Dazed and Confused (1993)

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Released 14-Apr-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 98:00
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (44:02) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Richard Linklater
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Jason London
Joey Lauren Adams
Milla Jovovich
Shawn Andrews
Rory Cochrane
Adam Goldberg
Anthony Rapp
Sasha Jenson
Marissa Ribisi
Deena Martin
Wiley Wiggins
Ben Affleck
Matthew McConaughey
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Dutch
Swedish
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Hebrew
Arabic
Russian
Turkish
Greek
Smoking Yes, Significant tobacco and drug use
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Dazed and Confused tells the story of two groups of American school students over the course of a single momentous day - the final day of the school year. The two groups are destined to meet - the first group are just finishing their last day at Junior High, and the second group are about to enter their final year at High School. Apparently, this gives the soon-to-be "Seniors" the right to humiliate and physically beat the soon-to-be "Freshmen".

   Set in 1976, on May 28th to be precise, the film is replete with long hair, flared jeans, David Soul style specs and revolting shirts. Unsurprisingly, given the title, alcohol and marijuana play a significant supporting role. The plot tracks the youngsters as they try and evade the older bullies, who are also busy trying and "get it on" with the hip chicks.

    There is very little character development, and the story goes nowhere in particular, meandering through the day as Freshmen are chased, hippy girls are chaste, and "doobies" aplenty are smoked. The cast contains some future stars, with a chunky Ben Affleck playing the bully Fred O'Bannion who has been held back a year, Milla Jovovich looking beautiful as always, and Matthew McConaughey as the former student who is unable to let go of these juvenile high school traditions. For my money, the best performance by far is given by Mitch (the hilariously named Wiley Wiggins), who is utterly believable as the wide-eyed Freshman, taken under the wing of Randall "Pink" Floyd (well acted by Jason London). Randall is a star quarterback and is the centre of a slight sub-plot, concerning the pressure from Coach Conrad (Terry Mross) to sign a "pledge" not to use alcohol or drugs during the upcoming football season.

    Producer, writer and director Richard Linklater seems content to reflect "how it was" for a generation of American teenagers, rather than making any particular statement about what it all meant. He achieves this purpose, in that the period feel is quite well evoked. While many of the traditions say nothing personal to me, I can believe that they were typical of that time and place. Dazed and Confused is atmospheric no doubt, but it is a shame that there wasn't more of a point to the movie - a wasted opportunity. The film feels like an extended episode of the television series "That '70s Show", without the witty script, quality of acting or level of humour.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc is good. The video is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    Given its age, the film is quite sharp, with no major grain issues. Blacks are solid and deep with no low-level noise evident.

    Colours are generally clean and clear, albeit with a slightly cold tone at times. Given the period setting for the film, there are plenty of colourful shirts amongst the endless sea of blue jeans. Skin tones look natural and there is no evidence of colour bleed.

    The transfer has very few MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts are minor and not distracting unless you look quite hard. Aliasing can be seen on the usual suspects of car chrome and Venetian blinds (for example at 39:05). Edge enhancement is never a problem.

    Film artefacts are quite common, with specks briefly appearing on screen, but they were not too distracting.

    There are eight subtitle tracks. On watching the English subtitles it is noticeable that they do not follow the dialogue verbatim, often missing minor dialogue - and sometimes more substantial phrases. Generally they suffice.

    This is an RDSL disc with the layer change present at 44:02, which causes a slight pause, but is quite well placed at a scene transition.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is good with no major audio defects noted.

    The main audio is a funky Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in English recorded at 448 kbps. Additionally, there are French, German, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks available, recorded at 384 kbps. Listening to the main English soundtrack the dialogue was almost always clear - with only a couple of minor issues related to characters either shouting ("Air Raid!" during the female hazing scene) or slurring due to the effects of intoxication. Audio sync was only noted to be a minor issue on two occasions at 8:41 and 11:01.

    The music is certainly a highlight of the movie, with a rocking soundtrack contributing immeasurably to the 70s feel. The tunes have been very well selected to match the on-screen action and provide a great prop for the thin plot. The golden oldies include tracks by Bob Dylan, Deep Purple, War, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper. The soundtrack is available spread across two CDs and for fans of the movie they would probably make a worthwhile purchase.

    The surround channels were highly active thanks to the frequent rock numbers and an enveloping soundstage is present through much of the movie - particularly when the music is playing.

    The subwoofer was heavily used for the rock tracks and occasionally for low-frequency effects such as during the baseball scene at 31:00.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is a brightly coloured animated title featuring small clips from the film, with a short looped music sample in Dolby Digital 2.0. It allows the selection of audio languages, subtitles, or your choice of twenty chapter stops.

Trailer

    A short 2:03 theatrical trailer for the movie, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack recorded at 192 kbps.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 DVD of this movie misses out on:

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    Based on the superior Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and the anamorphic enhancement, the Region 4 disc would appear to be the better choice.

Post Script: a reader of this review informs me that the Region 1 DVD, despite what it says on the cover, contains neither Production Notes nor Biographies.

Summary

    Dazed and Confused is a mildly entertaining movie, with some humour and a lot of teenage drug use and swearing. The soundtrack is very good if you are a fan of 1970s rock music, but the story does little other than hold up a mirror to a day in the life of 1976 American teenagers. Its relevance to present-day Australians is probably limited.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good, with a great rock soundtrack.

    There are no real extras to speak of.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Friday, April 25, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationONKYO TX-DS484
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
Speak for yourself -
good stuff - Johnny Wadd (i am bionic)
R1 Criterion 2 Disc now available - rob_da_bank (I'm not ready for a bio Lois)