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Wanderlust Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Kevin EK

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Wanderlust meanders onto Blu-ray with an edition that will certainly provide viewers with as much exposure to this movie as they could possibly want.  Hours of deleted and extended scenes are presented in multiple options, and that’s only the beginning of the smorgasborg of extras.  The problem here is that the movie itself just isn’t very good.  It’s a tedious affair, wasting the promising idea of a modern yuppie couple tossing it all to live in a commune.  This is material we’ve seen before in better movies, and unfortunately, this movie doesn’t have much to add to the conversation.  Fans of Judd Apatow films may or may not enjoy this.  Fans of David Wain’s other movies, like Role Models, may or may not enjoy this.  I acknowledge there are a few good performances in here, particularly Alan Alda and Jennifer Aniston, but it’s just not enough to make this a very satisfying evening at the movies.



WANDERLUST

Studio: Universal/Relativity Media/Apatow

Year: 2012

Length: 1 hr 38 mins

Genre:  Comedy/Commune/Judd Apatow


Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, (AVC @ 30 mbps)

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.0 mbps), Spanish DTS 5.1, English DVS 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Film Rating: R (Sexual Content, Graphic Nudity, Language, Drug Use)


Release Date: June 19, 2012





Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman, Kathryn Hahn, Lauren Ambrose and Alan Alda, with Ken Marino and Jo Lo Truglio


Written by: Ken Marino and David Wain

Directed by: David Wain


Film Rating: 2/5


Wanderlust is one of the latest Apatow productions, and it actually starts with an interesting premise.  George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) find themselves in a financial mess in New York when their work lives are brutally upended, and decide to start over again down south in Georgia.  After a quick stay with George’s repulsive brother Rick (co-writer and producer Ken Marino) goes downhill, George and Linda opt to move into the Elysium commune, a place they had stayed for a single night on the way to Rick’s house.  The movie then follows their attempts to fit into the commune, and then the various reveals of the reality behind what is happening there.  This could be fun material – it certainly has worked for other movies in the past, most particularly Albert Brooks’ Lost in America.  But here, the situation just goes rancid very quickly.  Scenes are extended to agonizing lengths.  The humor tends to come from making people as uncomfortable as possible, either by repeatedly confronting the audience with the sight of a naked Joe Lo Truglio wearing a giant prosthetic, or by confronting George in the restroom by Jordan Peele’s Rodney, who somehow thinks that this is a good time for a long conversation.  The few bright spots in the movie come from the performances of Jennifer Aniston (working very hard to try to make her scenes have some semblance of reality) and Alan Alda as commune founder Carvin.  A late scene between Alda and Aniston almost redeems the movie, as the two share the first moment one can think of as recognizably human.  But that’s not enough to make this movie watchable even at an hour and forty minutes.  Fans of Apatow productions may enjoy this, as may fans of David Wain’s other movies, but I can’t make a recommendation to any casual viewer here. 


Wanderlust is being released on Blu-ray and standard definition this week. The DVD and the Blu-ray share most of the special features, but there are some big differences between the two.  Of course, the Blu-ray release comes with both discs. Instructions for downloading a digital copy and getting an Ultraviolet copy are also included in the package. 



VIDEO QUALITY  4 ½/5


Wanderlust is presented in a 1080p AVC 1.85:1 transfer that nicely presents a variety of environments and flesh tones with accuracy and detail.  On a technical level, this is a good-looking Blu-ray. 



AUDIO QUALITY  4/5


Wanderlust is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, as well as a standard DTS mix in Spanish, and an English DVS track.  Most of the mix lives in the front channels, but the surrounds and subwoofer are frequently brought into use either for events like car crashes or for the songs and music that are heard during the movie.



SPECIAL FEATURES   3/5


The Blu-Ray presentation of Wanderlust comes packed with special features, including a “Bizarro” cut of the movie, a gag reel, a typical Apatow “Line-o-Rama”, a real featurette and some mock featurettes, along with the theatrical trailer and a commentary.  There’s also instructions inside the package for downloading a digital copy or accessing an Ultraviolet copy.  And of course, the DVD is included to boot.  The DVD doesn’t have the “Bizarro” cut or the trailer, but it does have a collection of deleted and extended scenes, some of which overlap with the “Bizarro” cut.


My Scenes – The usual Blu-ray bookmarking feature is available here, allowing the viewer to set their own bookmarks throughout the film.


BD-Live - This Blu-ray includes access to Universal’s BD-Live online site, allowing for the viewing of trailers online.  


