Hangover Part III, The (US - BD)
Matt checks out Warner's new Blu-ray featuring the return of The Wolfpack...
It’s been two years. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) are happily living uneventful lives at home. Tattoos have been lasered off, files purged. The last they heard from disaster-magnet Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), he’d been tossed into a Thai prison and, with him out of the way, the guys have very nearly recovered from their nights prowling the seamy side of Las Vegas in a roofie’d haze, and being kidnapped, shot at, and chased by drug-dealing mobsters in Bangkok. The only member of the Wolfpack who’s not content is Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Still lacking a sense of purpose, the group’s black sheep has ditched his meds and given in to his natural impulses in a big way--which, for Alan, means no boundaries, no filters and no judgment--until a personal crisis forces him to finally seek the help he needs. And who better than his three best friends to make sure he takes the first step. This time, there’s no bachelor party. No wedding. So what could possibly go wrong?
I enjoyed The Hangover for the zany, anything could happen story and fast paced laughs but was no fan of The Hangover Part II, which was more or less just an unfunny and disgusting retread of the first in the series. After being let down by the second one I really wasn't expecting anything different with The Hangover Part III, but was pleased to find that everyone involved with the previous picture must have learned from their mistakes and this time around were attempting to do something a little more original. Instead of following the premise of the first two movies which found the main characters trying to reconnect the dots from a night of Alan inflicted binging, The Hangover Part III is more of a straight forward road movie with The Wolfpack getting into all sorts of predicaments and dangerous situations because of their association with international criminal Leslie Chow, who ends up stealing millions in gold from the wrong individual.
But all the surprisingly ways in which the picture doesn't conform to the previous two comes at a price, and the fact of the matter is The Hangover Part III just isn't all that funny, and if you're like me and find Ken Joeng's Chow character especially grating you'll likely find much of it close to intolerable. There aren't any "big laugh" moments where you'll find whatever dialogue comes next hard to hear over the sound of your own laughter, and the hit-or-miss jokes are spread throughout too infrequently for it to work as well as a movie calling itself a comedy should. It's as if the filmmakers where aiming to make an action movie first and a funny picture second, which is all wrong for two reasons. One, most people aren't watching a Hangover film for the heists, gunshots and high flying acrobatics. If you want something like that, well, Steven Soderbergh already made a whole trilogy of Ocean's Eleven films with megastars George Clooney and Brad Pitt that are more entertaining minute-to-minute than any of the ones in this franchise (to be fair the second one of those was pretty "meh" as well). Two, those more action oriented aspects of the movie aren't all that great, and without a lot of the humor that made the first film an enjoyable comedy coming on at a decent clip the whole thing is a fairly dull and flat affair.
I do have to admit I laughed a few times though, but most of what made those moments work was Alan's child-like and innocent take on the various situations the characters find themselves in, and a few throwbacks to the first film were nice even if they didn't really amount to much. The rest of the main cast are really just there to make sure the plot moves forward with at least some sort of momentum, and it'd be a stretch to even call them straight men to Galifianakis' brand of lunacy. All in all, it's a hell of a lot better than the last time these guys got together, but it's still not equal to their first night out on the town.
Warner Home Video presents The Hangover Part III on Blu-ray with a 1080p, AVC encoded video transfer at an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and the results are excellent. The film features a warm and over saturated color palette that does a good job of conveying the hot Nevada locations and mixes things up with cold steely blues when necessary. The video is largely free of any anomalies that might hamper lesser transfers such as aliasing or artifacting and contains black levels and contrast that are deep and even respectively throughout. Detail is also fine for the entire running time and I couldn't detect any sort of edge enhancement, macroblocking or banding while any type of digital noise reduction applied to the video is nonexistent. Being a big budget, newly released theatrical film the print used for the disc is pristine and doesn't suffer from anything such as dirt or debris that might hamper an older film making the transition to high definition. Overall this is an excellent and near perfect presentation of the film.
Warner's primary DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track goes along with the quality of the video presentation. The surround and LFE channels are all put to good use for most of the film's running time as the city of Las Vegas comes to life through your sound system. All of the high spirited hijinks and overly crowded city streets of Vegas give the sense that you are actually there with the Wolfpack, but it also doesn't deter from keeping the center channel's dialogue clear and audible for the duration. Much more lively than your average comedy track tends to be but on par with the previous films in the series, the audio presentation of The Hangover Part III was quite a nice sonic surprise.
The high definition extras included on the disc are brief and brisk and don't offer a whole lot of in-depth information pertaining to the making of the movie, but they are amusing and worth at least one go around, especially the extended scenes and outtakes.
- Replacing Zach: The Secret Auditions - An amusing little featurette (6-minutes) that finds director Todd Phillips holding secret auditions to replace Zach on the film with some familiar faces.
- The Wolfpack’s Wildest Stunts - A 5-minute look at the stunts of the film with the actors and crew.
- Zach Galifianakis in His Own Words - Zach pontificates on the film for 3-minutes.
- Pushing the Limits - A short featurette on shooting with animals and small children (4-minutes).
- Action Mash-Up - A 1-minute montage of action scenes from the movie.
- Inside Focus: The Real Chow - Another amusing 5-minute feature with Ken Joeng.
- Extended Scenes & Outtakes - About 10-minutes worth of extended scenes and outtakes from the film.
Also included in the two-disc set are a standard definition copy of the feature film on DVD and an insert with an UltraViolet digital copy code.
While I didn't like The Hangover Part III as much as I did the first film, it's easily better than the second entry in the trilogy. Warner Home Video has put together a nice Blu-ray release for the film with demo worthy video and audio and a nice, albeit brief and mostly superfluous, selection of extras. Overall this will be a no-brainer for fans of the first two entries in the series and a rental for those that felt burned by The Hangover Part II.
The screen captures included with this review were taken from the Blu-ray disc, but due to .jpg compression may not be a true representation of the actual high definition quality of the picture.
Review by Matt Joseph
Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
Release Date: 8th October 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French & Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extras: Featurettes, Alternate/Deleted Scenes, DVD Copy, UltraViolet Digital Copy
Easter Egg: No
Director: Toddy Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms
Genre: Adventure, Comedy and Crime
Length: 100 minutes
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