While Jack Black has become a success in films like "School of Rock", many also know Black as member of the wildly popular cult rock band Tenacious D, whose adventures were presented in the HBO hit series of the same name. In the years since, fans have demanded more of the D, and it has arrived this magnificently funny rock opera.
Opening with JB as a kid (Troy Gentile, whose impersonations of Black's facial expressions are exceptionally funny) having to deal with his father (Meatloaf)'s dismayal at his love of rock, we soon follow JB (now Jack Black) as he sets off to Hollywood to persue his dreams of being in a rock band. When he finally arrives, he finds a mentor in KG (Kyle Gass), a confident rocker who attracts crowds on the beach. When JB realizes that KG isn't exactly who he said he was, the two realize that they must come together to form the world's greatest guitar band. In one of the film's funniest scenes, the two reveal that they each have bizarre birthmarks that they'd never understood until now, as when joined together, they form the name of the band.
They are informed by a guitar shop employee (Ben Stiller) that deep within the Rock and Roll History museum there is a powerful guitar pick made from Satan's tooth. So the two set off on a road trip in order to steal the pick that will propel themselves to stardom. The picture follows as they meet various weirdos (including a brilliantly weird performance from Tim Robbins) and find themselves in the midst of various adventures on the road, including JB getting wasted and meeting up with Bigfoot (an uncredited John C. Reilly cameo) in a wonderfully weird dream sequence. The grand finale has the two challenging Satan to a "rock off".
"Pick of Destiny" is joyfully stupid, perfectly over-the-top (and down the other side and then over-the-top again) and genius in its sheer oddness. While Gass plays it straight, he's a good counterpoint to Black, who is allowed to go more overboard here than any other time in his career, and the results are priceless. Stiller, Reilly, Robbins and Dave Grohl (the Foo Fighters and formerly of Nirvana) offer great cameos perfectly in the spirit of the flick.
"Pick of Destiny" is twisted madness and certainly isn't going to be for everyone, but I thought it was a wild, funny ride - one of the funniest films I've seen in ages.
VIDEO: "Pick of Destiny" is presented by New Line Home Entertainment in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is another excellent presentation from New Line, as the D looks crystal clear throughout the majority of the picture, save for a few scenes that look slightly soft. No edge enhancement was spotted and no print flaws were seen, but a couple of slight traces of artifacting were spotted. Colors looked bright, bold and vibrant, with no smearing or other issues. Flesh tones look accurate and black level remained strong.
SOUND: "Pick of Destiny" is presented by New Line in Dolby Digital 5.1-EX and DTS 6.1-ES (Discrete). Any movie with as much rock-per-minute as this needs a solid sound mix and the film's audio brings the thunder during the musical sequences, which present the tunes with punchy force and great clarity. Surrounds kick in to envelop the viewer with the jams and present occasional ambience and sound effects. Audio quality is great, with clear, undistorted dialogue. Both audio options were terrific, but the DTS just rocked a bit harder, with deeper bass and slightly improved clarity.
EXTRAS: Director Liam Lynch offers one audio commentary and sits in with Jack Black and Kyle Gass on another. The commentary with Lynch and the two D members is fantastic, as the three goof off, joking about stories from the set and offering some information about the the production. Black is frequently hilarious, going off on riffs about the film and other topics entirely.
30 minutes of deleted scenes are offered, starting with an intro from director Liam Lynch. There's some absolutely hilarious material here (Black and Gass play a song in order to get free stuff from a hunting/camping store owner, played by David Koechner), but it's easy to see why some of this material hit the cutting room floor to keep the film tight.
Also included are a terrific 23-minute "making of" documentary, a 21-minute look at Gass and Black in the recording studio, a "jump to a song" feature, Tenacious D music video, "making of" the music video and trailer/teaser trailers for the film.
Final Thoughts: "Pick of Destiny" is twisted madness and certainly isn't going to be for everyone, but I thought it was a wild, funny ride - one of the funniest films I've seen in ages. The DVD presentation offers excellent video/audio quality and a boatload of extras. The film may not be for everyone, but those in the mood for a good, ridiculous cult comedy should at least try this one out as a rental. Fans should head out and pick up a copy ASAP.
The Film A-