Posted in Disc Reviews by Joshua Noyes
Two guys who were used to drinking beer for fun suddenly become fierce competitors in the “Beer Drinking Olympics” in Germany. Todd Wolfhouse (Erik Stolhanske) and his brother Jan (Paul Soter) are from a German-American family but have never visited the Old Country until their grandfather dies and they fly to Germany to scatter his ashes. Todd and Jan arrive during the annual Oktoberfest celebration and accidentally discover a secret competition, “Beerfest,” in which the world’s leading beer guzzlers determine who ca… handle the most brew during several days of heated drinking games. Todd and Jan are no lightweights when it comes to downing brew and offer to compete, but the German branch of the family, the Von Wolfhausens, hesitate at their desire to enter the contest and inform them no mere Americans stand a chance winning the Beerfest honors. Determined to prove Americans can drink beer with the best of them, Todd and Jan bring their drinking buddies to Germany to defend America;s honor and prove to their German relatives that they too can drink as well as anybody.
For this transfer Warner Brothers went with a VC-1 encode for the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Considering the age of this film, I expected a better video quality then what we receive; especially since this was in VC-1, 30GB disc. I felt this transfer was very inconsistent and ranged from very sharp to almost out of focus. However my biggest complaint was with the color accuracy. It almost seems as though the reds, greens and blues were artificially enhanced and over saturated. I am not sure why WB did this, but they did. I also felt skin tones looked a bit artificial – almost too red in many scenes.
For audio I listened using the Dolby Digital-Plus option. I actually felt the audio was decent on this disc. It was powerful at times and made good use of the center channel in a 5.1/7.1 surround system. This made the dialog very easy to understand and distinguish. My one complaint with the audio is that I wish it made better use of the surrounds. During some of the scenes where there was an audience cheering people on, it almost seems a bit flat and lacked a bit of liveliness.
Warner Brothers has included the following extras on this HD DVD release:
- Audio Commentary – Two commentary tracks including Director and members of the Broken Lizard crew.
- Deleted Scenes – Thirty minutes of deleted footage, that offers a few additional laughs. Fans of the film will definitely enjoy this extra footage.
- Party Foul – It is clear these guys have a good chemistry with each other as they give a funny look back at past drunken binges.
- Beer 101 – A historical look at the famous beverage told by the Broken Lizard team.
- Frog Fluffer – Viewers of the film already know what the “frog scene” is. This is a short discussion with real life scientist on the subject matter.
- Theatrical Trailer
All in all, I felt this film was a mindless comedy and I did find myself laughing from time to time. I am not sure if it will ever take on “cult” status like, let’s say, Austin Powers did, but it will always fill a niche. I did not find this film to be a big enough improvement over its DVD counterpart and cannot recommend spending the additional dollars it would cost to upgrade to this on HD DVD. Unless you are a big fan of this film, please rent it only.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Party Foul
- Beer 101
- Frog Fluffer
- Theatrical Trailer