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Blu-ray Review: Observe and Report

Posted on Monday, September 28th, 2009 4:54 PM by Scott Jentsch

Front Cover ArtworkObserve and Report
Blu-ray
Warner Home Video
86 Minutes

List Price: $35.99 (Check Price at Amazon.com)

This movie is also available from Amazon on DVD and video on demand (rental or purchase), and from iTunes for rental and purchase.

Available 9/22/2009

Rated R

Click here for additional movie details, including the full plot summary, cast listing, trailers and videos, photos, reviews of the movie, and links to the official movie web site and more.

  TheatricalThis Disc
Video Format:
35mm
1080p VC-1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 2.40:1
Audio:

Dolby Digital
DTS Digital
SDDS

Dolby TrueHD
Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Other:  

Movie: BD-25 (x1) BD-J
Digital Copy: DVD-ROM

Disc Contents

  • Upfront Ads - can be skipped
    • Blu-ray Promo (1:43, HD, DD 5.1)
  • Movie
  • Special Features (HD/SD, 2 channel, VC-1)
    • Additional Scenes (SD, 27:11)
    • Gag Reel (SD, 12:17)
    • Picture-in-Picture Commentary with Jody Hill, Seth Rogen, and Anna Faris
    • Seth Rogen and Anna Faris Unscripted (SD, 7:38)
    • Basically Training (SD, 6:48)
    • Forest Ridge Mall: Security Recruitment Video (SD, 3:01)
  • BD-Live
    • Enabled, but not accessible

About the Movie

Seth Rogen is Ronnie Barnhardt, head of security at Forest Ridge Mall. He considers his job of utmost importance to the world and his crew of security guards to be his troops in charge of keeping the mall safe from all those who would do it and its patrons harm. That's why he takes it personally when a flasher begins to terrorize the parking lots and even flashes Ronnie's object of affection, Brandi the cosmetics girl (Anna Faris). When a police detective arrives to investigate, he sees it as a major breach of his dominion and an obstacle to his using this incident to realize his dreams of becoming a real police officer. This is a raunchy, dark comedy that is not "that other mall cop" movie.

How Does it Look?

Still from the movie (not an actual screenshot)

The picture quality of this title is good. The interiors of the mall are very bright and overlit, just like most malls. The exterior scenes are good, as were night shots. No visible artifacts or other issues with the picture quality were found.

How Does it Sound?

The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack isn't given much of a workout, but that's to be expected with a movie like this. Dialog is always understandable and music gives the surrounds something to do, while a scene in a firing range lights up the sub decently, if only briefly. While this movie won't win any awards for sound design by any means, it does the job.

Extras

I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was disappointed that one was not included here. Being able to watch the trailer helps one to appreciate how the movie was marketed during its theatrical release, and it's a nice extra to have. Fortunately, we have it available on the Trailers & Videos page for the movie.

The additional scenes are lengthy, mostly adding in even more raunch than what actually made it into the movie. Given the 27-minute running length, being able to track forward through them and maybe an index of the scenes would be helpful. The gag reel is 12 minutes of watching the actors mess up their lines, ad lib when they shouldn't have, and generally make mistakes and cause everyone on set to break out into laughter. Unless you find this movie hilarious, you're unlikely to find these entertaining.

The picture-in-picture commentary has director Jody Hill together with Seth Rogen and Anna Faris in front of the camera (probably three, as they take great pains to tell us in the opening minutes) watching the movie and making comments about it. Faris looks uncomfortable throughout most of it, Hill is wearing odd-looking sunglasses for no explained reason, and Rogen is left to keep things going for fear of everyone falling asleep. Like the gag reel, this isn't worth watching unless you really enjoyed the movie and want to bask in everything you can about it.

Seth Rogen and Anna Faris Unscripted shows the two actors trying to get through the date scene in the restaurant. If you don't get to this before you need to return the movie, you haven't missed much. This is another one for the fans only.

Forest Ridge Mall: Security Recruitment Video is a badly conceived idea of extending the humor of the movie by producing a fake recruitment video. It could have been humorous if it had stayed in character and had the people in it playing it straight the entire time. Those who have watched the movie would have found something that looked serious to be funny, given the events of the movie. Humor is subjective, though, so you may feel differently.

Basically Training is more your typical behind-the-scenes sort of fare that's probably the best of the extras. Rogen talks about how physical he had to be in the various scenes, and then others also contribute some of their anecdotes as well. If you can only watch one of the extras, this would be the one.

BD-Live

The BD-Live feature is touted on the jacket cover and there is a menu selection for it on the disc, but it wasn't accessible. I tried to load the BD-Live section several times over the course of the last week, and I was unsuccessful in getting past the WB circle equivalent of the "Windows hourglass," even though I was able to reach the BD-Live content on other WB titles consistently.

Considering that it is now almost a week after release, it's difficult to understand why the BD-Live service for this title is non-operational. I haven't been able to find a mention of anyone actually being able to access it, so I don't think the problem is isolated to our situation. If you have this disc and you can get in, please add your comments to this review and let us know!

Digital Copy

There is a second disc which contains a Digital Copy. 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 9/22/2010.

Other Aspects

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.

Conclusion

Before you purchase this movie or pick it up for rental, be sure that you have read the critical reviews of the movie first, so you know what you're getting into! This is not Paul Blart II, this is Bad Santa goes security guard.

Provided you know what you're getting from the movie's content perspective, the picture and sound quality are good, so it meets those expectations. The extras are a little on the thin and uninteresting side, but that's maybe because I didn't care much for the movie. Those who found the movie entertaining will most likely find more value to them. The fact that the BD-Live service is MIA for this title doesn't help things.

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!

Recommended Reading

Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the disc.

RentBuy


Check Prices on Amazon.com



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