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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Meet the Parents



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#1 of 2 Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter

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Posted December 19 2010 - 01:25 PM

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MEET THE PARENTS


Studio: Universal & Dreamworks

Year: 2000

Length:  1 hr 48 mins

Genre: Comedy/Ben Stiller


Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


BD Resolution: 1080p

BD Video Codec: VC-1 (@ an average 30 mbps)

Color/B&W: Color


Audio:

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.0 mbps – bitrate fluctuates wildly between 2.0 and 4.2)

French (Canadian) DTS 5.1

Spanish DTS 5.1


Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish


Film Rating: PG-13 (Sexual Content, Drug References and Language)


Release Date: November 30, 2010


Starring:  Robert DeNiro Ben Stiller, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, James Rebhorn, Jon Abrahams and Owen Wilson


Screenplay by:  Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg

Based on the 1992 film Meet the Parents written by Greg Glienna & Mary Ruth Clarke

Directed by: Jay Roach


Film Rating:    2/5


Meet the Parents opens with a pretty funny joke by the filmmakers and composer Randy Newman.  As the Universal and Dreamworks logos unfold on the screen, angelic voices comment on the light glowing from the Earth and the kid sitting on the moon fishing.  Unfortunately, that’s about the last bit of solid amusement in this film.  The following hour and 48 minutes or so are primarily filled with variations on a single theme:  Watch Ben Stiller get humiliated.   This theme gets various triggers throughout the film, but the end result is the same every time, to the point that the film becomes almost excruciating to watch.  The story, based on a 1992 film written by Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke, simply follows Stiller’s character of Gaylord “Greg” Focker as he unsuccessfully tries to ingratiate himself with his girlfriend’s ex-CIA father (Robert DeNiro) before proposing marriage.  By the end of the film, Stiller has dropped about as low as he possibly can before the film gives him a relatively happy ending that doesn’t make any sense with what has been going on for the past hour and 45 minutes.   I suppose that fans of Ben Stiller and Jay Roach have enjoyed this film – it was a big enough hit to spawn two sequels – but this is definitely not for everyone.


Meet the Parents was released Blu-ray on November 30 along with its sequel, Meet the Fockers, 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   3 ½/5

Meet the Parents is presented in a 1080p VC-1 2.35:1 transfer that is apparently a re-encoded port from the HD-DVD.  From what I can see, it’s a good, solid transfer that has not been marred by digital enhancement.  Given the recent history with Universal Blu-ray catalogue releases, I think this is an example where the older HD master is in good enough shape that it can still stand up to scrutiny.  (Note that this does not apply to the sequel, which I’ll deal with separately.)  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 Parents 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.  The mix mostly lives in the front channels, as you might expect, although the frequent music fills all the channels, and there’s some atmospheric sound.  The only oddity here is that when I checked the bitrate for the sound, I noticed the rate wildly fluctuating between 2.0 and 4.2 mbps.  This didn’t affect the sound coming out of the speakers, but it’s certainly a curious issue.


SPECIAL FEATURES      3/5

The Blu-Ray presentation of Meet the Parents comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity and My Scenes functionality.   Some standard definition extra features are carried over from the HD-DVD, including two scene-specific commentaries, some deleted scenes and outtakes, the film’s trailer, and a few quick featurettes.


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. 


Commentary with Jay Roach, Producer Jane Rosenthal, and Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller – This scene-specific commentary (with Roach and Stiller in an LA screening room and DeNiro and Rosenthal in a NY screening room) is one of the only ones I know of for any film with Robert DeNiro in attendance.  That said, the commentary predictably features plenty of opportunities for crosstalk and laughter.  Roach goes over a lot of the same material heard on his other commentary.


Deleted Scenes – (3:21, 480p, Non-Anamorphic)  Here we have a pair of deleted scenes that would simply have featured two more humiliation opportunities for Ben Stiller.  They can be viewed with or without commentary by Jay Roach and Jon Poll.


Outtakes – (17:56, 480p, Non-Anamorphic)  What we have hear is almost 18 minutes of line flubs and crack-ups, most of which, surprisingly, come from Robert DeNiro.


DeNiro Unplugged – (1:33, 480p, Non-Anamorphic)  WARNING!  DO NOT PLAY THIS ITEM LOUD OR YOU WILL RISK INSANITY AND THE WRATH OF YOUR FAMILY AND NEIGHBORS!  Okay, that warning out of the way, I can tell you that this clip proves beyond all doubt that Robert DeNiro should not try to sing “Love is in the Air” under any circumstances.  Ever.


The Truth About Lying – (6:41, 480p, Full Frame)  This featurette, originally found on the 2nd DVD edition done for this film, actually deals with the history and reality of polygraph exams, with clips from the film intercut with footage of the real machines and interviews with real polygraph experts.


Silly Cat Tricks – (5:33, 480p, Full Frame)  Another featurette from the 2nd DVD edition, this one is primarily an interview with the cat wrangler/trainer for the film.  She goes into a pretty fair amount of detail about what it takes to try to train a cat to do the things that the onscreen Himalayan must do in this film.


Jay Roach:  A Director’s Profile – (1:16, 480p, Full Frame)  This is an odd item, also from the 2nd DVD edition.  It’s a quick assembly of glimpses of Jay Roach on set, to the sound of a series of character quotes from the film.


Trailer – (2:42, 480p, Non-Anamorphic)  The film’s theatrical trailer is presented here in standard definition.


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 Parents is a film that will entertain fans of Ben Stiller, as well as fans of the movies of Jay Roach.  For me, it’s very difficult to watch this kind of thing – I don’t enjoy watching a character repeatedly being humiliated.  But to each his own.  For fans of this film, the earlier HD-DVD edition has essentially been ported over to Blu, and if you’d like this for your collection, it is now available.


Kevin Koster

December 19, 2010.

 


#2 of 2 RobertSiegel

RobertSiegel

    Supporting Actor

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Posted December 21 2010 - 05:46 PM

Kevin, thanks for your review of the 2 films in the series. It is sad to see that Universal is using old HD-DVD transfers, not because I was against HD-DVD, but things have improved technically and they could do such a better job now going back to the negative and starting over. In some cases, like the Mummy films, Universal does an outstanding job, then we have some real junky transfers. One of the worst I had ever seen was the HD-DVD of Monty Python's Meaning of Life, which was worse than the DVD itself.


I am a fan of this series and find it hilarious, but you have to like the Ben Stiller sympathized character humor. I was hoping for better. I already purchased these and they will be arriving tomorrow, so to read this is quite sad, but still, it has the adcantange of lossless audio, and at least that is an upgrade.


Classics on Blu-ray is what it is all about!