Sunday, August 14, 2011

Paul - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray/DVD Release Date: August, 9 2011

I really liked Paul, it has a certain warmth and charm to it that just seeps into your subconcious and makes you feel good. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have a lot to do with that though both in front and behind the camera as stars and writers on the film. There is just something about those two that make you want to snuggle up with a loved one on the couch and go on journey with them. While Paul is not exactly the family film I am painting it as (it is rated R for a reason after all) it is probably one of the few films that abuse obscenities like nobodies business that still comes off as innocent somehow. If you are a fan of the Pegg/Frost duo and are looking for another fix then Paul should fill that bill nicely...just make sure the kids are in bed before you put it on though.

Review Vital Stats:
Format: Blu-ray
Player: Playstation 3 Slim
Monitor: Samsung 40' LCD Series 5
Picture Quality: 1080p
Sound Quality: True HD - English

A quick little note about the unrated version of the film that is so eloquently plastered on the blu-ray case. I have watched both versions now and other than a scene or two, of which neither was all that great, I didn't really notice any real differences between the two. If I had to suggest which version to watch initially I would have to say go for the theatrical cut because I never did and still don't have any issues with it. But with that being said I didn't really find the unrated cut to be a radical departure from the original version of the film so I suppose what I am trying to say is that you can't really go wrong with any choice here. But those looking for a different experience from the unrated version might be a little disappointed I think.

Excerpt from my original theatrical review:

I was one of the few that didn't find director Greg Mottola's Superbad to be all that funny. I actually came away from that film a little bit unhappy due to its inherent mean nature (granted that feeling is mostly due to Jonah Hill's character in it). His followup feature Adventureland was a much better film in my opinion but that general feeling of unhappiness still persisted while watching it. So when I saw he was the guy directing the next film to pair up this generations premiere comedy duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost I was a little weary because the last thing I wanted was to leave a film starring those two lovable blokes feeling unhappy. Thankfully due to their gift for comedy and heartfelt sentiment (plus their writing talents) I came away from Paul feeling very happy indeed. Despite the obscene amount of cursing used throughout the course of the film I found this to be one of the more pleasant and endearing films I have seen in a long time.

Read the full review here.


What's on the disc?

This disc is packed to the brim. It has been a while where I got fatigued from going through the extra features for a movie but Paul did it. Just about everything one could ask for is included here (with one major oversight that I will get to in a second). You have yourself a fun, lighthearted and interesting commentary with the director and some of the cast as well as over an hours worth of strictly behind the scenes material. There isn't one aspect of the production that was left out and you come away from each of these features with a good impression that everyone had a blast while making the movie. The one thing missing from here though are deleted scenes or more specifically one deleted scene in particular. Throughout almost every feature here including the commentary we see images of and here people talk about the original ending to the film but it appears no where on the disc. Usually this happens with a throwaway scene that someone mentions off hand but with this being about an entire different ending to the film I would have liked for them to have either never mentioned it in the first place or included it here in some rough form or another. Either way it is rather annoying but luckily everything else included here is pretty spectacular.


Audio Commentary - Director Greg Mottola is joined by stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost along with the duo's long time financier Nira Park and co-star Bill Hader for a little chat about their movie. Anyone that is a fan of the movie will find just about everything this group has to say enlightening and highly entertaining. As you can tell from all the other features as well as this track it appears as though this was more of an excuse for a lot of good friends and colleagues to get together more than it was a group of people going to work every day. This was an overall pleasant listen that shouldn't be missed.

Between the Lightning Strikes: The Making of Paul - HD - My only question with this is why did they have to split it into two parts? There is absolutely nothing separating the two other than the spot they cut them apart which appeared to be random...very strange. Other than that they were both fine.

- Part 1 (17:31 min) HD - In this first part you get to see some of the footage of Pegg and Frost on their real life road trip across America as they prepare to write the script where you can instantly recognize the genesis for many of the film's set pieces. Then it goes into the particulars of casting Seth Rogen and the struggles of how to make an special effects driven movie not feel like a special effects driven movie.

- Part 2 (22:35 min) HD - In this second part it picks up right where the first part left off and you get some miscellaneous footage from the shoot on location, a look at the hilarious floating Seth Rogen head that was composited on a rough cut of the movie for reference and with that the whole time you get this overwhelming feeling that both Pegg and Frost still geek out about being in the movie business which is a very pleasant notion.

