Home / HD-DVD Review: Animal House

HD-DVD Review: Animal House

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

This is Animal House. It doesn't matter what's written here, what the comments say, or what type of analyzing goes on. This is Animal House, and it’s a piece of flawless comedy from 1978 will always be one of the greatest of all time, and forever burned into a movie goers consciousness.

It's impossible to find fault in this classic. It's pacing and timing is the key along with the writing to space out each laugh perfectly. By the time you're recovering from the previous jolt, the next one comes in. A wild, uncontrolled finale is a fitting finish, continuing the stream of humor even when discussing the whereabouts of each cast member.

There's an iconic performance from John Belushi here, setting up a stereotype of the typical college slacker that's still relevant today. His face along with classic “College” sweatshirt is a staple in any dorm room. It’s not a true college experience without a toga party and a poster Belushi in tow.

Even the attempts at drama between Boon and Katy end up as straight comedy. There's not a single flat joke in here, and the actors sell their characters every step of the way. The sheer amount of quotable content is exhausting whether sly, sharp, or insanely stupid. The full cast is able to pull off a true rarity. They simply click when on screen with a rare chemistry.

The AFI selected Animal House to their list of 100 greatest comedies at #36. That's not enough recognition. This is a film that nailed the full checklist of comedy requirements, and just shy of 30 years later, it doesn't feel dated in the least.

Coming in on the low end of the HD-DVD spectrum, this combo disc is barely a step above the SD side. While there’s an extra layer of clarity, the film lacks any pop or specific moments to present the film in its full glory. Colors feel muted, bland, and washed out. The same can be said for fine detail, or lack thereof. Black levels are sharp and given the age of source material, damage and dirt are minimal.

The extra boost to the audio provided by the new format also ends up short of expectations. Rear speakers are never used, even for the crowded parade sequences at the end. Bass packs a slight punch during music-heavy moments, though it’s absent elsewhere. Dialogue is flat with mild distortion.

Extras are housed on the flip side of this disc and are carried over from the Double Secret Probation DVD. Where Are They Now? is the lead piece, a "documentary" of a different kind. It lets the actors reprise their roles from the film to update the audience as to what they've been doing since.

It's a great piece, and not only to see the actors again. They obviously loved playing these characters if they were willing to play along for this. At a half hour, this is a great addition to the film.

An Animal House Reunion is a look at the making of the film itself, its repeated rejections by studios, and eventual success. Interviews with cast, crew, and writers are prevalent. It’s an essential piece alongside the film. In addition, you can have a fact track run along with the SD version of the film to fill in small tidbits of information as the movie plays. Finally, a remake of the song Shout that is nearly Animal House’s theme is given video treatment.

"Ask for Babs" is the final gag in Animal House, pasted on an ad for Universal Studios. For a while, saying that when you buying tickets would land you a discount on admission. They stopped handing out freebies in 1989.

Powered by

About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • samba

    any idea what soundtrack was on this HDDVD ?
    was it the original soundtrack or the double secret probation one ?

    the main difference is the original one has all the original songs on it whilst the DSP one has every song replaced by new music (due to copyright reasons) also the more modern dvd’s use a different master and this leaves off all the subpictures (the end parts which show “where are they now” snippets). the original dvd release was just taken from the laserdisc master i assume as it hard the hardcoded cinematic subpictures.

    any info about these things ?

  • samba

    also i might add, the only reason the new dvd was 5.1 (and i assume the hd dvd uses the same soundtrack and this is why i asked) was because of the music tracks, they seemed to be in 5.1 whilst the rest of movie was just 2.0, maybe thats why the rear speakers dont get used.