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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Hangover



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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted December 17 2009 - 02:55 PM

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The Hangover (Unrated)

Release Date: Available now
Studio: Warner Brothers
Packaging/Materials: Two-disc Blu-ray case with slipcover
Year: 2009
Rating: R
Running Time: 1:40:00 (theatrical version) / 1:48:00 (unrated version)
MSRP: $35.99

Video
1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1 Partially 1080i or 1080p high definition; partially 480i or 480p standard definition
Audio Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 5.1, French 5.1 (dubbed in Quebec), Spanish 5.1 (theatrical version only) Stereo
Subtitles English SDH, French, Spanish (movie and select bonus material)

The Feature: 4/5

Waking up in the aftermath of a bachelor party gone awry, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) can't remember a damned thing, including where they left the groom, Doug (Justin Bartha). Figuring out what happened at first proves difficult when the only clues are a disaster zone of a hotel suite, a tiger camped in their bathroom, a six-month old baby in the closet, and Stu's missing tooth. But evidence that Phil checked into the local hospital starts them on the path of retracing their steps and finding their friend. If anything, their incremental discovery of what the hell happened will prove it is indeed all about the journey and not the destination.

"The Hangover" freshens a well-worn premise by changing up the narrative chronology, and includes some well-deserved laughs during the search for Doug, but the final act feels rushed and perfunctory, as if the filmmakers were having so much fun (and it does seem like they were having it) they forgot they actually had to come up with an ending. Sure, we get a moment of comeuppance that's been building since the the movie's first minutes and the end credits include an entertaining payoff, but there's so much energy and enthusiasm tied to the second act, all of it tends to pale in comparison. Still, it's a lot more than can be said for many comedies that have come out recently, making "The Hangover" an entertaining movie if not a memorable one.

The unrated version of the film includes about eight minutes of additional footage that I found unnecessary. The majority of material consists of extended character exchanges. The final one, between Doug and his father-in-law, occurs in the last few minutes of the film and dampens the momentum leading up to the entertaining final discovery.

Video Quality: 4.5/5

The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. Black levels are solid and deep, and contrast, in general, displays the full range of values (a handful of scenes exhibit some mild black crush and there's some flatness to some of the interiors). Colors have good depth and fidelity, particularly in the casino settings, but also in the later desert scenes. The latter show some slight edge haloing, but given the high contrast environment, it's not surprising. Fine object detail is generally very good, revealing a healthy grain structure, and overall sharpness appears consistent between close-ups and wide shots. Overall it's an excellent presentation with only a couple minor issues.

Audio Quality: 3.5/5

The Dolby TrueHD audio track is front-stage dominant, the rear surrounds perking up mostly during transitional music cues. LFE follows a similar pattern, though one scene at the jail features some low frequencies for atmospheric purposes. Though mostly utilitarian, the mix does feature consistently clear and detailed dialogue with no noticeable moments of strain or distortion. Worth noting is I had to raise my receiver volume about 10 clicks above the usual level.

Special Features: 2.5/5

The set of extras is pretty superficial - the one item with the potential for depth (the commentary) ultimately being a disappointment for both its material and method of presentation. The rest is amusing, but unlikely to be revisited.

Picture-in-Picture Commentary with Director Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zack Galifianakis: As if listening to a "surprisingly dull" commentary weren't bad enough, you also have to watch it! The commentary has no compelling reason to be in video form and is another instance of implementing a feature for its own sake.

Map of Destruction: Visit the bachelor party's major stops through an interactive map. The majority of locations have behind-the-scenes vignettes associated with them. The others merely have a relevant snippet of dialogue from the film.
  • The Palms: Dialogue snippet only.
  • Caesar's Palace (1:36, HD): Experiences shooting scenes in the famous casino.
  • Strip Club (1:07, HD): Heather Graham and Ed Helms talk about preparing for their characters' first meeting
  • Jail (1:33, HD): Rob Riggle talks about his experience with tasing.
  • Mercedes Left on Strip: Dialogue snippet only.
  • The Bellagio Hotel: Dialogue snippet only.
  • Caesar's Palace Suite (1:12, HD): Dressing the set for the party aftermath.
  • Best Little Wedding Chapel (1:11, HD): Graham and Helms talk about their characters' motivations.
  • Desert Lot Mr. Chow (2:01, HD): Ken Jeong answers questions as Mr. Chow.
  • Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (1:02, HD): It seemed like it was about working in the hotel, but none of the soundbites seemed to relate.
  • Riviera Casino (1:53, HD): Experiences shooting scenes in the casino.
  • Hospital (:52, HD): Experiences shooting scenes in the hospital.
  • Mike Tyson's House (1:44, HD): What it was like to work with Mike.
The Madness of Ken Jeong (7:56, HD): Jeong introduces a series of deleted scenes featuring his crazy improv work.

