Note: This review is a companion piece to my reviews of the standard definition [Debbie Does Dallas Again (SD DVD)] and HD DVD [Debbie Does Dallas Again (HD DVD)] version of the movie. The movie itself is the same and the biggest changes were the alterations of extras (losing most of them for the high definition versions of the movie), the far higher price of the HD and Blu-Ray versions, and the improved visual and audio elements that made the higher definition versions viewable on my large screen television whereas the Debbie Does Dallas Again (SD DVD) was even grainy on my computer monitor (rendering it practically unwatchable on the larger screen). Depending on what aspects of the movie you care about most, you may find one version better for your needs than the other; reminding me that DVD Talk's neutrality policy towards the current format wars renders us in a great spot to evaluate all versions of the title better than any other website or media source at this time. As other companies are also finding out, the newer formats have a sharp learning curve so expect to see huge improvements in future releases, just like mainstream titles have been enjoying of late. For the record, I tried various connections and hook ups to improve the look of the movie, my Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player being one of the best means to see the true 1080p output of the movie, my television being a true 1080p set, and everything hooked up via gold plated HDMI cables to eliminate any conversion errors as earlier models might add in. The quick version of the differences in this review is that both high definition versions were virtually indistinguishable from one another, each showing grain but more resolution than the standard version that has sold so well of late (for good reason too).
Cast: Stefani Morgan, Derrick Pierce, Monique Alexander, Lacie Heart, Sunny Leone, Courtney Simpson, Penny Flame, Evan Stone, Staci Thorne, Marty Romano, Hillary Scott, Cassidey, Savanna Sampson, Christian, Jay Huntington
Cameo and background roles: Domenico, Lisa Daniels, Kayla Paige, Samantha Ryan, Kina Tai, Erika Jordan, Jennifer Lee, Angie Savage, Paul Thomas
Length: 122:21 minutes
Date of Production: 7/5/2006
Extra's: Unlike the SD version of the movie, the Blu-Ray version had a single disc, losing the free copy of the original classic Debbie Does Dallas and most other extras in favor of keeping the 38:17 minute long Behind the Scenes feature by Hank Hoffman that was shot in 720p, a selection of 8:29 minutes of alternate angle material in the sex scenes that can be watched as a separate section or flagged for watching inside the movie itself, a photogallery and some spam for Vivid. The BTS was interesting; combining several montages, numerous anecdotes, and plenty of looks at the shoot with all the nudity, goofing around, and other aspects you'd expect from a top notch release, but paying nearly twice as much for less extras railed against my sense of fairness. There were lots of great extras on the Debbie Does Dallas Again (SD DVD) 3 disc set so check it out to see what you'll be missing if you get this one instead. That said, the disc was housed in an industry standard Blu-Ray case, losing the booklet casing and cool lensicular cover too.
-- sponsored by --
Audio/Video Quality: Debbie Does Dallas Again (Blu-Ray) was presented in an enhanced widescreen 1.85:1 ratio color presentation as shot on film by director Paul Thomas for Vivid Entertainment. Having seen both versions of the movie that came out months ago (the Debbie Does Dallas Again (SD DVD) version looking inferior but having far more comprehensive extras than this one or the Debbie Does Dallas Again (HD DVD) I reviewed back in May), I have to say that my first impression of this BR version was that it was still too grainy as I would expect any Super 8mm porno to be. I'm seen this before with Paul's work on other "big project" titles, most recently with Emperor, and it always amazes me that such ambitious projects attempt the impossible; making relatively low budget porn on film try to look good. I'm led to believe that this might not be a factor after next year since AVN is dropping their "film" category but I can only imagine how much nicer this would have looked if shot on video. That said, the lighting of the scenes varied substantially due to the thematic matter. The scenes shot in dark areas or at night looked the worst and the well light scenes outdoors looked almost okay but the levels of video noise, grain, and other visual defects were always plentiful. I appreciate that film "as an art" has plenty of advantages but only when the corresponding budgets will allow for the necessary cleaning up of the projects. The Blu-Ray version was coded in the less-than-thrilling Mpeg-2 (though a bitrate that was often in the mid 23 Mbps range) with the superior 1080p format but given the source material, I can see that even this could not truly save the technical elements from the original choice of media used to record the action. I expected more of it but this being the first TRUE Blu-Ray porno that isn't the relative equivalent of a bootleg (at this writing, only one other title in the format has been released and it skipped on the processing making it a questionable addition to the format). On a more positive note, the camera angles flattered the ladies in most scenes and fans of the original movie from nearly thirty years ago will find some visual homages to the flick from time to time. The artistic aspects of the film were handled well with the editing substantially better than past efforts (less jumpy, seemingly more in tune with the pacing, and better timed). There were some compression artifacts and print scratches, but the up side to the BR version was that I could watch it on my big screen television without wanting to throw a brick through the screen. The audio was presented in a 2.0 Dolby Digital English with an optional Spanish track, improving the sound over the Debbie Does Dallas Again (SD DVD) version, though not as much as the visual elements were upgraded. While some of the vocals were hollow, the music was typically appropriate (even interesting at times) and it was obvious that a lot of care was given to the audio track. The music had a decent amount of separation and the dynamic range was slightly above average, though a true 5.1 track would have been greatly appreciated if done correctly. For those keeping track, the bitrate displayed as 48 kHz with a 192 Kbps; not a stellar effort but sounding much like the HD version and an improvement over the SD version.
