The Master Of Disguise

The Master Of Disguise (2002)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Daba Carvey, Brent Spiner, James Brolin
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, Music Video, Trailers

"Saturday Night Live" alumni Dana Carvey’s latest feature film antics are soon coming to DVD from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, and as he’s proven before, Carvey truly is a man of a thousand faces. Aptly called "The Master Of Disguise," in this movie Carvey plays the bumbling Pistachio Disguisey, heir to a long legacy of Masters of Disguise. All of his forefathers had the ability to tap into "energico," a force that helps them to seamlessly transform themselves into a different person, and have used their ability to solve countless crimes and misdeeds in the past. When his father is kidnapped by criminal mastermind Devlin Bowman (Brent Spiner) and forced to use his abilities to steal some of the world’s most precious tokens, Pistachio is introduced to the family legacy in a crash-course by his grandfather, and soon he is out to destroy Bowman’s evil plot. It is needless to say, of course, that Pistachio doesn’t really master his disguises so well, yet…

Overall, "The Master Of Disguise" is an aptly done comedy. There is nothing there you wouldn’t expect and the film really is a big showcase for Dana Carvey’s ability to impersonate well-known and not-so-well-known characters. Whether it’s the hilarious Mr. Peru, George W. Bush or an Indian snakecharmer, Carvey always finds the right angle for these characters to make you laugh out loud. Combined with the funny dialogues, "The Master Of Disguise" is a highly entertaining romp for the entire family.

Being a fairly family-friendly film, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has sadly had a lapse in judgment and decided to release "The Master Of Disguise" in a <$PS,fullscreen> presentation only. The film would have at least demanded inclusion of a <$PS,widescreen> version alongside the <$PS,fullscreen> presentation so here’s an official slap on Columbia TriStar’s hand for destroying the filmmakers’ original vision. The presentation itself is very clear and entirely free of defects, as you would expect. The image contains a high level of detail, bringing out every little facet of the production. The movie is colorful by design and the DVD’s color reproduction faithfully restores all the powerful and vibrant hues but keeps them free of oversaturation. Blacks are deep and always well defined, creating solid shadows that never lose definition. Occasionally a tad of edge-enhancement is evident, but it is never becoming distracting and the compression of the film is virtually free of artifacts.

"The Master Of Disguise" contains a <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> audio track that is making very good use of the surround channels. It is a surprisingly dynamic track that comes across as more aggressive than you would first expect from such a comedy. Frequency response is good with solid basses and clear high ends. Dialogues are well integrated and never drowned out, making the film easy to understand.
Director Perry Blake and Dana Carvey have committed a <$commentary,commentary track> to this DVD. From the first second you will notice that the commentators do not take themselves seriously at all as they open the commentary talking about their "groundbreaking" idea to include the Columbia lady at the beginning of the film. From there it just keeps going on in the same hilarious vein. The tow make fun of everything and everyone, making the <$commentary,commentary track> a funny addition to the disc that also manages to relay quite a bit of information nonetheless.

The DVD also contains a good number of extras, such as a selection of deleted and alternate scenes. Here you will find a substantially longer takes of the Mr. Peru scene, as well as scenes featuring a number of additional characters not immediately featured in the film. (They show up in the end credit reel briefly.) Each of the deleted scenes is introduced by Carvey as the Turtle-Guy, but I found those introductions to be more tedious than entertaining to be perfectly honest.

You will also find three featurettes on the DVD, covering various aspects of the movie such as the overall production, Dana Carvey and one on the various characters in the movie. They are spiced up with many interview segments and enjoyable to watch. The Music video "M.A.S.T.E.R. Part 2" and a variety of theatrical trailers round out this release.

"The Master Of Disguise" would be a perfect release if Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment had included a <$PS,widescreen> version. It is a very funny movie that will have you laughing again and again. While it is silly, it also has its more serious overtones and for fans of Dana Carvey’s abilities, this film is just an incomparable treasure trove.