THE HANGOVER Extreme Edition Blu-ray
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: Unrated (Theatrical Version - R)
Film Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes (Theatrical), 1 hour, 48 minutes (Unrated)
Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition Widescreen (2.4:1)
Audio: English Dolby True HD 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date: October 12, 2010
The Hangover is the story of a bachelor party in Vegas and its unexpected aftermath: the groomsmen awake the morning after to learn they have lost the groom, and none of them has any memory of what happened the previous night. With time ticking down until the ceremony, the men must unravel the mystery of the groom’s location. The hapless groom is played by Justin Bartha (National Treasure). His pals include Phil (Bradley Cooper), a juvenile (minded) schoolteacher, Stu (Ed Helms), a henpecked dentist, and the groom’s odd soon-to-be brother-in-law Alan (Zack Galifianakis).
The producers of The Hangover made the interesting choice in making the players in the bachelor party fail to remember anything much about their wild night. Thus, the film is broken down into "before" and "after" with the groomsmen spending the aftermath in efforts to unravel the mystery of what happened during their party. Some photographs survive to depict some of the sundry events of the bachelor party and that is pretty much all we see of the festivities; this is a clever device that leaves us wanting more, and suggests more, by leaving more to the imagination. It is very likely that a linear depiction of the events of the party would fail to convey the wild spirit that the filmmakers intend, and the snapshots demonstrate that sometimes less is more.
Todd Philips (Old School) directed The Hangover, which was a box-office hit in 2009 and has previously been released on Blu-ray and DVD in December of 1009. As the studio begins production on the sequel, this Extreme Edition is being released to capitalize on the popularity of this film. This Extreme Edition leaves out the digital copy that was included with the previous version but includes a CD sampler as well as a hardcover photo album consisting of 30 pages of photographs depicting the lost events of the wild night that is not remembered by any of the participants.
The movie is in 1080p high definition in its original 2.4:1 aspect ratio with the VC-1 codec. The content of the disc itself is identical to the previous Blu-ray released in December of 2009 and includes both the theatrical version and the longer, unrated version of The Hangover.
The picture quality is excellent; colors are vibrant and contrast is very sharp. Any DNR or edge enhancement is minimal and applied so judiciously as to be imperceptible, which is as it should be. There are no compression artifacts, other than some minor black crush. Overall, this film probably could not look any better in high definition, which probably explains why the studio did not fix what was not broken and make any changes in video presentation from the earlier release.
The English Dolby True HD 5.1 tracks do good service to this film. Most audio emanates from the front and center except for directional cues, ambient sounds, and music. This is a good audio mix with dialogue appropriately audible in most instances over background sound effects.
The special features include all of the following:
Picture-in-Picture Commentary: The theatrical version of the film includes a PIP commentary from director Todd Phillips and actors Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis.
Map of Destruction: This is an illustrated overhead map of the Las Vegas strip with "star" locations of the bachelor party’s wild night that can be navigated using the arrows on your remote control. All of the locations have an audio clip from the film that plays when you press "select" on your remote. Some of the locations open up a brief video presentation in HD with clips from the film and/or interviews with the actors.
The Madness of Ken Jeong (7:56): Ken Jeong (Community) is interviewed regarding making the film.
Action Mash-Up (0:35): Brief montage of action scenes from the film.
Three Best Friends Song (1:23): Alternate take of the song sung by the groomsmen on their drive to Vegas.
The Dan Band! (1:08): The wedding band plays their rendition of "Fame".
Gag Reel (8:16): This includes alternate takes and flubbed lines by actors.
More Pictures From The Missing Camera: This feature is navigated using the arrows on your remote control and shows snapshots of the crazy night that is curiously unremembered by the participants.
BD Live: This feature allows users with internet connections to access additional content.
New to this Extreme Edition Blu-ray are the following special features:
A compact disc labeled as a "Soundtrack Sampler" with the following 5 selections: Theme from The Hangover, Stu’s Song, "Who Let The Dogs Out" by the Baha Men, Stupid Tiger, and Candy Shop.
The illustrated cardboard sleeve also houses a hardcover photo album with 30 pages of photographs of the lost night lived by the participants of the bachelor party. The album is very well produced and is entitled "Best Little Chapel: The Unseen Wedding Album."
The Hangover Extreme Edition is a clever repackaging of a fun and entertaining bachelor party film. The video and audio presentation are virtually flawless on this reissued Blu-ray. Although we lose the digital copy from the previous Unrated Blu-ray edition, we gain an illustrated photo album of the party and a compact disc with dialogue and music from the film. Whether these new items are worth an upgrade to buyers of the previous Unrated Edition depends on how much of a fan you are of The Hangover. I remain somewhat indifferent about the CD but the photo album is fun to leaf through. If you are indifferent about inclusion of digital copies and have never seen this film, then you can pass over the previous Unrated Edition and The Hangover Extreme Edition is the one to buy.