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|Home: BigScreen Journal - Blu-ray Review: 17 Again Combo Pack|
17 Again Combo Pack
Warner Home Video
List Price: $35.99 (Check Price at Amazon.com)
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| Video Format:
Movie: BD-25 (x1) BD-J
What would you do if you got a second shot at life?
Class of 1989, Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) is a star on the high school basketball court with a college scout in the stands and a bright future in his grasp. But instead, he decides to throw it all away to share his life with his girlfriend Scarlet and the baby he just learned they are expecting.
Almost 20 years later, Mike's (Matthew Perry) glory days are decidedly behind him. His marriage to Scarlet (Leslie Mann) has fallen apart, he has been passed over for a promotion at work, his teenage kids think he is a loser, and he has been reduced to crashing with his high school nerd-turned-techno-billionaire best friend Ned (Thomas Lennon).
But Mike is given another chance when he is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17. Unfortunately, Mike may look 17 again, but his thirtysomething outlook is totally uncool among the class of 2009.
And in trying to recapture his best years, Mike could lose the best things that ever happened to him.
The picture quality of this title is very good! There are plenty of light and dark scenes, with both interior and outdoor shots, and I never saw anything resembling an artifact or excessive edge enhancement.
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was good. While comedies aren't demo material on average, this title does a decent job at lighting up the surrounds at times, especially during the party scenes. The scene at the river during the rain storm gave the subwoofer a chance to get into the act as well.
I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was disappointed that one was not included here. While the trailer is available in the BD-Live section (see below), I fail to understand why it couldn't have been included on the disc instead.
Zac Goes Back is 13 minutes of the cast and crew back-slapping each other, primarily fawning over Zac Efron. Going Back to 17 shows the cast and crew when they were in high school, and they recount what their experiences in high school were like. the Way Cool Tell All Trivia Track is a pop-up video style captioning feature that runs during the movie. When you select this option, you can play the movie and see little factoids like what "copacetic" meant (I have to admit I haven't heard that word probably since 1989 or earlier).
Breakin' Character Outakes contains a lot of laughing by the cast as they flub their lines, but it's probably funnier for them to watch than for us. Zac's Dance Flashback is a short piece on Zac learning dance moves for the movie. There are also 13 deleted scenes that were probably cut for good reason. The odd part about these is that they are in SD and letterboxed 4:3, which stand out in stark contrast to the rest of the HD extras.
The BD-Live section contains the usual Warner Bros. BD-Live content (as well as the "Coming Soon" features that have been coming soon for quite some time), complete with the still-frustrating interface that makes it difficult to tell which item is selected.
Two weeks after release, there are two videos listed in the Extras section, which is better than some recent Warner Bros. releases (which have had none, even after three weeks). Perhaps someday, studios will deliver content for Blu-ray releases on an ongoing basis as a reward for those who purchase the movie (as opposed to renting it).
The "Trailers" section of the BD-Live section contains trailers for a variety of Warner Bros. movies, including one for this movie. The videos load quickly, but you'll experience similar or better quality and a wider variety of content by going online to services like Hulu, Quicktime's site, or so many other web sites that deliver video in a variety of formats and quality settings, including 1080p HD.
The trailer for "Where the Wild Things Are" and some others are incorrectly identified with an icon that signifies that it is for the Blu-ray release, or at least I think that's why there would be a blue stripe above the graphic with the Blu-ray logo on it. Since the movie hasn't been released in theaters yet and the trailer is for the theatrical release, the inclusion of the Blu-ray logo is at best misleading and most likely is evidence that someone in charge of the BD-Live server is asleep at the wheel.
An interesting feature in this release is the video commentary by Thomas Lennon, Zac Efron, and Melora Hardin. The commentary is found in the "My WB Commentary" section, which is intended to allow fans to record video commentaries, but I've never seen anyone actually do that to this point. The video quality of their commentary looks like it was done with a webcam, complete with very poor lighting, so it's in keeping with what fan-contributed commenataries would look like. While this type of Picture-in-Picture commentary could have been put on the disc instead, it is interesting nonetheless.
While better than some of their recent releases, the BD-Live section for this title does little to advance the feature or show off its potential. It appears that we'll be waiting longer for Warner Bros. to really innovate in this space. Perhaps they just need a movie that is more worthy of the production effort?
There is a second disc in the form of a standard definition DVD of the movie, which also contains a Digital Copy. I like the idea of including a standard DVD version with Blu-ray movies. This allows people to use the DVD in locations where a Blu-ray player is not available (such as a vehicle). I did not play the DVD to determine picture or sound quality or determine what extras were available.
Fans of the movie might enjoy the digital copy, as it would allow you to download the movie and enjoy it many times on your portable device. By inserting the disc into a Windows PC or Mac, you can obtain a digital copy of the movie for playback on your PSP, PC, Mac, or iPod. I didn't explore this option, so I can't comment on the picture or sound quality. The documentation says that the Digital Copy must be redeemed by 8/11/2010.
This disc is BD-J formatted, and our PlayStation 3 was able to support auto-resuming the movie if the disc is not ejected. Bookmarking is not supported. Since some Blu-ray discs are equipped with the ability to resume playback (Disney releases, such as High School Musical 3, have this), it would be nice for all studios to include such a feature. This is one of the biggest usability problems with the Blu-ray format that studios need to recognize and support.
While the marketing for this movie surrounds Zac Efron, it's actually the performances of the supporting characters that make this movie worthwhile. Fans of Zac will no doubt be happy, but even if you don't count yourself among his greatest fans, you'll enjoy this movie. Do the extras justify buying over renting? That's a tough call, but there is enough here that the prospect of repeat viewings make it worth the purchase. Otherwise, renting is probably the better way to go.
The fact that Warner Bros. has included a standard definition DVD is promising, and I hope that they continue to do this on more releases in the future. That makes owning the disc a better value, since you had a high definition version for the best viewing experience, and you have the DVD for places you may not have an HD player. If you like this movie, you'll appreciate having that second copy to take on trips, to re-watch scenes while commuting, etc.
If you're not sure about buying this title, put it on your Netflix list or rent it via the Video-on-demand services listed above and check it out for yourself!
Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the disc.
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