Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (2006)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 19-Jun-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer
dts Trailer
Audio Commentary-Jack Black & Kyle Gass
Audio Commentary-Liam Lynch (Director)
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-In The Studio
Featurette-Making of the Music Video
Music Video-The Pick of Destiny
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 90:12
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Liam Lynch
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jack Black
Kyle Gass
Jason Reed
Ronnie James Dio
Troy Gentile
Paul F. Tompkins
Ned Bellamy
Fred Armisen
Kirk Ward
Amy Poehler
Tim Robbins
David Grohl
Ben Stiller
Case ?
RPI ? Music Andrew Gross
John King


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English dts 6.1 ES Matrix (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, a few brand names.
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Tenacious D first gained popularity in Australia via their radio hit, Tribute, from their debut album. In the US, however, they rose to cult status years earlier with their HBO television show; a hilarious series of musical skits about two acoustic guitar-wielding, overweight rockers with aspirations far beyond their local open-mic contest. The HBO series found its way to DVD eventually, but there was always talk of a film. It was a long wait, but for fans of The D, The Pick of Destiny encapsulates all that is entertaining about the duo. Familiar characters return and everything is cranked up a notch or two. Great special effects, endless cameos and a seriously rocking soundtrack make this a very worthwhile comedy, whether you're a fan of The D or not.

    The first five minutes of The Pick of Destiny is purely musical and would easily be among my favorite scenes in a film, ever. We're introduced to a young JB; a round, heavy metal-loving peg in a very religious square hole. His Dad (Meat Loaf) rules with a firm hand and reaches the end of his tether when JB performs a profane ditty at the dinner table. His father reacts by tearing his bedroom apart, ripping posters off the walls and slamming the door behind him, revealing a Ronnie James Dio poster on the back of the door, which he missed in his rage. JB pleads to the picture, asking Dio to point the way and show him some direction in his life. The poster comes alive and in a typically intense performance, Dio tells JB to head for Hollywood.

    The basic premise of the film is to relay the story of how JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass) met and became friends. Soon after arriving in California, JB walks along Venice Beach and spots a busker with amazing guitar skills. His attempts to make contact are rudely shunned, but the guitarist does introduce himself as KG, a prominent musician who is currently taking auditions for his band, the Kyle Gass Project. He later agrees to give JB an audition on the condition he moves into his apartment as a live-in cleaner, but KG's fraudulent claims are soon exposed. It's true, the duo do have chemistry, so they settle on a name for their outfit with an aim to write music good enough to pay their rent.

    Coming up with good tunes is a struggle, and they turn to music magazines to find what it is that makes the greats so great. Led Zeppelin, The Who, AC/DC; what set them apart from the others? Comparing photos of the bands, they discover each guitarist is holding a similar green pick in his hand, so they venture to the local guitar shop to investigate. The salesman (Ben Stiller) reveals that they have uncovered an ancient secret; the pick was in fact fashioned from one of Satan's broken teeth and gives the user supra-natural abilities. Apparently, the pick was last held by Angus Young and now resides in the Rock and Roll History Museum- an impenetrable fortress laden with priceless memorabilia. Armed with nothing but their wits, the pair set off to steal the demonic pick for a chance at stardom.

    It's inevitable that musical comedies will be compared with Spinal Tap, but there is much more at play here. Through their journey we 'feel the love' as Director Liam Lynch puts it, and we grow to appreciate the bond these two guys have. The Pick of Destiny has as much heart as it does laughs, which I feel serves to make the humorous moments even more hilarious.

    While I do love the film a lot and have viewed it many times, I do feel that it is let down by numerous, unnecessary 'homages' to other films, which amount to pretty cheap gags (that is not to say that the numerous fart gags aren't cheap). A Clockwork Orange, Entrapment, Karate Kid, Kung Fu, the list of lampooned films goes on. I was also disappointed to find their Rocket Sauce had not found a place in the film- although it is mentioned in the lyrics of the closing song, Beelzeboss. These slight disappointments aside, the film is certain to be riotous fun for any fan of The D's music.