Body of Review: Paul Thomas is the directing icon responsible for much of the success obtained by the Vivid Entertainment Empire. Every year, he gets to make a huge blockbuster or two in an effort to wins scores of awards, typically getting the resources he needs to succeed in bringing home the bacon. This year, his big entry is the title Debbie Does Dallas Again (Blu-Ray); a tribute to the popular porno made almost three decades ago, Debbie Does Dallas. Debbie is still a cheerleader but as in the classic mainstream title Here Comes Mr. Jordan, she has an accident and is given a second shot at life. Her goal to usurp the power of her cheerleading rival aside, Debbie's life centers on winning the national cheerleading competition; a goal that brings her back from the dead in the body of geeky Hillary Scott (at least made to look geeky). Along the way to her goal, the members of the squad and those she encounters have numerous sexual liaisons, ending in a macabre orgy that revisits another classic remake from recent years but I don't want to spoil the fun for you by divulging all the details. The back cover explained it like this: "Stefani and Monique are rivals on the same team, competing for the same boy, and a win in the National Cheerleading World Championships in Bakersfield, California. After Stefani suffers a fatal accident in a botched but fabulous flip, she meets her guardian angel, Penny Flame, and promptly makes a deal to go back to earth to avenger her loss. She reappears in the body of Hillary Scott, and from the gates of Heaven, all hell breaks loose. Paul Thomas presents Debbie Does Dallas ... Again, the most ambitious Debbie ever made, and the inspiration for a major reality TV show! See five Vivid superstars lead the cheer for sex, sex and more sex in the Debbie to end all Debbies. In other words ... Vivid does it ... again." If you have Showtime HD, you might have seen some of the dramas involved in the making of the movie; including contract gals fighting for the lead role (and why shouldn't they given the way such roles lead to a lot of additional opportunities?), director dramas (Paul grumping at Eon for trying to steal his thunder), and even production nightmares suffered by company co-owner Mr. Hirsh. Here's a quick look at the scenes by cast and action, noting that condoms were used:
Scene One: Outdoor Activity: Stefani Morgan, the total cutie seen on the center of the front cover, was up first in a scene outside with muscular Derrick Pierce after they had a discussion about some personal matters. Her version of "Debbie" seemed much more natural than Bambi Woods in the original, almost age appropriate too given her healthy, all natural body (Lacie Heart would have been the only other choice on the same level with her). Derrick snacked on her puffy pussy as she leaned against a tree, working his way up her body before she gave him an adequate hummer in return. This led to them screwing actively vaginally, the gal showing more enthusiasm than I have seen from her in the past. I didn't get a sense of chemistry between them but the energy levels were high enough to make up for it, the gal scratching her itch well as she pumped back against him in most positions. He rubbed out a load of population to her face and the dialogue began, setting up the premise of the movie.
Scene Two: Funeral Rites: Monique Alexander, the hotty seen on the lower left hand side of the front cover, was up next as she took over Derrick Pierce using her charms in a casket fuck outside at the funeral. Both wore black and while her cheerleading outfit wasn't as appealing as Stefani's was in the prior scene, it wasn't on long enough to matter. She gave far more active head to the man and worked him up with her hand and breasts, Derrick reciprocating as the sunlight poured down upon them nicely. She struggled for a moment to find proper footing but her active riding skills were in evidence here too; the gal having come a very long way since starting for the company a few years ago. A few of the shots showed jumpy camera work but it was largely a strokable ride with substantial replay value, ending as expected with his wad rubbed out onto her face and mouth.
