Lex, Trip, Hawk, and Jeremiah are totally enamored with KISS. They wear the shirts, they have the records, they even have a tribute band, Mystery, in honor of their favorite rock band. But the ones thing they’ve always missed out on is about to finally happen. Tonight, they will see KISS in concert, in Detroit for God’s sake, what perfect timing! The morning of the concert, Jeremiah discovers he has the tickets in his jacket pocket, and his overbearing KISS hating mother almost finds them, so he leaves him at home, hoping she does not find them. But alas, she does, and not only does she cart him off to religious school, but she burns the tickets! The three remaining friends are moping about the loss, knowing the concert is totally sold out, and they give up ever going. Until the radio station they listen to offers four front row tickets and four backstage passes in a contest! Trip pulls a fast one on the teacher, makes the call, and wins the tickets! So the threesome uses a pizza with special mushrooms on the principal at the religious school, rescues their friend, and heads out to Detroit, to watch KISS rock the place down. But will the trip be a smooth one, or will these fans have to wade through Hell to see their favorite band in action?
Detroit Rock City is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time. The storyline is so great, and we can all relate to the excitement of seeing our favorite bands on stage, or the disappointment in missing out. Of course, I might be biased about this movie, because I am a huge fan of teen comedies, but I think most comedy fans will get a kick out this flick. The dialogue is very well written, and the timing is excellent. When the boys finally arrive in Detroit, the movie divides screen time between them, as the camera follows each of them, and we see what happens as they try to make it into the show. Each mini storyline concerning the friends is superb, and really helps the movie flow better than if we watched them all together. Adam Rifkin, the director, does a great job here, using all sorts of camera angles and pans. The color use is outstanding as well, but more on that in the visuals section.
The cast of Detroit Rock City is great, and they bring the characters to life quite well. The movie focuses on the four friends, played by Edward Furlong, James DeBello, Sam Huntington, and Giuseppe Andrews. The chemistry between them is very good, and Furlong shows that he has some good work left in him. It’s interesting to note how the actors play their characters differently when the group is together, as opposed to when they are each on their own missions. The movie is riddled with cameos and smaller roles, I found it very entertaining to watch the movie again, and spot more and more celebrities. I swear, everytime I watch this, I see someone new. Of course, the four members of KISS appear, and they give a nice on stage performance. Others appearing include Shannon Tweed, Natasha Lyonne, Ron Jeremy, Lin Shaye, Melanie Lynskey, and a boat load more, I assure you. The small parts in this movie add so much depth to the film, it amazes me.
Video: How’s it look?
Detroit Rock City was one of the first DVD’s that I reviewed for this site and “back in the day” New Line was really at the cutting edge of the DVD format. Their transfers were top notch, they were loaded with supplements and sounded amazing. Flash forward 15 years, New Line isn’t the studio it once was, but that’s not to say that the image quality of this movie has suffering. Not in the least, in fact. The 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer looks every bit as good and excels over the picture quality of the original DVD. Colors are brash and bold, yet somewhat subdued and “pasty” in some scenes as the film was meant to look like it was made in the 70’s. Detail is improved, blacks are solid and contrast is strong. It’s an improvement and a great-looking Blu-ray.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The original Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix has been upgraded to a DTS HD Master Audio film. Granted, the film is a comedy and a dialogue-driven one at that, but it’s also musically-oriented as well. This is a very active mix, utilizing each and every channel in your setup. The fronts are very active, surrounds are churning out some ambient effects and the LFE have several moments to shine. Vocals are rich, strong and lacking any distortion. The original DVD was by no means lacking, but believe it or not, this Blu-ray sounds better.
Supplements: What are the extras?
It appears as if all of the supplements from New Line’s previous Platinum Series DVD were ported over to this Blu-ray. That’s not a bad thing, however, as the disc is packed to the gills with supplements, however all are presented in standard definition.
Audio Commentary #1 – Director Adam Rifkin pretty much lays it all out there for us with the entire project in scope, from casting to post production. It’s a very informative, yet technical, track.
Audio Commentary #2 – The next is a cast and crew commentary which is a bit more lively than Rifkin’s track. Some interesting tidbits are pointed out here and there as well as some stories from the set.
Audio Commentary #3 – I call this the “KISS” track. Come to think of it, so do the filmmakers. All four members of KISS participate and seem to have a good time discussing their music and watching the film. This one is a no-brainer for KISS fans.
Deleted Scenes – Six in all using the ill-fated multi angle function.
The Cutting Room Floor – Antoher multi angle view is that of KISS playing a song as well as a guitar lesson.
Look Into The Sun – A rather avant garde look at how a scene was made.
Miscellaneous Shit – A three part featurette with the first segment focusing on the producers of the film. The second focuses on Director Adam Rifkin and the involvement of KISS. Lastly is some behind the scenes footage as well as some cast and crew interviews.
Music Videos – “The Boys are Back in Town” by Everclear and “Strutter” by The Donnas.
The Bottom Line
A decade and a half has passed since the release of Detroit Rock City. But, unlike so many other films of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I think this one has managed to remain as popular as it was when first released. The original DVD looked and sounded great and this Blu-ray takes it up a notch. While it’s disappointing that there are no new supplements, the disc wasn’t lacking to begin with. This one should be on your shelf.