Video: MP4-AVC @ 29.1 AWBR, 32MB High BRA
Audio: DTS-HD 5.1 Presentation
1 Hour, 33 Minutes
The Movie 4 / 5
Jason Reitman seemingly has a soft sport for characters that are have something seriously wrong going on in their life that makes them basically unlikable - and yet, you find yourself still wanting to figure out how it ends. With Thank You For Smoking (a favorite) it was a lobbyist who looked at the system as a game; with Up in the Air, it was a consultant who fired people, but deep down had some sense of what they did. With Young Adult, Charlize Theron plays Mavis, a Young Adult book writer who's self-centered view of the world makes her probably about as easy to like as many of the characters in her high-school oriented book series.
Diablo Cody (writer of Juno, United States of Tara), gies us a script that really plumbs that level of entitlement for all it's worth; Mavis finds herself suddenly realizing she had met the love of her life years ago, in her small home town. She makes this stunning realization through the announcement of the birth of his first child - and realizes her goal in life is to break up the marriage, and claim him for her own again.
The film offers some surprisingly solid performances. Outside of a great performance by Theron, Patton Oswalt delivers a spot on performance as a voice of reason in her home town; someone who didn't catch the same lucky breaks that Mavis did, but took the opposite view of the world, able to find what makes him content without feeling the need to take it from others.
Admittedly, if you want a central character to route for, Mavis is not it; but Theron plays the role incredibly well, and this film does something that is actually pretty brave: Mavis never really becomes redeemable. She remans a fairly terrible person throughout the film, and never really learns from her adventure. There are a ton of films where a character is fairly unlikable, but it's played with a wink and a nod to the audience to get you to root for them, despite their actions that are utterly repellant. Young Adult doesn't do that - it basically plays it straight. Mavis is screwed up; and if you laugh, it's OK to laugh AT them, and not feel yourself obligated to back or support them.
Young Adult isn't a love story, and it isn't a story of self realization. The main character never makes that fundamental change to realize their life is screwed up. Young Adult is one of those stories that I call: a reverse feel good story. You don't feel good about any of the characters, how they end up or who they are; but you realize that you probably know people like this, and you feel damn good about yourself that you aren't one of them. The problem with a film of this variety is that it's normally something you'll watch once.. and not feel the need to return to again.
Vodeo Quality 4.5 / 5
Video here is presented in MPEG-4 AVC at a 29.1Mbps AWBR. The presentation is solid, with blacks appearing deep and rich and detail very well presented. Because this isn't a film with a lot of movement, and we get a lot of straight on dialog scenes, the high bitrate gives us some great views of the characters and their environments. The presentation is a bit soft in some places, but I found it completely effective and about as good as I could expect from this title.
Audio Quality 4.5 / 5
If you see a film by Reitman with a script by Diablo Cody, you have to understand that you're unlikely to get a lot of major action sequences, crash ups or explosions that people often use to say "this is GREAT audio!" But evaluating a dialog focused film means you have to appreciate it on it's own merits. Here, the 5.1 audio mix gives us a crisp and solid presentation and the dialog and I found the ambient noises as well as soundtrack audio gives us a nice presentation of the film. I never found myself straining to hear the dialog and the presentation was easy to get used to.
Extras 2.5 / 5
The extras on this disc are kind of slim. There is the normal directors commentary through the film, and these extra video inserts:
Misery Loves Company - The Making of YA - 17:27, 1080P - The cast and crew discuss the plot, and how it's unique to play a plot with a much darker tone where the central character isn't likable and doesn't really become likeable.
The Awful Truth, Deconstructing a Scene - 1080P, 6:33 - Diablo Cody discusses how Mavis's characters inner thoughts shape the filming of a scene to give and we go from the framing of the scene to a presentation of it completed.
Q&A of Reitman and Maslin at the Burns Center - 46 Minutes, 1080P - the two discuss pretty much everything about the film, from how it was chosen to the smaller elements of the film; discussion of Reitman's other works, Diablo Cody as a partner in production, and a broad array of other topics.
Deleted Scenes - 7:01 - Several scenes that were deleted or trimmed from the film.
UltraViolet Digital Code - An ultraviolet digital download code is also included
In Summary: 4 / 5
Young Adult is a film that falls into a different category for me - I enjoyed watching it once. I don't know if I will ever find myself going back to watch through it again. This doesn't make it a bad film, in fact, there are many great films that I've seen exactly one time and have no desire to see again, but would still consider them great films. In some cases, it's due to the subject matter or issue at hand.. sometimes it's just because a film doesn't fall into that rewatchable category. Young Adult is a good film, great production values, solid performances. If you're a fan of Cody or Reitman, this should be in your collection. But if you buy Blu-Ray for a film you'll watch repeatedly this is unlikely to fall into that category. Still, I have no problem recommending this for a an audition for all, and a clear buy for fans.