already displayed a talent for great dialogue and unpredictable moments with “GOOD GIRL”, and there are many surprises in a film whose trailer looks predictable. Still, the film’s finale ends up saddeningly succumbing to a predictable conclusion. But, even a disappointing finish can’t negate the often hilarious, refreshing two acts that preceded it. Once in a while, a film comes that actually allows its main star to branch out and display previously unseen talent. “SCHOOL OF ROCK” does this for Black. After seeing what he was able to do with good material, I’m actually looking forward to his next film, whatever it is!
PARAMOUNT has preserved the film’s 1.85:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9 enhancement. Colors are solid throughout. While the film’s design doesn’t call for a lush, vibrant color scheme, they’re always on the mark, and there’s excellent detail in every instance. The contrast is also great, with deep blacks and grays. Fleshtones appear natural.
PARAMOUNT has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for this release. Due to its subject matter, the “quality” of the sound is crucial, and PARAMOUNT has succeeded here. While discrete rear effects are generally not essential or even helpful for most comedies, they’re used effectively here. Whenever music is presented, the surround mix kicks in to full and powerful gear, offering outstanding separation and a fun .1 LFE track. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion. PARAMOUNT has included numerous extras on this special edition. There are two commentaries. One offers Black and Director Linklater, discussing the film’s overall development and production. Insightful for aspiring filmmakers, and entertaining. A 2nd commentary with many of the film’s kids is actually much more entertaining than one would expect, and worth a listen. “LESSSONS LEARNED ON SCHOOL OF ROCK” is a featurette that offers some funny moments in this ode to Black’s performance. “PITCH TO LED ZEPPELIN” is the best extra offered. Black, honestly trying to persuade the band to allow the use of “Immigrant Song”, pitches with sincerity and humor why it would be a great idea. He got approval from the typically non-friendly band. “MTV’S DIARY OF JACK BLACK” is a brief but hilarious look at Black in the course of a 24 hour period. “KID’S VIDEO DIARY” is a short view of the kids enjoying the screening of their film at a film festival. Several trailers are also included