Blu Ray Title: Knocked Up – Unrated and Unprotected
Disk Release Date: September 30, 2008
Rated: Unrated & R Versions available on same disk
Screen format: 1080P Widescreen 1.85:1 High definition
First theatrical release: June 1, 2007
Previous releases on disk: HD DVD and Widescreen DVD on 25 September 2007
Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Martin Starr
Sound Formats: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish and French DTS 5.1
Length: 2H 13M Unrated, 2H 9M Rated on one BD-50
Subtitles: English, Spanish and French
Note that some portions are modified from my earlier HD DVD Review.
Writer/Director Judd Apatow continues his streak of outrageous comedies with Knocked Up, a film that follows likeable slacker Ben Stone (Rogen) adventure in fatherhood when he unbelievably scores with and unwittingly impregnates rising TV star Allison Scott (Heigl). Allison and Ben couldn’t be further apart as far as interests, lifestyles, and ‘hotness’, but Allison has decided to keep the child and Ben mans up to the challenge, attempting to win Allison over in the process. Along the way Ben and Allison have to dig into who they really are and what matters to each of them. While this is serious stuff the laughs are nearly endless as Ben muddles through life unashamedly.
Of course these two don’t exist in a vacuum. Despite Allison’s recent success she is still living with sister Debbie (Mann) and brother in law Pete (Rudd) and their children, and while Debbie is full of advice, thing’s aren’t as rosy in her own life as she wants to think. Ben’s crew, while less successful, currently is full of schemers and dreamers who also happen to be stoners and web heads. The two worlds collide with Ben and Allison at the center of it all and the fate of their unborn child in the balance.
The fear of pregnancy is certainly one of the biggest issues in most young adult’s lives, and KU gives an interesting ride through the challenges and decisions that come with an unexpected pregnancy. While it was never preachy about it, the ‘health class’ type videos that accompany a few scenes make a point of showing how early in development the fetal heart beat can be detected and other milestones that happened long before Allison makes her personal decision. Obviously this is a very polarizing issue and that KU manages to handle it without making judgments about any of the possible outcomes while celebrating the results of the couple’s choices, makes this a pretty remarkable film.
Sound Quality: 3.5/5
While I lamented that Knocked Up’s soundtrack on HD-DVD was as front-focused as a film could be, here on BluRay it gets a full DTS-HD Master Audio and some tweaks to the mix have made it much more enjoyable. From start to finish the musical score tends to creep around to the rears now while keeping the majority of the dialogue and action on the front stage. The nightclub scenes now have a real kick and the bass is strong here especially but used sparingly but effectively throughout the film. The soulful soundtrack has some real gems, both in the commercial tracks that were chosen (including Old Dirty Bastard, the B-52s and Sublime) in addition to some really heartfelt additions from Loudon Wainwright. I normally don’t get too excited by the move to lossless tracks for standard comedy fare but it was well worth it here.
Visual Quality: 4/5
Visually KU is as good or better than I remember the HD DVD, with a sharp and even more colorful transfer of a well shot film. Noise, grain and other artifacts are all nearly nonexistent, and I never noted a single pop or scratch of any kind of print damage. The pixel peepers may beg to differ but on my screen I really enjoyed this presentation, if noise reduction was employed it was not visible to me in motion on my setup. Detail level is consistent with what I expected but this is not any kind of reference material. It is subtle, sweet and exactly how I envision a theatrical print of this movie would have looked, if not better.
Extra Features: 5/5
The good news is that the treasure trove of extras that were found on the HD DVD all seem to be included here, with a few extras I don’t recall from that version. The biggy is the U-Control selectable PiP which is menu selectable for every scene, although it is not clear to the viewer what each chapter’s content will be until you actually view it. Those who are really interested are likely going to have to give in and watch the whole movie a second time with the U-Control on autofire. The segments I watched were as good as or better than most behind the scenes interviews and they mostly focused on Apatow and the cast and seemed to be the same ones I remember skimming on the HD DVD.
Just like the HD DVD, For those who want more in depth on this film, it’s here in droves between a wide selection of featurettes and a full commentary track. There are also deleted scenes and some extended and revised versions of existing scenes, and it’s clear that the editor had good sense on what was actually used in the film. A collection of alternate takes on key comedic lines returns, this was one of my favorite features in The 40 Year Old Virgin and it scores big time here. There’s also a gag real of flubbed lines and on set hi-jinx. There’s also an extended topless scene which isn’t as great as it sounds and a significantly extended scene where Ben’s friend Jonah has a special moment with Allison.
One downer on the extras front is there are a couple of really, really terrible segments that has Apatow battling with director of Capote, Bennet Miller and another with him inserting other actors into the Ben role. These obviously fake segments were just entirely cheesy and should have been left off the disk. Other segments had Apatow talking about using his own family in the film and those had a lot more genuine feel to them but this one was just bad.
Some of the previous contents from the HD DVD were only available via the Universal website and those have been included on disk here. There are some production diaries, cast auditions and some raw footage included here. I haven’t come across anything from the HD that is missing and this BD has some stuff that wasn’t on there, so major thumbs up for that.
Overall: 4.5/5 (not an average) Recommended
Of the catalog releases that Universal has taken from HD DVD to BluRay, this is the first one that I feel really fixes things that were not up to par and really shows like their heart was actually in it, rather than just slopping things onto a disk and hoping consumers would take it or leave it.
This BD fixes the disappointing surround sound mix, and includes at least as good if not better Video Transfer to my eyes plus includes all of the goodies that were on the HD DVD plus adds some that weren’t on the original disk. What’s not to like there?
As for the movie itself, Knocked Up itself is one of those rare films that are lewd enough and funny enough to satisfy all of the guys watching while sweet and heartfelt enough to appeal to all of the women, and the subject matter is compelling, as it is definitely something that most have had to at least contemplate and fear, if not directly experience. If Anchorman, Accepted or The Forty Year Old Virgin was your kind of film, you will find KU to be just what the (neo natal) doctor ordered.