Scene Three: Monica and the Life Force: Lacie Heart, the total cutie seen on the upper right hand corner of the front cover (and visually, my first choice for the lead role), was up with lesbian lover Sunny Leone, the brunette on the upper left hand side of the cover, in a lesbian tryst that saw the two licking, kissing, and rubbing each other while Courtney Simpson, a former cheerleader in Arizona, masturbated in the showers. I'm not a fan of editing scenes together and the use of toys by both parts of the scene struck me as too early but still allowing for all three of them to get off. My biggest complaint about the scene was how dark it was, reminding me how much the pairing looked better on my computer monitor than my big screen TV. Lacie and Sunny were the hotties this time and while a bit more polish might have elevated the scene a bit in my eyes, they were the proverbial eye candy that works wonders for strokers everywhere.
Scene Four: Cadillac Heaven: Penny Flame, playing an outlandish angel with a goofy accent, was up next with lovely Stefani Morgan, and the mighty Evan Stone (playing another angel), beside a large 1957 Cadillac. As the trio got busy with oral and vaginal sex (Evan's halo and wings looking kind of gay); Lisa Daniels, Kayla Paige, Samantha Ryan, and Kina Tai, lounged around on the car masturbating and otherwise looking like solid eye candy. They never joined the main trio but it added some stroke value to the artistic manner in which the scene was shot. Penny got really rough slapping Stefani and proved to be far more aggressive in taking the cock, also adding in lots of dirty talk before the ending pop shot went to Stefani. It looked almost surreal in how it was shot but I thought the trio had some great chemistry and passion during the scene; leading to some of the better dialogue of the movie.
Scene Five: Roommate Troubles: Staci Thorne, a curvy blonde with a decidedly nasty streak, was up next with nasty Marty Romano in the cheesy little bedroom. He paddled her, screamed at her, and even dripped hot wax from a candle on her as she masturbated, leading to her blowing him and sitting on his face as he ate her out in return. He choked her when drilling her cookie, the gal actively riding his cock in her ass (thankfully for her, he was one of the smallest guys available that day and not a challenge for her anal skills). The rock music background was suitable for them and be busted a nut on her abdomen, Stefani's incorporeal body calling him a "hillbilly piece of shit" as though his initials were M.S., leading to another major plot point.
Scene Six: Locker Room Fun: Hillary Scott, the anal princess that won scores of awards in the last year, was up next with dirty Cassidey (the brunette contract gal on the lower right hand corner of the front cover), and Derrick Pierce, after a successful audition. They went to the locker room and got it on to some modern music while Erika Jordan, Jennifer Lee, and Angie Savage had a lesbian tryst. The trio of secondary cast members weren't exactly Vivid contract quality but as almost a shout out to alt-porn, they provided some acceptable energy to warm things up for the main show between Hillary, Cassidey, and Derrick (shower scenes are always welcome in my porn too). The main action wasn't as good as the locker room scene from the original movie but the gals were certainly more skilled at what they were doing; the oral showing them to be well versed in cock sucking just as their ability to impale themselves on dick to be top notch too. Cassidey's use of a strap on dildo to give anally active Hillary a technical DP added to the fun as well but toy or no toy, this was one of the sexual highlights of the movie in terms of skilled performances. His pop shot was minimal and Hillary didn't swallow it as expected, but foot fetish fans will like how it ended.
Scene Seven: Orgy in Hell: Savanna Sampson, the most seductive gal in the contract stable but found nowhere on the front cover, was up last in an orgy with Monique Alexander, Stefani Morgan, the mighty Evan Stone, Christian, and Jay Huntington, in the depths of a whole new realm. Savanna was playing her most famous role to date and took to the oral and anal like a champion as Jay and Evan boned her deeply. Stefani and Monique double teamed Christian on a nearby couch but as the scene progressed, the partners mixed it up more than a little bit. Savanna was looking tight and in great shape, easily holding her own against the junior members of the team here and surpassing them on skills, energy, and enthusiasm to name but a few qualities. The overall scene was solid enough to boost the sexual score of the flick for me; ending things on a high note with a cute ending after the pop shots.
