13 Going on 30 (UK - BD)
Our Marcus learns the wise philosophy 'Love is a Battlefield' from a 13 year old
Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen/Jennifer Garner) wants to be part of the popular crowd, but she’s at the awkward stage of longing to be older but still being a kid and for Jenna, older means ‘thirty, flirty and thriving’.
On her thirteenth birthday her neighbour and best friend Matt (Sean Marquette/Mark Ruffalo) makes her a model of her dream house and sprinkles it in magic wishing dust. Then after a series of embarrassing events, Jenna closes her eyes and wishes with all her thirteen year old heart that she was thirty. When she next wakes up, guess what... she is.
I received this disc well in advance of the release date and in all honesty, could have taken my time getting around to reviewing it. The girls in my house (wife and two little girls) were having none of this. This is 13 Going on 30 after all. A much loved, much watched, dare I say ‘classic’ in the house of Doidge and even though I don’t share the rest of the family's heart on the sleeve admiration for the flick, I’ll go as far as to admit it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure.
Being essentially Big for girls, 13 going on 30 plays on the much explored adult life through the eyes of a child story. This includes the usual laughs involving the innocent perspective of a child on everyday adult life, the shock involved with having larger body parts and of course the heartbreak of realising that even though it seems like you’ve got everything you wanted, you miss your childhood, or in this case, you know you made the wrong decisions in your youth.
How 13 Going on 30 differs, however slight, is that rather than switching bodies or instantly becoming older, Jenna Rink wakes up thirty, and seventeen years have passed. She’s working for the fashion magazine she loved as a child, she’s got a boyfriend who loves flashing his genitalia about, she works alongside the queen of the ‘cool’ kids from her youth, Lucy (Judy Greer), and as she soon discovers, she’s become everything she dreamed of becoming (one sleep ago). Or has she? Something's missing. Where’s her best friend Matt? Why hasn’t she seen him since her thirteenth birthday?
Now before I talk about Garner, I'll start with Ruffalo. Generally most male leads in a chick flicks are just pretty douche bags with mildly funny dialogue and some kooky moments. Having Mark Ruffalo instantly makes this more accessible for a non chick flick guy like me. A good reason for this is because Ruffalo is for the most part playing it straight. His normal every day guy appeal from his more indie roles remains intact and it's a casting decision that works in spades. He’s helping out an old friend, you know how he felt about her in the past and it never once feels that he’s putting up with her bullshit, which let’s face it is the biggest anomaly in the chick flick. Usually I get to the point where pursuing the girl after their many, many , many aggravating moments to make the movie more fun undermines the character's likeability. Ruffalo never falters and considering a plot twist actually reveals he's engaged and actually happy with someone else (Lynne Collins), he and indeed the story manages to deal with this element with just the right amount of respect and heart without it ever being an element that should make him unlikable.
As for the lead, Jennifer Garner takes to this role with a real sense of fun and her charm is at least eighty percent of what makes this movie work as well as it does. Her wide eyed reactions to her thirty year old life is a joy to go along with, (even if it's a little hammy ala Jennifer Parker walking around her future house in Back to the Future 2 at first). Her delivery on the funny lines is on the money, even if some of the gags are a little flat in places (seriously, has the Eninem/M&M confusion joke ever been funny?) Her discoveries of this not so perfect life as a thirty year old are also sold with just as much heart warming belief as well.
Garner pretty much proves with this one movie that she can provide the whole package for leading a chick flick. She falls over, she does the Thriller dance, see has girly sleepovers listening to Pat Benatar and she does all this without grating or being too sickly sweet. I’m surprised she’s not taken more roles like this. I guess Witherspoon scooped ‘em all up before she got there.
Generally, the video proves it’s a worthy upgrade. A noticeable step up from the standard DVD and even touching on moments that show off what the HD format can do. Skin texture and tones are where it really noticeable with the freckles on Garner's cheeks being a prime example of the details captured so well in the 1080p transfer.
Colours are all pretty striking, especially reds. See Jenna’s red teddy at the sleepover for a prime example of just how vibrant they can get, though thankfully, this rarely ever becomes the hyper colour palette of the more recent rom-coms on Blu-ray and decides to keep it a little closer to natural.