D-Box Motion Code – An option is presented to use this motion code in sound systems that can handle it.


pocket BLU – This Blu-ray includes the usual pocket BLU functionality, enabling viewers with appropriate laptop, iPad or smart

phone integration to remotely control their Blu-ray player and access some of the bonus content from the separate device.  Also, a digital copy is available for download via the pocket BLU application.


Feature Commentary with David Wain, Ken Marino, Paul Rudd and Kevin Pollack (AVAILABLE BOTH ON BLU-RAY AND DVD) – This scene-specific commentary finds the group cracking jokes while watching the movie.  There’s some information that comes out from David Wain about the production and the casting, but a lot of the time is taken up with having Kevin Pollack do various impressions including Albert Brooks and Woody Allen.  I’m not certain what the value is of doing gag impressions in a commentary…


The following materials are presented in high definition on the Blu-ray.  If they are also available on the DVD, they would obviously be presented in standard definition there:


Wanderlust – The Bizarro Cut (1:19:59, 1080p, 2.0 Sound) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – This is really just a long collection of extended and alternate takes of scenes from throughout the movie.  If anything, it’s really a concise way of showing this much alternate material without presenting each scene in its own menu.  The compilation is started with a video introduction by Ken Marino and David Wain.


Gag Reel (5:44, 1080p) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON BLU-RAY AND DVD) – The usual blown takes and silly moments on set are presented here.


Line-O-Rama (9:10, 1080p) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON BLU-RAY AND DVD) – The usual Judd Apatow feature of having alternate line-readings and improvisations is presented here.


God Afton!   Behind the Scenes of Wanderlust (27:13, 1080p) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON DVD & BLU-RAY) – This is the only real featurette on the disc.  It goes over the usual ground of on-set video and interviews with all the principals.  In between the usual mutual compliments, some time is spent discussing and demonstrating the prosthetic worn by Joe Lo Truglio throughout the movie.


Penis Envy (7:41, 1080p) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON BLU-RAY AND DVD) – This is a mock featurette supposedly covering Joe Lo Truglio and his amazing prosthetic.


The Elysium Campaign (5:38, 1080p) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON DVD & BLU-RAY) – This is a mock featurette starring Jordan Peele doing his impression of President Barack Obama as he wanders around the set.


Wainy Days:  Elysium (8:37, 1080p) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON BLU-RAY AND DVD) – This is an episode of David Wain’s web series.  It presents a mock documentary of David Wain coming to Elysium and interacting with the various characters.


Theatrical Trailer (2:32, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – The movie’s theatrical trailer is presented here in high definition.


DVD Copy – A second disc is included in the package, holding the standard DVD of the theatrical cut of the movie.  It contains the movie presented in standard definition in an anamorphic 1.85:1 picture with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound in English and Spanish (448 kbps) as well as the English DVS track.   The materials indicated above are included.  There are also two extras exclusive to the DVD:


            Deleted Scenes (7:09 Total, Anamorphic) – Five deleted scenes are presented in their own menu, featuring various additional moments in the commune.  The scenes may be viewed individually or via a “Play All” option.


            Extended and Alternate Scenes (17:46, Anamorphic) – Eleven extended and alternate versions of scenes are presented here.  Some of the material also appears in the “Bizarro” cut on the Blu-ray.



Digital and Ultraviolet Copies – Instructions are included in the packaging for downloading a digital copy of the movie to your laptop or portable device, as well as for obtaining an Ultraviolet streaming copy to be placed up in the cloud.  The instructions include a deadline of November 26, 2012 for activation.  I note again that the pocket BLU online menu also includes an option for downloading the digital copy.


Subtitles are available for the film and the special features, in English, Spanish and French. A full chapter menu is available for the film.


IN THE END...


Wanderlust unfortunately wastes a promising idea and some good cast members in a movie that just rambles on too long, even at only an hour and forty minutes.  Too much of the movie is taken up with uncomfortable moments that don’t really pay off or raunchiness that doesn’t seem to have any reason to be there.  There are a few moments of redeeming quality, particularly with Alan Alda and Jennifer Aniston, but they are not enough to make the movie worth a recommendation to anyone other than a devoted Apatow or Wain fan.


Kevin Koster

June 18, 2012.

Equipment now in use in this Home Theater:


Panasonic 65” VT30 Plasma 3D HDTV – set at “THX” picture mode

Denon AVR-3311Cl Receiver

Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray Player

PS3 Player (used for calculation of bitrates for picture and sound)

5 Mirage Speakers (Front Left/Center/Right, Surround Back Left/Right)

2 Sony Speakers (Surround Left/Right – middle of room)

Martin Logan Dynamo 700 Subwoofer

 

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