"Bring It On" is perky teen fare, looking silly and goofy at first glance, then suprisingly charming and cute as the film goes onwards and upwards. It's nothing thought-provoking, but its sunny exterior is hard not to get caught up in. The film stars Kirsten Dunst ("Interview With A Vampire") and it would be nearly nothing without her, as she makes lines that would otherwise be rather embarassing believable.
Dunst stars as Torrance, who's just been elected to captain of the cheerleading team at her local high school. After a new girl named Missy(Eliza Dushku) is added to the team, she finds out that the previous captain has stolen all their moves from an inner-city squad headed up by actress Gabrielle Union. Of course, the film has the two teams competing through the cheerleading championships, both regional and national, and all of the "Clueless"-light events and dialogue along the way.
As for Kirstin Dunst, certainly the arguement can be made that she's capable of far better than this kind of material. On the flip side, she also has exactly the right timing to spin these lines (some of which are not great) and make them at least enjoyable and basically fun. The other members of the cast and their characters are certainly not fully written, but in a movie like this, none of them really need to be. Dushku is definitely the most enjoyable supporting player of the bunch. As for the cheerleading routines, they're extremely impressive, and although the actors reportedly had little time to practice, they are very well done.
"Bring It On" grabbed an audience due to the strong marketing campaign from Universal Pictures; although I doubt anyone who isn't a teen or at least close to one would enjoy it, I have to say that this is one of the better teen films released lately and that's why the film continued to do well after opening weekend. Decently written, not taking itself too seriously and generally fun, "Bring It On" is moderately enjoyable late-Summer fare.
VIDEO: Universal presents "Bring It On" in a very good 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer that really brings out the perky color palette and general look of the movie. It doesn't escape showing some flaws, but in general it's a very pleasing presentation. Sharpness and detail are both excellent, and the entire movie looks crisp and well-defined.
There are only a few small problems throughout the movie. Thankfully, they don't include print flaws; I noticed a speckle or two but that was about it. There was no scratches, marks or any further wear to be seen, which certainly helps to provide a more pleasing viewing experience. Pixelation is absent as well, and I didn't even notice trace amounts. A few slight instances of edge enhancement are noticeable, but not hugely distracting.
Colors, again, are fantastic. Colors look bright, bold and well-saturated, with a rainbow of colors visible throughout. Flesh-tones are accurate and black level is solid, as well. Although not quite a perfect presentation, Universal has at least done a noticably above-average effort.
SOUND: Universal presents "Bring It On" in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. As for the movie itself, like "Coyote Ugly", which I just reviewed on DVD recently, the sound of the movie is pretty much focused on the music. Director Peyton Reed talks more about the amount of music used in the commentary track, as well.
The music has a very agressive presence, often filling the room and boasting some deep, strong bass during the musical numbers. The songs in general have fine audio quality, warm, clear and although the bass becomes a bit too much of a force at times, I'm sure that's how these cheerleading matches must sound. As for how they must sound, there is also crowd noise in the surrounds at times, which makes for a more realistic feel to the scenes. Dialogue is clear and easily understood.
Although with a soundtrack like this there aren't a great deal of differences, the bass in the DTS audio was mildly fuller, stronger and the sound overall seemed richer than the Dolby version.
MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, but the main menu provides a bit of the score in the background.
Commentary: This is a commentary track from director Peyton Reed, and it's easily one of the better tracks I've listened to all year. Well, it's been a short year, but it's really a good commentary. The director is impressively energetic throughout the entire discussion, talking a great deal about the way he wanted cheerleaders to be presented in the movie as well as some technical details about the look of the movie and things like music. He often does praise his actors and crew, but keeps the praise quick and also pairs the praise with some interesting facts about the contribution those people made.
He's also very funny and honest about the movie, making some very funny jokes occasionally and sometimes talking about what he might have done differently had he done it all again. It's a very entertaining and informative track, definitely worth a listen.
Spotlight On Location: Another of Universal's "making-of" documentaries, this is a promotional look at the making of the film. It's certainly "story-related" as we find out more abuot the movie that we've just seen, but the interviews are occasionally rather interesting to hear what the group had to go through. Interviews with screenwriter Jessica Bendiger, director Peyton Reed and most of the actors are included. Slightly entertaining and worth a watch due to the energy.
Deleted Scenes: There are 10 deleted scenes included in this section, all of which are given informative introductions by director Peyton Reed. A scene or two of these are interesting, but overall, they all were rightly taken out of the final film.
Extended Scenes: There's 3 extended scenes included here, and director Peyton Reed talks about each scene before they're played - his introductions here are very funny, as well. There's also a couple of funny extra goofs included.
Car Wash Home Movie: Although this is probably what many were waiting for on the DVD, it doesn't really show too much more than the actual scene in the movie did.
Wardrobe and Make-up Tests: A quick clip of stars Eliza Dushku and Kirsten Dunst dancing around in various movie outfits.
"Did You Know That?": Actually, I probably didn't. Anyways, this is Universal's version of "Pop Up Video" as various little animated subtitles pop up to tell us more about either production facts or cheerleading. Some of the facts are rather interesting - some aren't. Still, I like the feature and hope that it'll be put to use in future releases - Disney has already done something somewhat like this with a couple of their titles, but as a DVD-ROM feature only. Combine the "pop-ups" with the commentary for the completely informative "Bring It On" experience.
Music Video: The music video for Blaque's "As If".
Theatrical Trailer: The film's theatrical trailer, unfortunately only in 2.0 audio.
Recommendations: In the recommendations section you'll find trailers for "October Sky", "The Skulls" and "Reality Bites".
Also: Production notes & Cast/Crew bios. Also, look for the little logo off to the side in the "languages" menu and click that for a funny message.
Final Thoughts: Although I think that "Bring It On" won't appeal to anyone above a certain age segment, those who enjoyed it at the theater will certainly find a lot to like in Universal's DVD, which provides very good audio/video quality as well as some fun extras.