Slight let downs involved a large presence of grain in some of the darker, enclosed scenes, whether it be a dimly lit room in the middle of the night or a quick elevator ride and even in some of the brighter skylines. The loss in quality is immediately striking compared to the rest of the flick, which is a clean, colourful, satisfying HD transfer overall.
There’s not really anything exceptional to report here, after all it is just a romantic comedy whose biggest action sequence is two people falling over after jumping off of a swing.
Saying that, I was impressed with how much of the eighties music on the soundtrack fit into the mix as a whole. Songs like 'Love is a Battlefield' and of course one of the films biggest highlights, 'Thriller' sound fantastic in the 5.1 system, using a good amount of bass and filling the room nicely, without feeling stretched out as can sometime be the case with music in a 5.1 mix.
Well before we even delve into what’s on offer, let me say just how irritating the sound when making the selections is. Talk about annoying, with its weird little chime.
Anyway, beyond that little grievance there’s actually a fair splattering of extras on offer here, even if most of them showed up on the original DVD release.
Out of the two commentary tracks, the one with the three female producers is the most fun. They chat amongst themselves about how good Garner is in the role and tell stories about what they got up to as teenagers and while it isn't exactly a commentary classic it's a lot more fun than the solo affair from director Gary Winick, which is just him telling you what's happening on screen.
Deleted scenes wise, there are quite a hefty batch, clocking in at just over twenty seven minutes and split down into eighteen different scenes. They mostly consist of extensions of existing scenes and are presented in pretty ropey quality.
Now onto the featurettes. There’s 'Making of a Teen Dream' (SD 18:52), which is clips, interviews and lots of fluff and there's also 'Making of a Teen Dream: Another Take' (SD 07:37) which is more of the same but a little more focused on casting and the music.
'I Was a Teenage Geek' (SD 08:01) is probably the most fun of the featuettes with the cast recollecting their youth with the added advantage of seeing some pictures to back up their geekiness. Also, as a bit of fun for all the wrong reasons is 'Fashion Flashback: Into the Eighties' (SD 06:50), which is a non film specific look at teenagers of the noughties loving the fashion of the eighties in all kinds of embarrassing get ups.
There's a 'Video Gallery' of stills from the movie (SD 02:07) and a batch of 'Bloopers' (SD 03:16) as well as music videos for the songs featured heavily in the movie. Pat Benatar's 'Love is a Battlefield (SD 05:21) never gets any less bizarre and Rick Springfield's 'Jessies Girl' (SD 03:17) isn't much better either.
Outside that, the big extra, that I don't recall (or didn't watch) from the previous region two release is the 'Alternate Beginning and Ending' (SD 11:35), which isn't too much different outside of the two young kids being different actors before a re-cast and a bouncy castle getting a bit of a sub plot.
Also included are trailers for Made of Honour, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Maid in Manhattan, as well as a 'Blu-ray is High Definition' reel and some BD-Live.
13 Going on 30 is genuinely a movie that’s easy to watch and on multiple occasions. Garner and Ruffalo provide much of the reason as to why this is the case, having a believable chemistry in a situation that could be considered closer to sci-fi than rom-com (I guess it must be good enough as it diverts attention away from the awkwardness of a thirteen year old girl in a thirty year old's body falling in love with a thirty year old man).
For fans, the Blu-ray should certainly be a consideration for the upgrade. With better A/V and the same features, all you need to do is get over the annoying selection chimes on the menus and you've got yourself a worthy replacement when updating your movie collection.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 13th April 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Italian, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 Polish, Dolby Digital 5.1 Russian
Subtitles: Arabic, English, English HoH, Greek, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish
Extras: Director's Commentary, Producers Commentary, Alternate Beginning and Alternate Ending, Fashion Flashback: A Short Film, Pat Benatar's 'Love is a Battlefield' Music Video, Rick Springfield's 'Jessie's Girl' Music Video, Photo Montage, Blooper Reel, The Making of a Teen Dream Making of a Teen Dream: Another Take, I Was a Teenage Geek Featurette, Deleted Scenes, BD-Live
Easter Egg: No
Director: Gary Winick
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer
Genre: Comedy, Drama and Romance
Length: 97 minutes
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