Summary: Debbie Does Dallas Again (Blu-Ray) by director Paul Thomas for Vivid Entertainment was shot on film but aside from that fact, it was a very entertaining movie. Stefani Morgan fit the airhead, vengeful Debbie of the modernized version perfectly so apart from the overacting by Penny Flame and Evan Stone (both of whom camped it up big time), the Blu-Ray version of the movie earned a rating of Recommended for those of you looking for a variety of sexual encounters from the hardcore (Staci's scene) to the lesbian outing (between Lacie and Sunny) to the arousing ending starring the rest of the highlighted cast. My only true complaint dealt with the use of film to record the scenes of Debbie Does Dallas Again since that weakened the technical values more than a little bit but if you can overlook that aspect of the movie, you'll find some replay and stroke value to compliment the social satire tossed in by the creative staff. As far as the other two versions; one being the Debbie Does Dallas Again (SD DVD) version and the other being the Debbie Does Dallas Again (HD DVD) version; suffice it to say that many of the extras were dumped from the SD version for the high definition versions so your value might not be as good this time either (it being the first NEW feature using the higher definition formats it proved to be a good first step along a very long road, though I expect more from Vivid in the future). I reiterate, the grain and other visual flaws of the SD version were not nearly as bad in the two high definition versions, but it should have looked a lot better than it did, especially if the majority of extras were going to be ditched at twice the price. It would have been nice is retailers took a long term view of selling such discs since I have it on the best possible authority that Vivid wholesaled both high definition versions at only a small mark up from the SD version, yet the retailers are charging almost twice as much.
Oh, and as a last word, here are two of the articles AVN had on this version of the title to give some perspective about it compared to the previous versions that came out months ago:
Vivid Entertainment sales manager Howard Levine confirmed today that the long-awaited Blu-ray edition of Paul Thomas' Debbie Does Dallas...Again has arrived in house following a series of delays. The disc ships to stores next week."The Blu-ray edition was delayed because it had to be done correctly and we could not compromise the quality," Levine told AVN. "We wanted proper licensing and copy protection; that's just the way we do things. This is really the first true adult Blu-ray disc - it plays on all machines, not just some of them. We didn't strip the copy protection, and we didn't burn them at home. It's the real deal."
Debbie has arrived on Blu-ray just in time for Showtime Too's upcoming re-broadcast of the reality show on the making of the film, which kicks off July 4. A complete broadcast schedule is available online at Showtime's website. "We're excited about Showtime re-airing the series," Vivid co-chairman Steven Hirsch told AVN. "It did very well the first time around, and I believe that's why they are re-running it so soon. We definitely had some replication and authoring issues along the way, and we wanted to be sure that it was perfect before we moved forward and put it out - the discs are now here, they've been tested and they're ready to ship." Vivid-Alt honcho Eon McKai's take on the Debbie mythos, now called Debbie Loves Dallas, will street on August 8. "Eon will be blogging about the movie on the Debbie Does Dallas...Again website, and we'll have photos from the movie and previews and other surprises," Hirsch said.
Vivid Entertainment's long-awaited Blu-ray disc edition of Debbie Does Dallas...Again streets today, and the anticipation is high. The Paul Thomas feature marks the first licensed and copy-protected Blu-ray release of an adult title to hit the marketplace. Vivid's national sales manager Howard Levine told AVN that Pulse Distribution has been flooded with calls from consumers inquiring about the Blu-ray disc's availability. "I've never had consumers call here for any particular item as much as this one.," said Levine. "We're getting calls from distributors and retailers, but consumers seem to outweigh those phone calls on the Blu-ray by three to one. They're calling up asking, where do we get it? We don't sell direct, but we want to make sure everyone gets it, so people can call up and we'll direct them to a store or distributor that has it."
"We've been anxiously awaiting the first adult Blu-ray title to hit our shelves--almost as much as our customers!" added Adult DVD Empire's Mike Barry. "We've had a great deal of customer interest in this title, and that is undoubtedly attributed to the strength of the title Vivid chose to release. We've had an enormous amount of prebooks for Debbie on Blu-ray; as usual, Vivid is right on top of the latest technologies." While the market for high-definition porn on Blu-ray and HD DVD has not yet reached its potential, Levine feels that retailers have underestimated demand for adult content on the next-gen disc formats. "Some retailers are resistant to new technology," Levine said. "If you liken it to when DVD came out and VHS was very popular, it's like they're saying 'I don't want any DVD, the VHS is good' - they've got to realize that there are over 3 million PlayStation 3 machines out there, and that's just in the United States." Levine told AVN that the first run on the disc is close to sold out. Vivid is now replicating a second pressing.
---- You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon