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Feature


Dale Denton (Seth Rogan) is a process server. He spends his day driving about town delivering subpoenas or popping into visit his teenage girlfriend Angie (Amber Heard) at her high school. Also a major part in Dale’s day is weed, and today his drug dealer Saul Silver (James Franco) has something new, something special, and it’s called Pineapple Express—a rare strain of cannabis which Dale decides to purchase after his first sniff.

Pineapple Express
Later that evening, whilst sitting outside the home of his next job, Dale lights up his first taste of Pineapple Express but this time he gets a hit he wasn’t expecting. He witnesses drug lord Ted Jones (Gary Cole), and cop Carol (Rosie Perez) execute an Asian man. Dale panics and drives away in a panic, but not before being seen by Ted and throwing his pineapple express blunt out of his car window.

Ted picks up the discarded roach and knows it’s Pineapple Express. Unfortunately for Dale, it’s so rare that Ted, who’s mad about murder, knows exactly who’s been selling it and now Dale and Saul are on the run.

Pineapple Express was one of my favourite movies of 2008 and watching it again was a joy. Seth Rogan and his co-writer Evan Goldberg have created a movie that somehow manages to keep a fine balance between the action without the comedy suffering and vice versa. This is in large part thanks to David Gordon Green who brings his skills to the genre of comedy but Pineapple Express’s real success comes down to a damn funny screenplay and cast.

Pineapple Express
At the centre of this caper movie is Rogan’s Dale and Franco’s Saul. This is a buddy movie pairing that’s fits snugly alongside many a classic buddy pairings. Dale is essentially the guy who doesn’t even realise that they are buddies and Saul is basically the sweetest guy in the world who really wants to be Dale’s friend. How this plays out is pretty much like the relationship in a romantic comedy, with the moments where you know these guys should be together forever but somehow the plot just keeps getting in the way.

Rogan is on top form here and his run of great comedic performances just keeps on going. His delivery is absolutely fantastic and his realism within the crazy situations is really the x factor he has above many of the other actors in his field. As for Franco, his performance is one of my favourites of 2008. As mentioned on the features and pretty obvious from the movies first trailer, Saul Silver is inspired by  Brad Pitt’s stoner character, Floyd, from True Romance, so from the get go I was on board because I’ve always loved that character anyway. What Franco brings out for Saul is a character who isn’t your typical drug dealer even though he is on the surface. Saul is a sweetheart who loves his Grandma and he’s obviously intelligent, but beyond all that he’s a stoner. The comedy that comes out of his performance somehow just makes you like the character even more. Yes he’s funny, but it all just seems to add to the character rather than be a point and laugh at the stoned guy routine. These are just two characters I’d just want to hang out with and for me that’s one of the key elements of what makes a buddy movie pairing work.

Pineapple Express
Outside of the leads the supporting cast are all allowed to shine. Danny McBride brings plenty to the proceedings as Red, even if it takes a little while to really warm to him. The henchmen pairing of Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson is a nice little alternative relationship to follow though the movie and Gary Cole and Rosie Perez have a few good scenes together despite playing a pretty clichéd set of bad guys for this sort of movie (see the villains in Dumb and Dumber and See No Evil, Hear no Evil for more examples of this—it sort of just comes with the territory).

Pineapple Express is a blast from start to finish (a feat not always possible in a multi genre movie). It’s a movie packed with fantastic lines and dialogue, brilliant characters, one of the best fight scenes of the year, which includes getting hit by ashtrays, faces in cat litter boxes, lots of nut-punching and one hell of a final slam into a wall “This ends now!”. What’s more it’s got a lot of heart and the small moments between Dale and Saul and later on Red just makes for a feel good buddy movie that I can see myself re-watching a lot.

Pineapple Express

Video


The first thing that struck me with Pineapple Express is how clean the image was. With many of the scenes naturally lit and no real overuse of colourising or stylising scenes. The movie just looks gloriously natural.  Colours and details are all incredibly sharp with many of the warmly sunlit exterior shots being some of the best I’ve seen for a comedy movie.

Real standouts are facial textures and the details in the many of the location shoots that the story takes Dale and Saul to. The woods where they park their car look incredible in the afternoon sun and many of the back alleys all look great with their sunlit brick walls covered in graffiti. As for darker scenes, these also hold up pretty well with only a few night-time scenes looking a little, almost unnoticeably, patchy in places. Saying that though, most of the night scenes are still very well lit, especially when there’s a huge fire blazing in the closing scenes.

