The School Of Rock
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School Of Rock, The (DVD)
Jack Black stars as a hell-raising guitarist with delusions of grandeur. Kicked out of his band and desperate for work, he impersona tes a subst itute teacher and turns a class of fifth grade high-achievers into high- voltage rock and rollers. Joan Cusack portrays th e principal of the pri vate school where Black is prepping the kids for a Battle of the Bands.]]>
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This is a fine DVD. It is not HD or Blue Ray, but it plays and looks great on my blue ray player.
There is really nothing wrong with the copy, and for that alone this would get 5 stars. But I rate dvds on their bonus material, especially the commentary, since this is where the added value is for me. And in this aspect, I think the value could be higher. The commentary was very half-assed. I don't mind the commentators goofing off or even digressing wildly - often this provides valuable insights into these personalities. But I expect a certain amount of discussion of the film, its production, the development of the story, the actors' interpretation of and improvisation with their roles, etc. The commentary section was very mediocre. Not bad, just not great. Hence 4 stars. If I was rating just the commentary, It'd be 2 stars.
The redeeming qualities come with the many other special features: the kids have a commentary track, and the kids have a video diary of the showing of School of Rock at the Toronto film festival; there is a fun music video of a song one of the kids (in the story line), and other such features. I found the kid stuff really fun. So many of them were so delightful in the film, it was great to get a sense of their real personalities.
Hope this helps.
Black plays Dewey Finn, a dedicated rocker who believes he and his band are on the verge of greatness, their main goal to win a locale battle of the Bands contest, get the prize money, recognition and, hopefully, a record contract. Problem is Dewey tends to 'rock hard' on stage, which his band members feel is clownish and not fitting in with the image they want to project. Thusly, Dewey soon finds himself voted out of the band and out of a means of income. To top things off his meek roommate, Ned Schneebly (Mike White) and Ned's overbearing girlfriend, played by Sarah Silverman, decide Dewey must move out due to his inability to pay rent. When it rains, it pours...
Anyway, while pondering thoughts of his situation, Dewey takes a phone call for Ned, who is a substitute teacher. An exclusive preparatory school needs someone to fill in, and on discovering the decent amount of money involved, Dewey pretends he is Ned, and takes the job. What was going to be some quick money soon turns out to be more as Dewey learns that the children are musically inclined, and gets the idea to try and build a band around the youngsters, and compete in the upcoming Battle of the Bands contest. He passes the idea off on the children as a secret school project, and thus their education into 'hard rockin' begins.
Jack Black is the star of this movie, no doubt, with his spastic energy and erratic nature, but he certainly has a lot of help with his great supporting cast including Joan Cusack as the principal of the school (I am truly glad to see her back on the big screen as of late all I've been seeing her in is annoying wireless phone commercials) and all the talented children that comprise his class. I was happy to see the filmmakers decided on going with a cast of relatively unknown children, rather than `cutesy', overused children we've seen in many other films. And these children can truly perform, not only with acting, but also with their ability with their respective instruments. The story is pretty classic one, a grown up somewhat forced into involvement with a group of children who soon finds he having an effect on his students, and, in turn, they are having an effect on him. Personal growth develops all around, and we all get the warm fuzzies. While some of other films of this nature tend to get a bit schmaltzy, The School of Rock seems to narrowly sidestep it, and avoids the tooth decaying sweetness so often involved in a stories like this one.
And let's not forget the music...Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Ramones, AC/DC, The Who and many more. I was glad to hear so many great, classic songs accompany the movie, enhancing the complete hard rocking experience that is The School of Rock.
Special features are numerous, encompassing around four hours of material, but the best part for me was the inclusion of Jack Black's video pitch to legendary rock gods Led Zeppelin to use their Immigrant Song within the film. Also included are separate commentaries by Black and the children, a video diary, trailers, interactive features, weblinks, a music video for the original song created for the finale, and more.
While the plot of the movie is pretty far-fetched and requires the viewer to suspend a great deal of belief, it worked for me and was a truly satisfying way to spend an hour and fifty minutes. If you liked Black and his musical abilities, you might want to check out his band, Tenacious D. The CD and DVD are both available here. I definitely look forward to seeing him in future projects.