BTS Features - HD - This selection of features is broken down in the following order under this section of the disc.

- RV Doorway: The Cast of Paul On-Location (20:03 min) HD - This is the usual assortment of cast interviews where everyone talks about how great everyone else was and how amazing the crew was to work with. It is all very cut and dry but unlike most interviews of this type I actually believed their sentiments were genuine here.

- Runway Santa Fe: An Interview with Nancy Steiner (6:02 min) HD - Costume designer Nancy Steiner gives a quick rundown of how she chose to dress each character and how she came about those choices. I have to admit that some things she pointed out I didn't notice until I watched this such as the fact that Kristen Wiig's character turned her shirt inside out after being shown the light.

- Smithereens (2:24 min) HD - While waiting for the huge explosion we get to watch the actors preparing for the big bang by doing their very best explosive sound effects for the camera which then ends with their reactions to the pyrotechnic extravaganza.

- 5th Date Level Direction: The Cast on Greg Mottola (4:43 min) HD - The cast talks about director Greg Mottola. Although they are sincere in their statements I think features like this are pointless because they are always the same. Everyone praises everyone which even when genuine still seems forced at times.

- Mexico Zero: The Locations of Paul (12:49 min) HD - A look at how much fun it was to shoot on location in New Mexico. You get some really neat nuggets of info such as a night of shooting that was interrupted by a real FBI investigation taking place and how scary lightning can be while on set out on flat land. And once again we get proof positive of the cast's movie geekness.

- The Many Pauls (9:08 min) HD - This covers all the different techniques used to integrate Paul into the movie such as the people that played him on set while filming along with all the fake Paul's created.

- Paul The Musical (2:28 min) HD - Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio and Kristen Wiig sing show tunes on the set.

- The Traveler Beagle (4:19 min) HD - Simon Pegg and Nick Frost give a mini tour of the RV used in the movie. With the vehicle being in the film more than just about any other character it really did start to feel like the fifth member of their road trip group.

Bloopers (10:51 min) HD - This is nothing more than an amusing selection of mess ups while filming. Fun but inconsequential.

The Evolution of Paul (15:05 min) HD - This must be watched mainly for the image of what could have been. Apparently Pegg and Frost wanted their characters to look extremely geeky and out of place and in some of the early test footage you get to see those early incarnations...and they aren't pretty. You also get some insight from the director on how much of a risk it was filming a movie featuring an all CG character that nobody truly knew how well it would integrate into the finished film.

Simon's Silly Faces (1:20 min) HD - Simon Pegg making a series of funny faces at the camera while on set.

Who the Hell is Adam Shadowchild? (2:10 min) HD - A montage of clips featuring the ficticious author comprised of scenes from the movie, outtakes, deleted scenes and some art work of his novels.

Theatrical Trailers - HD - This is a ton of trailers. You get all the domestic trailers, the UK trailers, the red band internet trailer, all the US television spots and the UK television spots which comes to a grand total of 12 trailers.

Galleries - HD - These were a little more interesting than I thought they would be but they are still exactly what you would expect as well.

- Photo's - These are broken up into four categories such as pictures from the road trip taken by Nick Frost and behind the scenes photos taken by Simon Pegg and Wilson Webb.

- Storyboards - Exactly what you would think, a collection of storyboard images from the film.

- Posters - A handful of different posters used in the films promotional campaign.

Final Verdict:

This is just a really sweet movie that if not for the more mature dialog featured throughout it would probably find a nice resting place in just about every family's movie collection. There really isn't anything wrong with its more vulgar tendencies, they just keep it from having any true mass appeal. Any fan of science-fiction, road trip movies, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost or all of the above will most likely love the hell out of this little film though and with just the right amount of nostalgia for the older crowd mixed in with the wit and humor for the younger crowd I can't see anyone taking any issue with it. The blu-ray offers up a nice crisp and clear image and a soundtrack that while it won't knock your socks off gives the proper amount of fidelity expected from the format. And anyone that is an extra features hound will be more than pleased with what is offered here which would have gotten a perfect score if not for the lack of that alternate ending.

Movie   -  B+
Video   -  A
Audio   -  A
Extras  -  A




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