Action Mash-Up (:35, HD): Montage of sight gags and pratfalls.

The Best Friends Song (1:23, HD): Full version of Stu's song in the car.

The Dan Band! (1:08, HD): Full version of the wedding band's cover of "Fame."

Gag Reel (8:16, HD)

More Pictures from the Missing Camera: Features a total of 100 images, some of which were used in the end credits.

BD-Live: Feature-related content includes "Cursing Mash-Up," a montage of expletives, and the R-rated trailer that featured Mike Tyson singing "In the Air Tonight."

Digital Copy: Download a digital file of the theatrical version for playback on a computer or portable device. Compatible with Mac and Windows.

Recap

The Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5


An entertaining comedy features an excellent video presentation, decent audio quality, but a superficial set of special features.




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#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Scamp

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Posted December 18 2009 - 10:30 AM

Cameron,

When viewing the film, did it pause for a few seconds during Mike Tyson's 1st scene with the guys in their hotel room?  When I watched my copy, it paused as Mike was turning around to meet the guys for the first time; it lasted a few seconds before the film resumed.  This has happened on other standard dvd films in the past as the film transitions between layers, but seemed unusal on the blu-ray, expecially happening at that particular moment.

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted December 18 2009 - 12:38 PM

It didn't pause for me.

A few seconds seems rather long even for a DVD layer change.

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#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Bobby Henderson

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Posted December 19 2009 - 02:35 PM

This is a "head's up" for anyone renting the Blu-ray of The Hangover. Watch out for copies with a big "RENTAL" label on the bottom of the front cover and the bottom area on the face of the disc. Warner Home Video is authoring different Blu-rays specifically for video rental stores.

The rental version of The Hangover has no special features at all. It gets better. The rental version plays a few forced movie trailers when the disc is loaded. You cannot chapter past these trailers. That function is disabled. You cannot select the "main menu" or "pop up menu" functions either because those, too, have been disabled. You're stuck fast-forwarding through all the trailers and an AXE Body Spray TV commercial. Then the movie finally starts.

Once started, you pretty much have to watch the movie all in one sitting. We normally do this anyway, but sometimes you have to stop the show and deal with a variety of other distractions. The rental version of The Hangover contains ZERO CHAPTER STOPS. Normally I only see this kind of silly nonsense with certain David Lynch DVDs.

Given the fact nearly all video rental stores sell excess copies of "previously viewed" movie discs, I would stay way way clear of any Warner Home Video product marked "rental." It might be worth renting once for many of the "unwashed" mainstream masses, but it is a flat out ripoff as any sort of sell-through product. Avoid it completely.


#5 of 10 ONLINE   TonyD

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Posted December 19 2009 - 05:48 PM

Are you sure it has no chapter stops, or do you mean no chapter choices in the menu?
The rental copy i had I was able to chapter skip using the remote but not with the menu.
This is the same with FOX blu's and maybe one other studio now for many of their releases.

This also removes extended editions of movies including the Hangover and the latest Terminator movie.

No extras, no extended option and virtually no menu other then language choice.

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#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Jeff Robertson

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Posted December 20 2009 - 06:28 AM

The Terminator Salvation rental is the same way. A trend for sure and not unexpected.



#7 of 10 OFFLINE   CraigF

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Posted December 20 2009 - 07:51 AM

^ Yup, WHV did "promise" us this some time ago. I noticed the de-contenting of big new-release WHV titles at the local Blockbuster (Canada) going back to The Dark Knight, but may have happened before that. Usually the rentals are just one disc now. The lack of supplementary content discs etc. sure does help differentiate a rental vs a purchase. In many ways this makes sense to me, but it sure isn't going to help Blockbuster's shrinking bottom line.

The Hangover was a release-day purchase for me. Totally a blind purchase, but not a deaf one. /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif



#8 of 10 ONLINE   TonyD

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Posted December 20 2009 - 08:29 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Robertson 

The Terminator Salvation rental is the same way. A trend for sure and not unexpected.
 
I mentioned that in the post right before yours.
Also this hurts sales at BBV of previously viewed but helps in other areas specifically shrink(loss) due to people only returning one disc in 2 disc sets and BBV never seeing the disc with the movie ever again.

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#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted December 20 2009 - 08:31 AM

I just watched this movie this afternoon. Very funny, highly enjoyable buddy comedy.

Thanks for the review.

#10 of 10 OFFLINE   felipenor

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Posted February 23 2010 - 01:24 PM

Could somebody confirm for me if it has portuguese subtitles? It doesn't say so in the back of the bd, but some sites say there are portuguese subtitles in this title.