DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Mean Girls - Special Collector's Edition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Sep 13, 2004.

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  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]

    Mean Girls - Special Collector's Edition



    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 2004

    Rated: PG-13

    Length: 96 minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: English & French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, Commentary

    English subtitles; Closed Captioned in English

    Special Features: Commentary by Director, Writer and Producer, 3 Featurettes, Bloopers, Deleted Scenes, Trailers, Interstitials, Previews

    SRP: $19.95 USD


    Release Date: September 21, 2004




    Mean Girls is so much more than I expected of a teen comedy.

    Maybe it’s my advancing age, but I find that few teen comedies are worthy of my time. Granted, the target audience for these films is that of people half my age, but I still find that I enjoy the teen comedies that came out when I was a teen, in the 80’s.

    The teen comedies of today are so frequently lacking in intelligence, that I feel like I lose a few I.Q. points just by watching. These films go for the gross-out humor, and rarely have anything positive in terms of character development - which seems a shame given that teenage characters should have great opportunities to develop.

    After having been disappointed in the genre over the last few years, I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised by Mean Girls, a teen comedy with intelligence. It is a film that plays with stereotypes, but doesn’t cross the line too far into caricature territory; it has a tiny bit of bathroom humor, but doesn’t go for the gross-out gag.

    Lindsay Lohan (The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday) shows off considerable acting chops for her age in the role of Cady, a girl raised in African bush country, home schooled by her zoologist parents, and entering public school for the first time.

    Cady has a hard time fitting in, navigating the cliques - the jocks, nerds, mathletes, and others. She is befriended by a couple of social outcasts - those who refuse to be a part of a clique and instead embrace their individuality. When Cady is asked to sit at the lunch table with “The Plastics”, a clique of real-life Barbie wannabes, she is amazed by their meanness as well as their superficiality. She takes it upon herself to blend in with The Plastics, in an effort to expose these frauds to all.

    From there, things get wildly out of hand, but somehow manage to still have a ring of truth. The characters grow and learn from their experiences, which is what sets this film above the others of the genre.

    The film was written by and costars Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey and is based on the nonfiction book “Queen Bees and Wannabees” by Rosalind Wiseman. Lorne Michaels produced the film. Saturday Night Live alum Tim Meadows also stars, with Rachel McAdams, and Lacy Chabert. The film was directed by Mark Waters.

    Video
    The picture is displayed in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It has excellent contrast, with bright whites that never lose detail, and with excellent detail in the shadows.

    The picture has adequate sharpness, with no obvious compression or sharpening artifacts. Grain and noise are not issues in this transfer.

    Colors are true, bright and accurate, with an excellent level of saturation.

    Audio
    The audio tracks available are English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Dolby Surround. There is also a commentary track available.

    Frequency response on the English 5.1 track is excellent, with a solid front soundstage. Low frequency effects come into play mostly with music in the party scenes... your subwoofer will get a bit of a workout, here.

    Surrounds are used occasionally for ambience. Since this is not an action film, there isn’t a great deal of effects use of surrounds.

    Dialog is perhaps the most important aspect of this film, since it adds so much to the comedy. The dialog is always clear, full-bodied and intelligible.

    Special Features

    Commentary by Mark Waters, writer / actress Tina fey and producer Lorne Michaels.


    There isn’t a whole lot of technical detail revealed in this commentary, but the interplay between the participants makes it fun to listen to. They talk much about working with the actors, errors in script and continuity, the need to do extra looping to remove Toronto accents from characters who are supposed to live near Chicago, etc... The three participants poke fun at each other and themselves, and the small problems in the film. This is worth checking out.


    3 Featurettes (45:45)
    The featurettes are not anamorphically enhanced. There is a “Play All” feature.

    Only the Strong Survive
    This piece is all about the casting, and it features interviews with Mark Waters, Tina Fey, Lindsay Lohan, and much of the rest of the cast. A few of the actresses were tried in different roles before the right fit and balance was found. Lindsay Lohan was to originally play Regina. This featurette includes casting of even the minor roles of the film.

    The Politics of Girl World
    An in-depth interview with the author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” Rosalind Wiseman. Includes footage from the film.

    Plastic Fashion
    Costume Designer Mary Jane Fort discusses the job of costume design for the film.
    Includes discussion of the evolution of Lohan’s costumes as she transforms into a “Plastic” in the film.


    Word Vomit (Blooper Reel) (5:43)
    A pretty standard collection of line flubs and crackups... but, given that bloopers are so rarely included on DVDs, it’s nice to have them here.


    So Fetch - Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Waters, and Fey (7:00, total)
    Damien Rigs Table
    112, Excellent!
    Mom’s Underwear
    Shoe Shopping
    Tonight I’ll Like It
    Eaten by Cannibals
    Regina In Bed
    Norbury’s Car Explodes
    Cady & Regina in the Bathroom

    There is a “Play All” feature. In the commentary, Waters indicates that all the scenes were cut for matters of pacing and comedic timing.

    3 Interstitials
    Three funny television ads that feature original material not seen in the film.

    Theatrical Trailer

    Previews
    Unfortunately, these are forced trailers. You must click the chapter skip button several times after inserting the disc in order to skip these. I really wish that discs would not be authored with forced material.

