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April 19, 2011

Movie Review: Ernest Goes to Camp/ Ernest Goes to Jail (1987/1990, Blu-ray, Mill Creek)

Mill Creek Entertainment brings us a double dose of Ernest in HD!

Buy Ernest Double Feature on Blu-ray or DVD

Films: 3.5/5

The Ernest films are guilty pleasures for me. I wore out my VHS of Ernest Goes to Camp due to watching it over and over again as a kid. It's always fun to re-watch flicks you loved so much all those years ago. Nostalgia plays a big part, for better or worse. In this case for better. I remembered why I kept rewinding the tape and hitting play repeatedly. Ernest flicks work so well because of the late great Jim Varney. The titular character actor made me laugh then and surprisingly still now. So sit back and dig in on my review, "Know what I mean?"

Ernest Goes to Camp

As previously mentioned, I adore this flick. Growing up watching this I loved the slapstick humor and 80's vibe it gave off. If it was made in the 80's and centered around a camp, I'll watch it. Might have to do with always wanting to go to summer camp when I was a kid, looked like so much damn fun. This flick takes place at Kamp Kikakee, a former Indian ritual ground used to test warriors. Our lanky hero Ernest works here as a janitor and aspires to one day be an actual counselor. Ernest get's that chance when he is assigned to a group of kids from the state juvenile home. Meanwhile Krader Industries, a greedy mining corp. run by Sherman Krader (the forever awesome John Vernon) wants to buy out Kikakee for it's rich minerals. Ernest must ban with the boys and teach them the old Indian ways to stop the camp takeover.

Ernest Goes to Jail

This outing sees Ernest working as a night cleaner for a bank. He is called in for Jury Duty where he is noticed by a criminal due to his resemblance to Frank Nash (dual roles for Jim Varney), a prison inmate soon to be given the electric chair. On a visit to the prison, Nash knocks out Ernest and assumes his identity. Ernest, who is believed to be Nash, has to escape the prison before he is fried and stop Nash from robbing the bank.

This was my first time seeing EgtJ and right from the start I was laughing. The comedy and hijinks are way more ridiculous this time but it works. For instance, in the beginning Ernest is cleaning the bank but in true fashion fucks it up. This leads to Ernest becoming magnetic and attracting all things metal. Later on, Ernest (believed to be inmate Nash) is given the electric chair. Ernest, in a Looney Toons twist, survives the ordeal and in turn gains electric powers used to zap his way out of prison to stop Nash. Ridiculous? Yes. Fun? Definitely. The finale for some reason gave me an Sam Raimi vibe with an Army of Darkness esque fight. The over the top humor is the same and a special effect gave me that's probably just me.

Blu-ray: 3/5
  • Widescreen 1.78:1 & 2.35:1 - 1080i & 1080p
Presented in HD for the first time on 1 disc. For being budget releases, both Ernest films look pretty good. Camp is 1080i unfortunately but still looks nice. Jail looks the best, due to being 1080p and bit more recent than Camp. I'm very pleased with Mill Creek's efforts, though the 1080i transfer makes me scratch my head but c'est la vie.
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 - LPCM 2.0 - Dolby Digital 2.0
Audio is a little above satisfactory. It could have been louder in many places but once again it's a budget release.

Bonus Features: 0/5
 Nada in this department.

I definitely recommend these. It can be had for cheap and they are a lot of fun to watch. Maybe Mill Creek can release some of the other Ernest flicks they have licensed, Ernest Scared Stupid for example.

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