Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Meet the Fockers

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Kevin EK, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    MEET THE FOCKERS


    Studio: Universal & Dreamworks

    Year: 2004

    Length:  1 hr 56 mins

    Genre: Comedy/Ben Stiller


    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


    BD Resolution: 1080p

    BD Video Codec: VC-1 (@ an average 29 mbps)

    Color/B&W: Color


    Audio:

    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 4.0 mbps – some music sections take it up to 5.1)

    French DTS 5.1

    Spanish DTS 5.1


    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish


    Film Rating: PG-13 (Crude and Sexual Humor, Language and a Brief Drug Reference)


    Release Date: November 30, 2010


    Starring:  Robert DeNiro Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner and Teri Polo


    Screenplay by:  Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg

    Story by:  Jim Herzfeld and Marc Hyman

    Directed by: Jay Roach


    Film Rating:    2 ½/5


    Meet the Fockers is actually a little more tolerable than the first film of this series, primarily due to a shift in the story’s emphasis, and to the addition of Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand to the ensemble, both of whom effortlessly bring an unforced comic sensibility into the proceedings.  The change in emphasis is equally important.  Where in the first film, the idea was to find as many ways to humiliate Ben Stiller’s Gaylord Focker as possible, the idea here is more tempered.  Where Focker was the odd man out before, this time the one on the outside is Robert DeNiro’s Jack Byrnes.   While Byrnes’ wife and daughter adapt well to their new impending in-laws, DeNiro’s character just can’t swallow the idea, and therein lies the obvious hook for a series of escalating set pieces where Byrnes tries to expose embarrassing truths about Focker, only to embarrass both men in the process.  This still allows for a couple of fairly uncomfortable scenes of Ben Stiller getting humiliated, but there’s a lot less meanness this time around.  And at the same time, there’s some fun business with DeNiro operating a futuristic spy center out of his RV and Barbra Streisand offering sex advice to the Byrnes.  This still isn’t a film I would go out of my way to normally see, but this one at least earns its happy ending, and it’s mostly a fun affair along the way.


    Meet the Fockers was released Blu-ray on November 30 along with Meet the Parents, following past releases on standard definition DVD and HD-DVD.  The new releases are clearly intended to coincide with the upcoming release of the new sequel, Little Fockers.  The Blu-ray edition holds a high definition picture and sound transfer, along with the special features available on the HD-DVD and most of the features from the earlier DVD editions.  Further Blu-ray functionality is also part of the package, including the My Scenes bookmarking function.



    VIDEO QUALITY   2/5

    Meet the Fockers is presented in a 1080p VC-1 2.35:1 transfer that is apparently a re-encoded port from the HD-DVD.  But something was not quite right about that transfer, as a study of the reviews of the HD-DVD has shown me.  This transfer is not up to par with even the transfer given to the earlier film in the series.  The level of detail, of sharpness, even of color, is noticeably lower than almost any other Blu-ray I have watched.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say there is also a fair amount of edge enhancement.  In short, this picture transfer almost looks like an upconverted SD transfer rather than a 1080p HD transfer. Given that the earlier reviews of the HD-DVD also pointed this out, it’s fairly obvious that we’re looking at a simple port-over from the earlier release, albeit re-encoded into a new file.  I wish they would have addressed and fixed this before releasing the same transfer again.  I should note that I am watching the film on a 40” Sony XBR2 HDTV. If anyone is watching the film on a larger monitor and is having issues, please post them on this thread.



    AUDIO QUALITY   3 ½/5

    Meet the Fockers is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English, along with standard DTS 5.1 mixes in French and Spanish.  As with the first film, the mix is mostly in the front channels, but the music levels here are a bit more aggressive. 


    SPECIAL FEATURES      3/5

    The Blu-Ray presentation of Meet the Fockers comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity and My Scenes functionality.   Some standard definition extra features are carried over from the HD-DVD, including a scene-specific commentary, some deleted scenes and bloopers, a few featurettes, and Matt Lauer’s interview with the cast at the time of the film’s release.


    Commentary with Director Jay Roach and Editor Jon Poll –  Jay Roach and Jon Poll’s scene-specific commentary is carried over from the earlier DVD and HD-DVD editions. 


    Deleted Scenes – (15:45, 480p, Non-Anamorphic)  The sequel film has more deleted material than the original film, one memorable scene of which has Ben Stiller playing both Focker and his lookalike Chicano baseball player at the closing party.


    Bloopers – (11:03, 480p, Non-Anamorphic)  Here’s another 11 minutes of outtakes, although this time there’s a lot of wealth to be shared between Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro.  At one point, Hoffman looks back to the camera while standing next to DeNiro and intones “You talking to me?  You talking to me?”.


    Inside the Litter Box:  Behind the Scenes with Jinx the Cat – (4:02, 480p, Full Frame)  We get to revisit the world of the Himalayans playing the onscreen cat, although there’s also some tongue-in-cheek material from Ben Stiller about his feelings about working with the cat to boot…


    The Manary Gland – (3:05, 480p, Full Frame)  This short featurette deals with the story point of Jack Byrnes going way beyond the call of duty to nurture his grandson.


    Fockers Family Portrait – (5:54 Total, 480p, Full Frame)  This is a trio of featurettes/interviews with Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand and Ben Stiller about their characters.


    The Adventures of a Baby Wrangler – (5:32, 480p, Full Frame)  This featurette deals with the young kids used to play Byrnes’ grandson in the film..