    Watch out for fantastic cameos from Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) as Satan, who also performed drums on the soundtrack, as well as Tim Robbins (Shawshank Redemption) and Colin Hanks (King Kong).

    Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny is a fantastic comedy, with some highly imaginative direction by Liam Lynch, and it is certainly worth your time.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer maintains the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.

    The image is as clear and sharp as you would expect for such a recent production. Black levels are deep and solid, with appreciable detail in dimly-lit, shadowy scenes. The major limiting factor in the video transfer is the high degree of video compression that has been applied. MPEG compression artefacting is consistently visible throughout, particularly on a large screen. From pixelated noise on walls and any expanse of a single colour, to fully-blown macro blocking in dissolves and scenes with a great deal of movement, it is abundantly clear we have paid the price for such a luxurious array of soundtrack options. You may be surprised to learn that all ninety minutes of the film, along with the five accompanying soundtracks, have been crammed onto a single layer of the DVD9 formatted disc.

    The colour scheme is generally bold and realistic, while exceptionally bright, colourful scenes such as the psychedelic Sasquatch trip are very well handled. I did note that facial complexions seemed much too rosy in some scenes.

    A very slight degree of film grain is visible at times, consistent with my memories of experiencing the film at my local cinema. Film artefacts such as specs of dust and dirt are rare, very tiny and inconsequential.

    Three English subtitle streams are included. The feature subtitles are geared towards the hard of hearing and transcribe song lyrics as well as spoken dialogue. An English stream is also included for each of the audio commentaries.

    As I mentioned above, the disc is dual layered (DVD9 formatted), however there is no layer break present during the feature.

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

Audio

    This is a first-rate, five-star audio presentation. This film is essentially a musical, so after several cinema viewings and listening to the soundtrack CD repeatedly, I found that increased PAL pitch is noticeable, particularly in the faster songs. Be sure to keep this in mind when deciding which version to buy.

    There are five English soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD, two of which are audio commentaries. The default soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s). Alternative soundtrack options are available in Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) and a very nice dts-es 6.1 Discreet (768Kb/s). I listened to the default and dts options in their entirety.

    Even though the soundtrack can be very busy at times, the dialogue and singing voices are always distinct and clearly discernable above the effects and score. The ADR is seamless and barely recognisable. Audio sync is pretty good throughout, although it would appear that facial appliances and heavy make-up can make lip-sync difficult at the best of times (check out Jack Black trying hard to sync his vocal lines while in the Baby Sass costume).

    The surround channel usage is conservative, but does the film justice. From the opening frames in which a Spumco-animated KG farts his way around each channel behind the viewer, to even the most subtle atmospherics, this surround mix is realistic and above all, great fun. Choir vocals are mixed to the surround left and right at 21:17, while loud metallic booming emanates from the same channels during the rock-off with Satan at 79:30. The rear center channel (applied with discreet encoding in the dts-es option) appears to be utilised for effects only, I didn't note any instruments or percussion at all.

    In comparing the audio options, the dts-es wins hands down. Both the Dolby EX and dts-es share a similar output level, but the dts-es exhibits clearer channel separation and depth, particularly in the soundtrack music. Acoustic guitars are crisp and clear, while drums and percussion are bright, with beautiful depth to the toms and kick drum. The Dolby stereo option does not include a surround flag, but when processed with Pro Logic II it becomes quite involving. Still, I can't help feeling that the disc space dedicated to the stereo option would have served better if it were allocated to an increased video bitrate.

    Besides the hilarious original songs by Jack Black and Kyle Gass, the film also sports an orchestral score by Andrew Gross and John King. The score succeeds in elevating the film beyond your normal comedic fare, with huge choral arrangements and sweeping strings giving it a biblical feel akin to Excalibur. It's a fantastic effort, and a shame it's not included on the soundtrack CD.

