Blades of Glory (2007)
Jimmy MacElroy: They're laughing at us!
Chazz Michael Michaels: Hey! They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was going to go to the moon. Now he's up there, laughing at them.- (Jon Heder, Will Ferrell)
Stars: Will Ferrell, Jon Heder
Other Stars: Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Craig T. Nelson, Jenna Fischer, William Fichtner, Nick Swardson, Romany Malco, Scott Hamilton, Jim Lampley, Andy Richter, William Daniels, Rémy Girard, Nancy Kerrigan, Dorothy Hamill, Brian Boitano, Peggy Fleming, Sasha Cohen, Luke Wilson
Director: Will Speck, Josh Gordon
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, a comic violent image and some drug references
Run Time: 01h:33m:10s
Release Date: 2007-08-28
DVD ReviewBlades of Glory isn't really doing anything new, where mismatched underdogs have to go against the odds at some big event in order to win. Here it's a pair of arch enemy male figure skaters who are banned from the sport after duking it out at the medal awards ceremony. A convenient loophole allows them to return to championship level figure skating only as a pairs team, forcing them to settle their differences, learn a potentially deadly new routine, withstand the taunts and go head-to-head with an incestuous brother-sister team.
Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) is skating's golden boy—known as "Little Orphan Awesome"—and is all frills and glitter, while Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) is "Sex on Ice", a brash, cocksure womanizer who oozes bravado and arrogance. He's the kind of guy who sees figure skater Nancy Kerrigan and says "You're an official? Because you've officially given me a boner." And what that means, at a most base level, is that Ferrell gets the bulk of the funny dialogue (dumb as it may be), with Heder more often than not playing straight man to a barrage of dim-witted macho swagger. Heder's Jimmy will get a line to Ferrell's Chazz like "You're getting fat", with the comeback line from Ferrell being "I see you still look like a fifteen-year-old girl, but not hot." Maybe not the world's wittiest banter, but that's what this is littered with. And some for reason it all works.
Co-directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon, whose only other claim to fame is the yet-unaired Caveman series, which is a shaky concept based entirely on characters from a television commercial. As their first big feature film, Speck and Gordon don't color outside the lines too much here, and pile on all of the expected levels of comedic conflict and resolution, often with a sharp eye to accurately lampoon the sport of world class figure skating. The costumes are gaudy, but never all that far from seeming potentially legit, even the overdone hip-hop ensemble worn by the villainous Van Waldenberg brother-sister team (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler). To further augment all of that, the film is sprinkled with cameos by some of the sport's big names (Kerrigan, Sasha Cohen, Scott Hamilton, Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming, Brian Boitano), as well as a great joke about Oksana Baiul.
There's a subplot about Jimmy's romance with the sweet Katie van Waldenburg (Jenna Fischer)—who at one point where's a fetching bit of lingerie—and the untoward advances of a demented "psycho fan", played by Nick Swardson doing a variation on his Terry character from Reno 911. For the obligatory training sequences, Craig T. Nelson is the tough-as-nails old school coach who wants the Jimmy/Chazz pair to build their performance around the dangerous and legendary Iron Lotus move, whose introduction is one of the movie's best visual gags.
I fall back on my tried and true rule of thumb for comedies: did it make me laugh? This one did, often and out loud. Even with Ferrell cranking out another of his outlandish oaf personas (Chazz could be Ron Burgundy's brother), Speck and Gordon keep this one appropriately lean, just topping the 90-minute mark. The sport of ice skating gets skewered with broad strokes, and I found it all to be quite funny.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Blades of Glory has been issued in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the transfer is exceptionally clean and pristine. Colors (especially during the skating sequences) appear bright and well-rendered throughout, balanced by natural fleshtones. Edge details are sharp and nicely defined, as well. No measurable edge enhancement in evidence.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
|English, French, Spanish||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: The principle audio option is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, yet the mix never really makes the most of its potential. It is a comedy, so perhaps my expectations were looking for more, but voice quality is clear though any other dramatic uses are kept in check. Rear channel usage is minimal, so there is never that full immersion to make the experience slightly more involving. Ditto for the sub channel, which remains dormant for long periods of time.
French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs are also included.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Bee Movie, Transformers, Shrek The 3rd
3 TV Spots/Teasers
4 Deleted Scenes
Extras Review: A fair amount of bonus material, though it's a case of most of it being somewhat generic. And that begins with the obligatory Return To Glory: The Making of Blades (14m:49s), full of the typical gladhanding comments about the cast and crew ("it's almost like they're working with one big brain") that we've all heard and seen before on countless DVDs.
Celebrities on Thin Ice (06m:06s) is one of the more interesting bits, with skating choreographer Sarah Kawahara discussing how she worked with the cast to give them the skillsets necessary to look like skaters, and the segment features behind-the-scenes footage of the actors skating in wire harnesses. Another fairly good one is Cooler Than Ice: The Super-Sexy Costumes of Skating (04m:39s) with costume designer Julie Weiss, and even though it straddles that heard-it-before territory, just by nature of the outlandish nature of the wardrobe (and it's basis on actual costumes) makes it merit a peek.
An uneventful Arnett and Poehler: A Family Affair (05m:51s) has the actors in their JFK/Marilyn skating costumes answering questions about their involvement and characters, and aside from an impromptu spanking, it's all rather mundane, as well. Moviefone Unscripted with Will Ferrell, Jon Heder and Will Arnett (09m:54s) is another hollow bit, with the three actors appearing as if they're forced at gunpoint to talk amongst themselves about the film.
Things pick up with a straightforward 20 Questions with Scott Hamilton (05m:01s), with the former skating gold medalist coming across pleasantly self-deprecating and likeable, much the same way he does when covering televised skating events. Hector: Portrait of a Psychofan (03m:24s) has Nick Swardson in character serving up an uncomfortably funny tribute to his favorite skater, which includes a disturbing personal memento.
There are four deleted scenes (09m:06s), two of which are quite good. One is a key moment that further explores the roots of the lifelong rivalry between Chazz and Jimmy that also provides a payoff to the whole Verticoli hairbrush setup featured in the film. Another fun one has psychofan Hector as sniper with really bad aim. A weak Gag Reel (02m:09s) is offset by a block of Alternate Takes (08m:40s) which turns out to be very funny, with things like Will Ferrell dishing out some other great comments to Nancy Kerrigan and Scott Hamilton.
The remaining supplements include a music video (04m:40s) by Bo Bice, a set of three promotional MTV interstitials (01m:40s) and three photo galleries, broken down into Kick Some Ice, Capture the Dream and Costume Glory categories.
The disc is cut into 12 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.
Extras Grade: B-
Final CommentsMaybe it's my secret shame of intensely enjoying Olympic figure skating that struck a nerve with me in Blades of Glory. It pokes very hard at the sport, mocking it with a spot-on absurdity, while Will Ferrell does yet another variation of his now familiar pompous and cocky buffoon.
Ridiculously dumb but very, very funny. Highly recommended.
Rich Rosell 2007-08-27