Director Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused" is not only his most successful outing, but I also consider it his best effort. The film is both well-written and enjoyably acted. This look at high school in the 70's may cover that time period, but I think many who didn't grow up in this era can still relate to it.
The movie is most successful because of Linklater's style that he uses here and in some of his other works. There's not really much of a plot here; it's just several groups of kids wandering and being during the span of day. It's the way that Linklater is able to let the characters run free but at the same time keeping the film feeling organized that makes it particularly entertaining.
The film's characters do cover all of the "groups" you would likely find in a high school movie, but to Linklater's credit, they don't feel like total stereotypes. It also helps that many popular performers got an early start here, such as Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey and Joey Lauren Adams. Indie star Parker Posey also makes an appearance.
The film isn't anything groundbreaking, but it's quite entertaining and fun. Definitely something that's good enough to watch more than once.
VIDEO: The non-anamorphic transfer is one of Universal's first, and like "Backdraft", there are problems that take away from the overall image quality. Sharpness could stand to be improved, and some scenes have a bit of an edgy quality to them. Detail is fair, and at least clarity is respectable throughout.
The film does look grainy at times, and some slight pixelation does appear now and then. There is some minor shimmering and some print flaws as well, which include some minor marks and scratches on occasion. Colors are very good, looking natural and nicely saturated, with no problems. Flesh tones are fine, as well.
This isn't too bad, and actually looks halfway decent at times. But a new transfer would most likely make for a smoother looking image.
SOUND: "Dazed and Confused" offers Dolby Surround audio, and it's pleasing. The majority of the film is simply dialogue, then it opens up agressively with the film's 70's rock music.
There is a nice balance in the sound, as well. Dialogue is clean and easily heard, and music comes in at the perfect volume; I never felt I needed to adjust anything. The music sounds remarkably good - loud, but never thin or tiring. An above-average Dolby Surround soundtrack.
MENUS:: Extremely basic menus, with the cover art reused for the main menu, and some film-themed images for the submenus.
EXTRAS: Production notes.
Final Thoughts: Definitely an entertaining movie that deserves to be revisited with improved image quality and more special features.