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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF Blu-ray Review: Mean Girls

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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   PatWahlquist


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Posted April 01 2009 - 01:03 PM

Mean Girls (Blu-ray)

Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG-13 (for sexual content, language and some teen partying)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
HD Encoding: 1080p
HD Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1; Spanish, French, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese; English SDH+
Time: 96 minutes
Disc Format: 1 SS/DL BD
Case Style: Keep case
Theatrical Release Date: 2004
Blu-Ray Release Date: April 14, 2009

Cady (Lindsey Lohan) has just moved from Africa with her zoologist parents having been home schooled until this, her junior year. She finds it quite difficult to make the transition from a rural, probably native, environment to the high stress, image-is-everything world of the American school system. She meets a couple other outcasts, the Gothy Janis Ian (Lizzy Kaplan) and the out-of-the-closet Damien (Daniel Franzese), who teach her how the school works and who makes up each of the cliques. The most prominent clique is The Plastics, three girls, Regina (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) and Karen (Amanda Seyfried) who are the tops in fashion, looks and all the other components of high school royalty. Janis and Damien convince Cady that it would be great fun to have Cady infiltrate The Plastics and destroy them from within. Cady could assume the role, thus showing the world what a horrible and vicious lot The Plastics are. Cady adapts far too quickly, and soon she has become what the others hate, a fourth member of The Plastics. The Plastics revel in gossip and backstabbing, leaving Cady in some tight positions that threaten her school and social career, and force her to make some tough decisions about who she truly is.

Based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, and adapted and written for the screen by Tina Fey, Mean Girls is one of those rare teen flicks that’s actually good and funny. It ranks up there with Heathers and Election in terms of the way it portrays its characters: as vicious, conniving and easily hurt young adults not at all ready for the real world despite their actions. Mean Girls shares the truth of teenage anomie in the almost blatant history of Cady’s character: a girl who had been truly isolated growing up and now has to quickly conform or get out. She must learn to exist in the most ruthless tribe she has ever encountered and she draws great parallels between high school life and the behavior of animals in the wild. Watching the movie again after almost five years, Lohan’s performance still holds up, thanks due in part to Fey’s script and Mark Waters direction. Now, however, the parallels between Cady and Lohan are almost prophetic: fairly innocent young girl suddenly finds praise and adoration and just doesn’t know how to deal with it. Her ensuing life goes off the rails until hopefully she can dig down deep and fix it. By the end of the picture, Cady has come full circle, but we know Lohan still has not. Her talent is evident here, and I truly hope we can see her recapture what has been so publicly destroyed.

Movie: ****/*****

Note: I am watching this title using a Marantz VP 11-S1 DLP projector, which has a native resolution of 1080p. I am using a Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player while a Denon 3808CI does the switching and pass through of the video signal. I am utilizing the HDMI capabilities of each piece of equipment.

The Blu-Ray disc is encoded in the MPEG-4 AVC codec at 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The picture maintains a real world look with the colors remaining very balanced throughout. Flesh tones are excellent and you can notice the differences between the four girls, especially during their Winter Talent Show performance. Black levels are good and show a good amount of detail. Detail overall is good showing clearly the designs and patterns in the clothing. The picture remains crisp throughout, and it did not exhibit any edge enhancement or DNR.

Video: ***/*****

The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was attained by the HDMI connection of the PS3 to the Denon 3808CI.

I watched the feature with the Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 track engaged. A lot of the action is in the fronts since the scenes are dialogue driven. Once the surrounds come up (in the latter half of the movie), they remain very active: if not being used for environmental effects they are completing the soundstage for the music or sound effects. There are quite a few songs in the movie and they are all well represented here, with nice dispersion of the stereo effects and rich, deep bass to support the full tonal range. Panning effects are accurate when they are utilized. LFE’s come up mostly in support of the songs or to add some extra punch to the effects. Voices are clear and natural, as is the rest of the soundtrack.

Audio: ***.5/*****

Bonus Material: all items are in SD unless otherwise noted, and all the bonus material that was on the SD-DVD has been ported over to the Blu-ray.

Commentary with Director Mark Waters, Screenplay Writer and Actress Tina Fey and Producer Lorne Michaels: the three have fun with the movie adding in personal remembrances of the shoot and the project and, especially in Fey’s case, where some of the material came from. Still, they lack any enthusiasm, especially Michaels who barely speaks.

3 Featurettes: Only the Strong Survive, The Politics of Girl World, Plastic Fashion (45:45 total): pretty much everyone involved in the picture discuss the story, the characters, and the shoot. Again, it’s interesting to hear some of Lohan’s comments now after her public persona is so prevalent. This piece comments on the rest of the production including a good piece on the costume design and the work that went into the girls look and an interview with author Rosalind Wiseman.

Word Vomit (Blooper Reel) (5:43): the cast makes mistakes and goof around.

So Fetch: Deleted Scenes with commentary by Waters and Fey (7:00 total): nine deleted scenes with the two contributors explaining why they were cut.

3 Interstitials: Frenemies, New Girl, PSA (1:36): these three TV commercials feature some funny stuff not in the feature itself.

Theatrical Trailer (HD).

Bonus Material: ****/*****

I would not even relegate Mean Girls to a “better than average teen movie” badge as it transcends that mostly lobotomized genre and soars into the classification of “it’s a good movie”. It takes its characters seriously while still showing us just how “plastic” and fake teenagers can be. Fey’s script keeps us laughing, while Lohan shows she really has some potential as an actress if she can just get over her star. The supporting cast is dynamite as well. Paramount delivers a nice disc with a really fetch Dolby TrueHD soundtrack and some nice extras.
ISO "Lost" ARG prints from Kevin Tong, Olly Moss, Eric Tan and Methane Studios.  PM me if you want to sell!

All reviews done on a Marantz VP11S1 1080p DLP projector.

Displays professionally calibrated by Gregg Loewen of Lion AV.

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Jeff Whitford

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Posted April 01 2009 - 03:55 PM

Your link doesnt work
Jeff Whitford
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#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Rob Willey

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Posted April 02 2009 - 10:53 PM

Pat, stop trying to make fetch work. Posted Image
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#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Loregnum


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Posted April 03 2009 - 01:15 AM

thanks for the review. I will most likely pick this up since I really enjoy the movie. Doesn't hurt that McAdams and Chabert are very pleasing on the eyes. I also think Lohan does a good job with her role and Seyfried is a hoot.

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Scott Temple

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Posted April 10 2009 - 07:48 PM

A definite must-buy for me on Tuesday. It seems like it took forever to get this one released in HD, considering it wasn't released on HD DVD or Blu-ray Disc during the "format war" period from 2006 to 2008. I'm grateful that Paramount is finally putting it out on Blu and that all of the extras from the 2004 DVD are being carried over, but I'm disappointed that nothing new (in terms of extras) is being offered. Why no commentary track with Lohan, McAdams, Chabert, and Seyfried? That was a missed opportunity with the DVD and now again with the BD. Maybe for the film's 10th anniversary in 2014?
Lacey Chabert is so fetch!
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