Despite Pineapple Express not being the most visually exciting movie of all time, there’s no denying just how great this HD transfer looks and beyond the tiniest of factors I can barely fault it.

Pineapple Express

Audio


Bearing in mind the majority of Pineapple Express is dialogue based, the audio does a great job. Everything is clear and crisp and the shouting in the many arguments all sound great.

As for the action elements, this is where the audio really shows itself off. The big car chase sounds as good as any big Hollywood actioner (though maybe not on the scale of a Michael Bay extravaganza) and the fights all hold up to what they are trying to emulate. The big show off is the closing scenes where there are gun fights, fist fights and explosions. All feel like legitimate big budget affairs and use the 5.1 set up to great effect.

Pineapple Express

Extras


First up you get a slightly extended version of the movie which runs about five minutes different. Then for the actual extra features, we get our usual great commentary from Apatow and Co., featuring Judd Apatow, Seth Rogan, James Franco, Ed Begley (for about fifteen minutes), Danny McBride, Evan Goldberg, Craig Robinson (briefly), Rosie Perez and David Gordon Green (as well as a few other brief inputs), who provide a bloody great listen along that’s full of laughs, full of stories behind the movie and just plenty of quirky stories that truly warrant taking up the time to listen.

Beyond that, once again an Apatow produced movie comes packed floor to ceiling with features. The making of (21:08) is a great watch with a lot of background to how the movie came about and ‘The Action of Pineapple Express (12:19) goes into how they designed and came up with the action in what is essentially a comedy stoner movie.

Pineapple Express
‘Line-o-rama’ (03:28) shows off the different variations on the gags as per usual and ‘Direct-O-Rama’ gives us an insight into some of David Gordon Green’s direction off camera. We also get a nice batch of deleted scenes (03:27) and extended and alternate scenes (21:06) as well as a great little gag reel (04:55). Adding to the alternate look at things, we get a look at the phone call scenes as well (06:25) which shows Seth’s character being happy and then angry, with the laughs coming from Judd Apatow standing in as Amber Heard’s character (who had not been cast yet) on the other end of the call.

We also get the fun opportunity to hang out with many of these characters in some additional footage that I’d imagine was made during the making of the movie between scenes or in pre-production in a form of finding the characters tone— which either way is all great stuff. ‘Item 9’ (04:17) shows a spoof U.S. government video from the fifties that shows the effects of three subjects trying cannabis for the first time. This includes some of the faces from Apatow movies, including Justin Long being funny as hell. ‘Saul’s Apartment’ (13:46) shows a number of the supporting cast hanging out in Saul’s apartment which is funny and playful. ‘Red & Jessica’s Guide to Marriage (04:12) is a nice spotlight on Danny McBride’s Will Ferrell-esq humour, ‘Stuntmaster Ken’ (03:12) is a great spoof using Apatow favourite Ken Jeong as a bad ass stuntman. Also there’s a weird little sketch/advertisement for Begley’s Best (05:43), which I’m assuming is a real product, but maybe not.

Pineapple Express
And there’s still even more to come. There’s thirty-two minutes of raw footage for four scenes, an ‘Injury Report’ (04:56) showing just how bashed up Rogan got and the stitches James Franco got running into a tree as well as a few more goofy elements.  We get ‘Rehearsal Footage with the Police Liaison’ (05:40) which speaks for itself, as well as a ‘Table Read’ (08:36) and a great snippet from the ‘Comic Con Panel’ (07:83) last year.

Rounding it all up there’s the fantastic ‘Red Band trailer’ (02:47) as well as trailers for Superbad, Stepbrothers (the other awesome buddy movie pairing of last year) The Wackness, Resident Evil Degeneration and a Blu-ray advert as well as Blu-ray Live which never fails to annoy me in its slowness. Oh and there’s a digital copy as well.

All in all another fantastic little package of features for an Apatow movie, the vast majority of which was a blast to watch .

Pineapple Express

Overall


I really, really like Pineapple Express and it‘s one of the highlights of 2008 in my opinion. Watching it again was a blast and anyone who’s a fan of the other Apatow involved movies, Seth Rogan projects or good, well written comedy in general should take a great deal from this.

I found this hugely enjoyable on what is my third viewing of the movie, in fact the only tiny issue I can really pick at is the omission of the M.I.A Paper Planes track which was featured so prominently and effectively in the film’s trailer which doesn’t show up in the movie anywhere (despite there being a good few places where it would have fit snugly).

This Blu-ray release is an impressive one in all departments and made viewings this movie that I already knew I liked, all the more rewarding because of it. This one comes highly recommended.

*Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release.


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