    Matt Lauer Meets the Fockers – (7:57, 480p, Full Frame)  Matt Lauer’s interview with the cast from the time of the film’s release is presented here.


    BD-Live - The more general BD-Live screen is accessible via the menu, which makes various online materials available, including tickers, trailers and special events. 


    My Scenes - The usual bookmarking feature is included here.


    The film and the special features are subtitled in English, French and Spanish.  The usual pop-up menu is present, along with a complete chapter menu. 



    IN THE END...

    Meet the Fockers is a film that is certainly more accessible than its predecessor in the series.  There’s more fun to be had here, and the addition of Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand is a great idea that makes the whole thing go down much easier.  My only problem with this Blu-ray is the picture transfer, the low quality of which simply doesn’t make sense.  If fans of the movie want to buy this Blu-ray, I strongly recommend renting first, just to check the picture quality – it may not be that much better than the original DVD.


    Kevin Koster

    December 19, 2010. 

     
  2. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    Isn't it sad that Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand (not to mention Robert DeNiro and Blythe Danner) have been reduced to supporting roles in Ben Stiller movies?
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Yeah, they must have all felt really bad being in a movie that was either the biggest or one of the biggest hits of all of their careers.
     
  4. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Making no further comment about the quality of this film, I think it's safe to say that this was one of the actors' biggest earners in terms of money in today's dollars. I think the addition of Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand to the film in meaningful roles also played into it. And having Robert DeNiro in a comedic role was a big part of the box office of the first film, just as it was for Analyze This.


    Streisand certainly had many big hits in her career, leading into her directorial career. I understand that she did this film because she thought it would be fun, and it was the first time in years she had considered acting in a film she didn't also produce and direct.


    Hoffman and DeNiro also have had many hits in their careers, as well as many critical hits that have lasted longer in our memories than many top box office players from the 70s and 80s. I believe that both of them were happy to work on something lighter and funnier than the more difficult material they've done earlier in their careers. And as DeNiro points out in one of the outtakes, they weren't shooting very long hours on this film either. When you think about it, this was a pretty attractive offer for all of them - nice budget, big salaries, good hours, lots of laughs, and the movie makes a lot of money. Who wouldn't want to work on that?
     
  5. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    I agree. When you say "reduced to" it has the connotation of the actors needing the work and taking smaller, less desirable roles for the money. That doesn't seem to be the case here and they all seemed to be having a hoot (even if the on-screen results are IMO less than stellar.)


    As for it being the "biggest hit" or their respective careers, well these things are all subjective and change all the time. Inflation will always make recent films bigger hits in terms of raw dollars alone.
     
  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Inflation is why I said it was "one of" the biggest hits of all their careers. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie adjusted for inflation is the 120th highest grossing movie ever made. I didn't check but I'm willing to bet that even if you adjust for inflation, it's easily the biggest hit of DeNiro, Streisand and Danner's careers and it's probably the third or fourth biggest grossing movie (behind The Graduate, Tootsie and maybe Rain Man) of Hoffman's career too.


    EDIT: I'm certainly not saying that the box office gross determines quality but even if you're a legend in the business like DeNiro or Hoffman, it doesn't hurt to get another big hit under your belt since it is still a business.
     
  7. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    Supposedly, Hoffman got 7.5 million for 5 days work for "Little Fockers" That's comparable to what Brando got for his appearance in Superman (Brando's salary for that film would be worth more than 7.5M today but I think Brando worked 11 days as opposed to Hoffman's 5)
     
  8. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Hey, do they realize that "Fockers" totally sounds like "Fuckers"???!?!
     
  9. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    It should be noted that Hoffman was not even going to be in Little Fockers, as I understand it. His part was added during reshoots.


    And the question about the name "Fockers" is not an outrageous one. The filmmakers had to show there are people in LA County with that last name to avoid an automatic "R" rating.
     
  10. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    Well, that certainly instills me with even more confidence about Little Fockers. A key actor they paid an obscene amount of money for 5 days work who wasn't even intending to be in the movie being shot after principal photography was completed.


    Well that and...(spoilerizing to be polite about a threadcrap)


    being that I though that "Meet the Fockers" was god awful. Just seemed to employ every hack writing cliche to "up" the comedy.
     
  11. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    It's funny that people but down DeNiro and Hoffman for doing these types of films yet these same people never go out and see the better, more dramatic films that the two have been making over the past several years. Both have done some very good dramas the past couple years but none of them have done much at the box office.

    I thought Hoffman was held out of LITTLE FOCKERS because they wouldn't meet his price (but of course they eventually did).

    Either way, I enjoyed the first two films but not enough to pick up these releases.
     
  12. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Robert DeNiro has been in a few films over the past ten years or so that I really thought were good pieces of work by him: Particularly Ronin, The Score, Men of Honor as well as Jackie Brown, Cop Land ("You BLEW it!") and Wag the Dog, the latter three of which all came out in the same year - 1997.


    I've heard that Dustin Hoffman was good in Stranger than Fiction, but I haven't seen that film yet. The last film of his that I really went for was Wag the Dog. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Luck.


    You're correct that Hoffman's dispute was over the salary. People who have seen the completed film are saying that he and Barbra Streisand are in a handful of scenes - Hoffman is in 6 or so, and that the emphasis in the new film is really on Owen Wilson and Jessica Alba. I expect that the new film will be fairly similar to the last one, and that they'll try to make another one in a couple of years, if this one makes as much money as its predecessors.
     

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