    The subwoofer supports the bottom end of the score, as well as the band's kick drum and bass guitar. Crashes and effects are also helped, such as the water rapids at 55:50.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu pages are very nicely animated, with a tarot card theme and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. A handy song selection menu can be found in the Special Features section. If you let the Special Features menu cycle once, Beelzebub (Dave Grohl) appears to prompt you into making a selection. All of the extra features are 16x9 enhanced.

Dolby Digital Trailer

dts Trailer

Audio Commentary- Jack Black and Kyle Gass (Actors)

    This is an entertaining commentary, in which the pair discuss their meeting in Tim Robbins' Actor's Gang, as well as his cameo in the film. They are quick to point out their sharp differences in their weight between scenes, blaming the treats in catering, during filming. The ground covered includes various cameos, the editing process, various anecdotes from filming and their inspiration for writing certain scenes. One hilarious story they share involves their impromptu performance at the Dead Man Walking wrap party. There are some lengthy pauses in their discussion, but this is certainly an above average and humorous commentary track.

Audio Commentary- Liam Lynch (Director)

    Liam explains his relationship with Jack and Kyle and problems that were encountered on set during filming. There is some focus on character development, and Liam's role in writing the screenplay and developing characters for the film. My ears pricked up when he mentioned viewers watching this in HD, which may indicate we will see a HD version in the future. I was particularly interested to learn Liam is actually colour blind- a terrible affliction for a director! Liam is a good speaker and has many interesting tid-bits to share about the film.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (27:40)

    Including a brief Director Introduction (0:46), there are fifteen deleted or extended scenes in total, plus a reel of bloopers. As is often the case, I owned the Pick of Destiny soundtrack CD long before I finally saw the film, and I always wondered where the Government Totally Sucks song was supposed to fit into the film. Low and behold, here it is, in a scene where the duo come up with the song on the spot to gain a discount at a camping store. Also in the soundtrack CD booklet is a collage with a still photo of KG dressed in a p**** costume. That deleted scene is also featured here.

Featurette- The Making of Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (23:09)

    After a quick overview of the band's history and their HBO television series, we're guided through the film's many rewrites and stalls in production, leading up to the movie we know now. Cast and crew interviews explain the simplicity of the production, the composing of the soundtrack and the story they wanted to tell. We're also treated to footage captured on set with Tim Robbins and Dave Grohl in makeup, Dio and Meat Loaf filming the opening sequence, as well as a few additional outtakes. I was very surprised to learn about Liam Lynch's own musical career, having studied with Paul McCartney. Remember the one-hit-wonder, The United States of Whatever? That was his. I was hoping for a little more info on the amazing child actor who plays the young JB (Troy Gentile), but this is very worthwhile viewing nonetheless.

Featurette- In The Studio (Recording the Rock) (21:37)

    These are a collection of amusing moments in the studio, along with Producer John King and assorted session musicians (John Konesky, Guitar). We're also a fly on the wall during their creative moments, discussing lyrics, developing riffs and the like. Dio drops by to lay down his vocals on Kickapoo. If you're a fan of their music, seeing the process first hand is pure gold.

Featurette- The Making of the Music Video (4:43)

    Director Liam Lynch, Jack and Kyle on the set of the music video, effectively a promo piece for the film.

Music Video- The Pick of Destiny (2:49)

    JB and KG crash a theatre and disturb a crowd who is trying to watch their movie. As far as music videos go, it's not too bad. The audio is stereo only (Dolby Digital 192Kb/s).

Theatrical Trailer (1:20)

    Better than your average trailer. The duo sit on a couch and try to promote the film, without much success.

Teaser Trailer (1:35)

    Includes several pieces not present in the final film, or the deleted scenes.

R4 vs R1

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

    Aside from PAL / NTSC formatting, this release appears to be identical in content across the globe. Be sure to shop around before you buy.

Summary

    Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny is great entertainment.

    The video transfer is heavily compressed.

    The audio transfer is fantastic.

    The extras are worthwhile and pertinent to the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Friday, May 25, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMP BD-10, using HDMI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR3806
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R4 vs R1 - Downtown REPLY POSTED
Idea -