Hangover, The (UK - BD)
The so-called funniest movie of the year leaves Chris in a confused state of mind
Two days before his wedding, Doug (Justin Bartha) drives to Las Vegas with his best friends Phil and Stu (Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms) and his future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) for the bachelor party to end all bachelor parties. The next day the three groomsmen awake with pounding headaches and no memory of the preceding night, but worse still, their luxury hotel suite has been thoroughly trashed and the groom has gone missing! The trio must attempt to retrace their steps and piece together the events of their ‘missing’ evening in order to figure out where things went wrong, in the hope of finding Doug and getting him back to L.A. in time for his wedding. However, the more they learn, the more they realise just how much trouble they got themselves into.
The disc contains both the theatrical and 'unrated' versions of the film, with the latter running about eight minutes longer. I'm not sure exactly what was added to the unrated version to earn that tag (which is technically incorrect in the UK anyway), but I thought it was very tame compared to some of the comedies I've seen over the years. I certainly don't agree with the 'funniest comedy of the year' tag either. Role Models made me laugh a lot more than this film, and even Bruno made me crack just as many smiles. Comedy is a tricky thing to get right and one man’s meat is another man’s poison. While I didn’t hate the film it only really made me chuckle, rather than elicit the kind of belly-laughs I’d expect from a comedy that has received such positive word of mouth. To paraphrase curmudgeonly film critic Mark Kermode, the film is basically ‘Dude, Where’s My Groom’. None of the male characters are really interesting enough or repellent enough to differentiate themselves from similar characters from other movies, and the female roles are terribly underwritten (especially Heather Graham’s Jade). I hate to be that guy—you know, the one who goes against popular opinion—but I really can’t see what all the fuss is about.
Both versions of the film are presented in 2.35:1 widescreen (1080/24p VC-1), but curiously they are actually separate encodes rather than seamlessly branched. Each version only occupies between sixteen and nineteen gigabytes of disc space, with only thirty six gigabytes of the BD50 utilised even taking the extras into account. I don't know about you, but that seems like a lot of waste to me. I watched the unrated version of the film and the transfer was what I'd called competent rather than remarkable. Colours are handled well and look pretty natural for the most part, detail is fair, but not outstanding, black levels are decent, and the image is clean enough. There is some minor edge enhancement visible in a few scenes, but other than that there weren't any horrific visual anomalies to be found. The transfer definitely isn't going to be topping any end of year lists, but neither is it likely to offend the majority of viewers. It's just, well, bland.
The disc's primary audio track is an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 affair that gets the job done without providing any particularly memorable moments. Most of the action occurs at the front of the soundstage, with the track delivering adequate stereo effects and strong dialogue throughout. What little surround utilisation there is usually comes in the form of varied rap and rock songs, but there is the occasional discrete effect to remind you that you're watching a modern movie. Bass is easily the most memorable element of the mix, with each and every one of the songs accompanied by some very solid LFE. I'd like to be able to say more positive things about the track, but to be perfectly honest I'm really struggling to think of any distinguishing moments. It's the aural equivalent of beige...
Picture-in-Picture Commentary: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifinakis and Todd Philips appear in a video window at the bottom right of the screen to talk about the theatrical version of the film. It’s okay, but the guys don’t have the sort of chemistry necessary to ignite the track in the way that Kevin Smith and his cohorts do whenever they get together. There’s also quite a lot of dead air, during which the guys just sit and watch the film before suddenly remembering that they should be speaking.
Map of Destruction (16:28 HD): This feature allows you to visit the real-life locations featured in the movie, learn a little bit about their history, view some of the behind the scenes footage, and view cast and crew interview footage.
The Madness of Ken Jeong (07:56 HD): This is basically a little under eight minutes of Ken Jeong improvising more of his character's foul-mouthed dialogue. I can't say I was particularly amused.
Action Mash-Up (00:35 HD): Want to watch all of the film's 'action' scenes condensed into thirty-five seconds? Here you go.
Three Best Friends Song (01:23 HD): This is just a slightly extended version of the song from the car as seen in the film, if you fancy watching it separately.
The Dan Band! (01:08 HD): This is yet more slightly extended footage from the film, in which the band perform 'Fame'.
Gag Reel (08:16 HD): What can I say? It's just eight minutes of people screwing up by either blowing their lines cracking up. If you've seen one gag reel you've pretty much seen them all.
More Pictures from the Missing Camera (13:20 HD): Just a load of random still images featuring the characters in various 'crazy' situations.
BD-Live: The BD-Live features promise more outrageous content and the ability to download a Digital Copy of the movie. True to form none of this content is available at the time of writing.
The Hangover is an average film on an average disc. I really cannot fathom the love for this particular slice of comedy, which isn't all that witty or indeed gross enough to distinguish itself from any number of similar films. Even so, I know that a lot of our readers have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this disc. I just hope that they haven't set their expectations too high, because if it had been released in the first quarter of the year it would have long since faded from the memory. I know popular opinion isn't with me on this one, but I can only recommend The Hangover as a rental.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Chris Gould
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 7th December 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Dolby Digital 5.1 German, Audio Description 2.0 Surround English
Subtitles: English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish
Extras: Extended Cut, Picture-in-Picture Commentary, Map of Destruction, The Madness of Ken Jeong, Action Mash-Up, Three Best Friends Song, The Dan Band!, Gag Reel, More Pictures from the Missing Camera, BD-Live
Easter Egg: No
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Sasha Barrese, Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Rachael Harris, Mike Tyson, Mike Epps
Length: 108 minutes
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