    The previews can also be viewed through the Special Featured Menu.

    The Spongebob Squarepants Movie
    Secret Central Class of ‘05
    School of Rock
    The Perfect Score
    The Prince & Me
    Paramount Promo


    Final Thoughts
    I have to say that I liked this film. I gave it a pass in the theaters, thinking it was standard teen comedy fare. If you did the same, you may want to check this out on DVD. It’s a rare, funny, intelligent teen comedy. The DVD has a good transfer and about an hour of quality special features.

    Recommended
     
  2. Scott Temple

    Scott Temple Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the review Scott. I'm glad Paramount delivered a great DVD for this film. I'm really looking forward to seeing it again plus the extras sound like fun. [​IMG]
     
  3. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    "Would you stop trying to make "Fetch" happen?

    Oh what a funny film this is. Can't wait.
     
  4. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    I've heard nothing but good things about this, so I'm looking forward to picking this up. Thanks for the review, Scott!
     
  5. Gavin_L

    Gavin_L Second Unit

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    Thanks for the review, nice job [​IMG] excited to see the movie on dvd and look at the special features

    I saw this in the theaters and loved it, and will be picking it up next tues on the 21st..... All around fun movie with tons of laughs
     
  6. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

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    I saw this in the theater and really enjoyed it.
    It definitely is a cut above the typical teen comedy of the past few years.
     
  7. Richard Michael Clark

    Richard Michael Clark Second Unit

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    Have Paramount stopped doing chapter inserts as well now? There isn't one in my copy (arrived today from an online retailer).
     
  8. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Pretty much. I can't recall the last Paramount DVD I got that had an insert card...
     
  9. Allan^L

    Allan^L Stunt Coordinator

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    So these new forced trailers mean that Paramount has abandoned the option to go straight to the menu or watch the trailers? Star: Trek Nemesis and their other DVDs released last year had that option.
     
  10. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    This is only the second title I've seen from Paramount with forced trailers. It hardly means they've abandoned their former practice - but the trend is disturbing. We'll have to wait and see.

    -Scott
     
  11. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    You can chapter skip the trailers on this disc though. At least I could on my disc. Only an extra few seconds before I got to the main menu. Nothing to really raise a fuss about in my opinion.
     
  12. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I agree it doesn't merit a "fuss" - I don't call them "forced" trailers because you can skip them and the term "forced" should be reserved for items you MUST sit through, like the various disclaimers on Paramount DVDs. Hate those! [​IMG]

    Nonetheless, it's bothersome that Paramount's going backwards with their trailers on DVDs - they're going from more control to LESS...
     
  13. Steve Lockwood

    Steve Lockwood Stunt Coordinator

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    Will be getting this on Tuesday.
     
  14. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    My niece, who is in the target demographic for this film, is a big Lohan fan and her birthday is the 21st so this will be a no brainer purchase....while I'm picking up "Star Wars" for my self.
     
  15. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    Haven't watched this yet, but just getting around to opening it, been a SW week for me.

    There's a new security sticker on the long edge of my *Canadian* edition (usually [always??] same as U.S. ones re content for Paramount) that tells me to break off those plastic security tabs that have been appearing on a few releases lately. I thought that was a great idea!! Just mentioning it because I know people tend to hate these things.

    Picked up Mean Girls with Clueless in the 2-pack on Tuesday, and also got Heathers (recently reduced price here) and The Girl Next Door at the same time...anybody detect a possibly pervy trend here? I got these when I really went in for SW...talk about bi-polar purchasing.
     
  16. Ryan Wishton

    Ryan Wishton Screenwriter

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    I thought the movie was ok, but it was too obnoxious for me. Didnt much care for it and really wouldnt watch it again. I know that was kind of the point though. Not a big fan of the American Pie series either. I dont really know why? It's not on purpose. I gave them all a chance with an open mind.

    I just kept thinking spoiled obnoxious beyatches who need a kick in the arse. Not to be rude. I know it's sort of the point being called Mean Girls and all. I know. Didnt think it on purpose. Just sort of happened as I watched.

    I liked Freaky Friday (The recent Jamie Lee Curtis version I am referring to) much better and even Clueless better as well as others.

    Oh well. Cant win them all I guess.

    On a bright note. Lindsay Lohan once again gives a credible performance. She could possibly end up one of the few teen upcoming stars who goes on to Bigger & Better in the years to come. We shall see. Hopefully typecasting doesnt get her.
     
  17. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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    I enjoyed the flick in theaters and when I told my girlfriend this a few weeks ago, she remembered and bought the DVD for me at a local supermarket for $10. [​IMG]

    Good A/V presentation on the DVD, but I thought the extras were terrible.
     
  18. Dave_P.

    Dave_P. Supporting Actor

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    Picked this up blind and really enjoyed it. Kinda like Heathers-lite.
     
  19. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Which is kind of the point.
     
  20. Ryan Wishton

    Ryan Wishton Screenwriter

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    BrianB,

    As I states several times. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Still doesnt mean I liked the movie.
     

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