The Wood: Back in the Day Edition – DVD Review


Available at Amazon.com

Director:

Rick Famuyiwa

Starring:

Taye Diggs ………. Roland
Omar Epps ………. Mike
Richard T. Jones ………. Slim
Sean Nelson ………. Young Mike
Malinda Williams ………. Young Alicia
Trent Cameron ………. Young Roland
Duane Finely ………. Young Slim
De’aundre Bonds ………. Stacey
Sanaa Lathan ………. Alicia
Lisaraye ………. Lisa
Tamala Jones ………. Tanya

The Movie

One of the biggest days of anyone’s life is their wedding day; it is a major turning point. So it’s only natural that almost everyone goes through something called “cold feet” right before saying “I do.” Second thoughts start to creep into your head. Are you really making the right decision or not? Nine times out of ten everything works out fine and the wedding goes off without a hitch. But that’s only after a long talk from your best friends who often remind you why you are doing this in the first place.

The Wood is all about having “cold feet.” Three hours before his wedding, Roland (Taye Diggs) is having second thoughts about marrying Lisa (Lisaraye). No one can find Roland. Good thing he has his best friends, Mike (Omar Epps) and Slim (Richard T. Jones), to find him and back him up and talk some sense into him. That’s not before they have time to remember back to when they were all teenagers growing up in Inglewood, California, a.k.a. “The Wood.”

This movie is really set in two different times. You have the present with the three best friends as adults, and then you see them in Junior High School and High School some 10-13 years earlier. Basically, Roland doesn’t want to grow up. He wants to stay single forever. Or at least he thinks so. This leads to the three guys remembering back to when they first met and what they all went through to get to where they are today. So we get a series of flashbacks throughout the movie that show important moments in these three guys’ childhoods. This sort of storytelling can get distracting, but overall it seems to fit The Wood. It could have worked better, but nothing really feels out place here.

Omar Epps and Taye Diggs are both excellent actors as they have proven in later work. This was just Taye Diggs second film, though. Omar had done others before this, but together they were a great combination. Throw in Richard T. Jones, who keeps pace with the others, and you have three actors who you can actually see as best friends. The acting really raised the level of this film. Even the young actors that played the younger versions of Roland, Mike, and Slim did a great job of portraying those characters. They really get as much screen time as Omar Epps, Taye Diggs, and Richard T. Jones, and they actually hold their own.

The cast is 99% African-American. Some would suggest that not everyone could relate to this movie as a result. That’s not true at all once you watch it, though. Unlike other movies where African-American culture is the focus, this movie is really about friendship and growing up. Regardless of what race you are, most anyone could relate to the subjects and themes depicted. That’s another reason why this film works.

Both Omar Epps and Taye Diggs take a basic story that anyone can relate to and make it into an entertaining and funny take of growing up. The jokes in this movie are not specific to one race. They are mainly lessons that we learn as we grow up and the funny situations we get ourselves in. This movie has often been overlooked or has been long forgotten, but it’s a quality film about friendships and growing up that is worth a watch by anyone.

The Video:

The video is given in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen color, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The video was improved from the original DVD release. It looks just as good as other new release DVDs. So no real complaints here.

The Audio:

The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound or English 2.0 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English only. No real problems here either. The music and dialogue comes out loud and clear. There is a great soundtrack to this movie as well.

The Extras:

Audio Commentary
This is a full-length commentary with the director, Rick Famuyiwa, and two of the stars of the movie, Taye Diggs and Richard T. Jones. I wonder where Omar Epps was? Regardless, this is still pretty funny. Commentaries with both the cast and crew are always the best and this one is no exception. There are many times where you will be laughing at these guys laughing at what is going on in the movie, or remembering the funny stuff that occurred while filming this movie. Recommended viewing after watching the movie once.

“Making The Wood” Featurette
This is the basic featurette that almost every DVD has, if they are any good. You definitely learn a lot of things about the movie during this featurette. It’s a great combination with the audio commentary as it answers all of the questions that the audio commentary may not have.

Photo Gallery and Theatrical Trailers
Nothing special here. Just some random images from the movie and the trailer. Hardly extras in my book, but they are here if you want to see them.

THE INSIDE PULSE

This is an early film for both Taye Diggs and Omar Epps, so fans of their work will want to check this out if they haven’t already. I say at least rent it, but this movie is entertaining and funny enough to recommend buying it after watching it once. Best of all, the movie is real and almost everyone can relate to it no matter what race or nationality you are. It’s definitely worth your time.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Wood
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

7
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

6
REPLAY VALUE

7
OVERALL
6.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)