My Big Fat Greek Wedding 10th Anniversary Edition
1080P in MPEG-4 AVC @ 32Mbs AWBR
1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
DTS-HD Audio 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1
Includes DVD and VuDu digital copy
The (back) Story:
It seems like a very long time ago when “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” took to the screen. There are a lot of different ways people remember the film. You can remember it as the most successful romantic comedy in box office history – racking up a staggering $241 Million, $368M worldwide. You can think of it as the plucky, independent studio film that is still the highest grossing independent film of all time.
Maybe you remember it as the only film where it’s first real open is 5 times smaller than the week 37 gross ($1M Open, $5.13M in week 37). Or maybe you think of it as the film that got stuck in years of lawsuits over profits as studios asserted that a film that was made for $5M, with a global total box office of more than $600M somehow managed to lose money and went through years of lawsuits sorting out if it actually managed to break even.
But My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of the few romantic comedies that I have always found amazingly well written with its heart firmly in the right place. Too many romantic comedies right now either turn into sex-romps or delve into oddball situations that people simply do not find plausible. But My Big Fat Greek Wedding avoids so many of those problems. The film is helped by the fact that it comes from a true story, the real courtship and marriage of the scriptwriter and lead actor, Nia Vardalos.
That feeling of authenticity surrounds the film and it makes the in jokes both funny and real, and on so many levels, it just works. I know there are a lot of detractors of the film, but the reason why this film succeeded isn’t because it’s a perfect technical effort or because the jokes are over the top hysterical.. it’s because people find a lot of moments within this film to relate to them or someone they know.
The Story 5/5:
There, I’ve explained why the story works, but the story itself for me is easily one of the best for a romantic comedy in my memory. Maybe I’m a bit tainted having once had a crush on a young greek girl, or maybe it’s because I come from a very large family who is always around, but the sheer concept of this film works for me. The story is in most ways a straightforward love story: girl regrets choices; girl sees boy; girl chases boy; girl gets boy. But what makes this go beyond that formula is how well defined so many characters are.
From a father who works for his children to be proud of their heritage while believing Windex is the cure-all for almost any ailment, to a mother who knows the perfect way to manipulate her husband into feeling as though he has the right ideas.
The film has typical self-doubt and worries, but it never goes to a place that seems phony or for effect. Because of that, it’s a film that ten years later still has a lot of appeal and never feels dated.
The Video 4/5:
Video is encoded in MPEG4 @ a AWBR of 36Mbps with a high of 38Mbps. This is a really solid encode and frankly, for a film shot so cheaply, I’m surprised this looks so good. As with the DVD, the opening segments present quite a bit of film grain.. but later segments look very good in comparison to prior releases. This will not be a pristine print, and there are scenes with film grain, but the film itself holds up incredibly well, and it looks the best I’ve seen it on Blu. The transfer delivers a rich look that does a great job getting the film across. If you’re judging this film against newer, digitally shot faire you’ll probably not appreciate how much better this really looks in comparison to my DVD copy. But this is a significant upgrade, it looks cleaner, fresher with better color and that’s all I can really desire of a release like this.
The Audio 4.5/5
If you are watching this film for audio expecting explosions or big chase scenes, you are after the wrong film. But the DTS-HD 5.1 mix on this disc is quite good, especially considering this film was released in Dolby Stereo in the theaters, and the Dolby Digital mix on the DVD seemed fairly thin to me. Dialog is crisp and clear, and the underlying soundtrack is faithfully rendered in all channels without ever sabotaging the dialog.
This is the kind of film that I would refer to as “a talkie”, lots of dialog, lots of whispering and quiet moments and they are all delivered effectively thanks to the DTS mix here.
The Extras 2/5
For all the positives of this disc, the extras are most certainly a let down. Provided on two discs, Blu-Ray, DVD and a a VuDu digital copy included.
A Look Back at “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” – HD 1080P in MPEG4 at an AWBR of 32.2Mbps, High of 39.1Mbps, DTS 5.1 Audio. This really is your only “new” extra. It’s a look back at the creation of the film, as done by Nia Vardalos and features John Corbett talking about how they got the film made and the rise from a small indy film to a monster hit. This is surprisingly warming and fun, and it’s an extra I really enjoyed.
Deleted Scenes – 7:18, 1080P in MPEG4 at an AWBR of 32Mbps, high of 39Mbps, DTS 5.1 Audo. These deleted scenes and extended takes of scenes are interesting and at times funny, but there isn’t really anything to give them connectivity it’s just one long reel of outtakes.
Audio Commentary by Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, and director Joel Zwick. This is the exact same audio track as present on the 2003 issued DVD
Somehow, for a 10th Anniversary Edition of a film that was this big of a box office success I had expected a bit more on the original extras. The Look back at “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” talks about how it was the stage show that lured people in and we see clips so there is obviously video; more of that would have been good. Frankly, there are a lot of extras that seem like a natural fit for this that just don’t materialize.
Again, this is a disc that you buy for the movie, not the extras but you’d hope they would put a bit more effort into making a special edition … special.
Final thoughts: 4/5
I really wanted to give this a higher final rating than a 4. For a lot of people, this is going to be an immediate buy just because of the connection to the main movie. But I have to knock it down a bit as the real lack of extras hurts a film that is setup as a special 10th anniversary edition. Don’t get me wrong, to me this film is in my top five romantic comedies. It’s a great film full of good hearted laughs and a lot of real inside jokes that are both funny and endearing. I doubt anyone would regret a purchase of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But I do wish HBO had done a better job with such a lucrative property of providing a reason for people to buy it immediately with more than the paltry extras they provide.