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Blu-ray Review: Hall Pass - Enlarged Edition

Posted on Friday, July 1st, 2011 6:10 PM by Scott Jentsch

Front Cover ArtworkHall Pass - Enlarged Edition
Blu-ray
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
105 Minutes (Theatrical Cut) / 111 Minutes (Extended Cut)

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

The theatrical cut is also available from Amazon on Blu-ray, on DVD, and Amazon Instant Video.

Available 6/14/2011

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 AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 2.35:1
Audio:

Dolby Digital
DTS
SDDS

DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Other:  

Movie: BD-25 (x1)
DVD/Digital Copy: DVD-9 (x1)

Disc Contents

  • Upfront Ads (can be skipped one at a time, but main menu is unavailable)
    • Blu-ray Promo (AVC HD DD5.1 1:53)
    • WB Insider Rewards (VC1 HD DD5.1 1:18)
    • Tobacco PSA (VC1 SD DD2.0 0:34)
  • Movie
    • Theatrical Cut
    • Extended Cut
  • Special Features (AVC HD DD2.0)
    • Deleted Scene (4:27)
    • Gag Reel (1:59)
  • BD-Live (Present, but nothing unique to this movie)

About the Movie

Best buddies Rick and Fred (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) have both been married for a long time. They love their wives, but, like some guys, just can't help checking out every other woman who crosses their paths. Fed up with this habitual rubber-necking, their wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) take a bold approach to revitalize their marriages by granting their husbands a "hall pass": one week of freedom to do whatever they want, no questions asked. Seven days to see exactly what it is out there they think they're missing...or stop looking once and for all.

At first, it sounds like a dream come true for Rick and Fred. But they quickly discover that their expectations of the single life?and themselves?are completely and hilariously out of sync with reality.

A technical review of this title appears below. Check out the Reader Reviews page for Hall Pass to read my thoughts of the movie itself.

How Does it Look?

Still from the movie (not an actual screenshot)

I did not notice any artifacts like excessive edge enhancement or noise reduction, so nothing distracted from watching the movie. This movie basically looks like a TV show, so it doesn't make much sense to critique picture or sound quality too heavily.

How Does it Sound?

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is an example of the source material not living up to the potential of the technology available.

The surrounds are largely unused, which is odd. An obvious opportunity to create a surround soundfield presents itself when the boys go to a dance club, but the surround channels are barely active even though you are in a crowded dance club with music pumping and people everywhere. The absence of any kind of believable soundfield reinforces the "TV show" vibe that one gets from this movie, but many TV shows these days are doing sound better than some movies, so perhaps "TV show" isn't a good term to use...

Extras

Videos/Clips

This disc contains two extras in the Special Features menu: a deleted scene and a gag reel, totalling about six and a half minutes of material. They are presented in high definition, but with stereo sound.

The deleted scene is probably the best scene in the movie, which is maybe why it was deleted. Richard Jenkins steals the show with his performance, and the rest of the movie probably didn't compare well in the cutting room.

The gag reel is pretty standard stuff. Nothing amazing, nothing shocking, nothing memorable.

I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was disappointed to see that one wasn't included in this package. Being able to watch the trailer helps one to appreciate how the movie was marketed during its theatrical release, and it's unfortunate when such a simple and obvious extra is not included. Even if one couldn't be included on the disc for space or timing reasons, it could have been provided on the BD-Live feature, but was not. Fortunately, we have the trailer on our Trailers & Videos page if you are interested.

BD-Live

BD-Live is provided as an option on this disc, but even two weeks following the release of this title, there is nothing unique to this movie there.

Once again, it seems that movie studios cannot figure out how to use this feature that has such potential value. It is merely being used as a generic marketing tool for other home video releases, so there is no need to visit this section of the disc. At least Sony allows you to register the title for their Rewards program via BD-Live, but that's about the extent of it.

I continue to be disappointed with the lack of any valuable content in BD-Live sections of Blu-ray releases. It presents movie studios with an opportunity to provide buyers of the discs with value-added features that can be updated whenever they want, but instead, they are training consumers not to care. Why not provide the trailer via BD-Live if it couldn't fit on the disc? That's an easy one. How about a series of deleted scenes or video clips that would be released on a schedule. This would reward those who buy and keep the disc and bring people into the BD-Live section, where they could be shown other promotional messages.

Digital Copy

There is a second disc which contains the DVD version of the movie as well as a Digital Copy. The inclusion of a DVD version of a movie in the Blu-ray package is something that we encourage more studios to do with their releases. It provides an additional level of value to the buying consumer by giving them the ability to play the movie in other rooms/vehicles where a Blu-ray player does not yet reside. I did not view the DVD, so I cannot judge its video or audio quality. It contained no extras, just the movie and the ability to select a language.

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 via iTunes or Windows Media Player 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 6/12/2012.

Other Aspects

In a trend that we're seeing, and one that we whole-heartedly applaud, this disc supports resuming playback. If you stop playback and resume (as you would if you were watching the movie in multiple sittings), you'll be presented with a menu option to resume the movie or start over.

This feature is great for those of us who are not able to watch an entire movie in one sitting (especially since bookmarking is not provided on this disc), and I wish that more studios would implement it on their releases. Resuming playback is one of the biggest usability problems with the Blu-ray format that studios need to recognize and support.

Bookmarking is not supported, but the resume capability provides the most significant functionality that bookmarks provide.

Given that the music played such a large part of this movie, I would have liked to have seen the inclusion of an isolated score on this disc. It would have made for a nice companion, highlighting Quincy Jones' work and how it interplayed with the on-screen scenes. Considering that all the other extras are carried over from a DVD release done eight years ago, adding something new would help those that bought the Special Edition DVD justify the purchase.

After watching quite a few movie that were missing them, it's unfortunate to see the return of upfront ads on this title. I've never understood having a Blu-ray promo on a Blu-ray disc that you've already purchased. After all, if you didn't know about Blu-ray and didn't already have a Blu-ray player, you wouldn't be seeing the promo, so what purpose is it supposed to serve? Advertising on a disc that someone has purchased is a slap in their face, and I'm hoping that this is a one-time situation and not a trend back to forcing us to watch ads again. They can be skipped one at a time, but they shouldn't be there in the first place.

Conclusion

Unless you find this kind of movie to be completely hilarious and something you want to revisit on a regular basis, there's not much reason to buy over renting. At this time, it's not clear as to whether rental options like Redbox and Netflix will have this extended edition or just the theatrical edition, but given what I've heard about what scenes were added, I wouldn't consider the extra six minutes something to get too worked up over.

Except for the deleted scene, there are no valuable extras on this disc that justify a purchase. The BD-Live section is absent content of any value as well, so the prospects of new content are slim. This further discourages purchasing this title.

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

A copy of this title was provided at no cost by the movie studio/distributor for the purpose of this review. No expectation of the results of this review were set as a condition of receiving the item.



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