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Blu-ray Review Wet Hot American Summer Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Todd Erwin, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer

    Apr 16, 2008
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    Todd Erwin
    XenForo Template Wet Hot American Summer Blu-ray Review

    Wet Hot American Summer chronicles the last day of summer camp for a group of counselors, told in a series of skits hung on a fairly flimsy plot. Since its theatrical release in 2001, the movie has attracted something of a cult following, leading Netflix to commission a prequel miniseries set to premiere in July 2015.

    Cover Art

    Studio: Universal

    Distributed By: N/A

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

    Rating: R

    Run Time: 1 Hr. 37 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray

    Blu-ray keepcase

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: A

    Release Date: 05/12/2015

    MSRP: $19.98

    The Production Rating: 2.5/5

    August 18, 1981, the last day of summer camp at Camp Firewood, and it's the counselors' last chance at romance. Camp leader Beth (Janeane Garofalo) meets Henry (David Hyde Pierce), an associate professor in astrophysics at the local college, whom she has eyes on and convinces him to conduct a science outing with the kids. Coop (Michael Showalter) is a gangly nerd in search of a girlfriend and has a crush on Katie (Marguerite Moreau), who feels sorry for Coop and agrees to help him find someone. Andy (Paul Rudd) just wants to nail every girl in camp, even though Katie is his steady go-to. Gene (Christopher Meloni) is the whacked-out Vietnam veteran serving as the camp's cook. Gail (Molly Shannon) is the arts and crafts counselor trying to deal with being separated from her cheating husband. Ben (Bradley Cooper) and Susie (Amy Poehler) are in charge of putting on the camp talent show. Rounding out the cast are Elizabeth Banks as one of Andy's conquests, Kevin Sussman as the unstable and misunderstood camper, and Michael Ian Black as Ben's secret lover.


    It's sad and painful to see good comedic talent go to waste. Such is the case with Wet Hot American Summer. Most of the jokes fall flat, with many of the sketches overstaying their welcome. Too often, it looks like director David Wain simply turned on the camera and asked his cast to "be funny." This is fairly obvious during many of the scenes involving Christopher Meloni and his character's visions and Freudian slips and pretty much anytime Paul Rudd is the main focus of a scene. It's not all bad, though, as I thought the best subplot in the film was the budding romance between Beth and Henry, which is both awkward and touching at the same time.

    Video Rating: 4/5  3D Rating: NA

    Universal's 1080p AVC-encoded transfer makes Wet Hot American Summer possibly look better that it did during its initial theatrical run back in 2001. The image, overall, is quite good, with consistent colors that are often bland but never too washed out or oversaturated. Detail is about as good as can be expected for a film of this type, and there is no evidence of digital manipulation such as edge enhancement, leaving native film grain intact.

    Audio Rating: 3/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 surround track replicates how it would have sounded back in 2001 in a theater equipped with Dolby Stereo. Dialogue is directed mostly to the center channel when played back in Pro-Logic mode and is clear and understandable, with music and effects spread across the fronts and some bleeding to the matrixed surrounds.

    Special Features Rating: 4/5

    Most of the special features from the previous DVD release have been ported over, plus a few new extras for this release.


    10th Anniversary Event Highlights (1080p; 31:33): Members of the cast and crew take turns coming out on stage in front of a live audience in Brooklyn, NY to discuss the film. New to this Blu-ray.


    Wet Hot American Summer:Live at SF Sketchfest (1080p; 44:17): Members of the cast, with help from some notable celebrities, re-enact excerpts from the film on stage. New to this Blu-ray.


    Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer David Wain, Co-Writer Michael Showalter, and Actress Janeane Garofalo: The track starts rather abruptly with the three laughing over the opening credits, then getting down to business, discussing life on the set, shooting during a cold and rainy spell in the Spring when the film was set at the end of Summer, and what was scripted and what was improved.


    Soundtrack with Extra Farts: Need I really delve into this?


    Deleted Scenes (480i; 12:09): Twelve minutes of scenes left on the cutting room floor, with optional commentary from David Wain and Michael Showalter.


    Cast Comments (480i; 8:02): Snippets of on-set interviews with Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Marguerite Moreau, Michael Showalter, and David Wain.


    Behind The Scenes (480i; 15:38):Random behind the scenes footage.


    Songs with Production Stills (480i; 11:09): Essentially a slideshow of behind the scenes photos with various songs playing in the background; Wet Hot American Dream, Summer in America, Wet Hot American Summer, and Higher and Higher.


    Theatrical Trailer (480i; 1:50)

    Overall Rating: 3/5

    It has been said that watching a comedy that falls flat on its face can be a painful experience. For me, Wet Hot American Summer was just that. There are no big laughs in this film, although I may have chuckled once or twice. This is likely the best the film is going to look and sound, and it was nice that Universal not only ported over the DVD supplements but also added some more recent archived features for this release. For those curious about the film, it is, as of this writing, available on Netflix streaming.

    Reviewed By: Todd Erwin

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  2. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

    May 31, 2004
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    That soundtrack with more farting extra sounds amazing. I can't believe Criterion or Twilight Time have not included that on the films they release. I mean imagine The Seventh Seal with more farting! It would be incredible!

    Really, try it out! Just play these two clips at the same time while watching just the Bergman film. Here's a tip start the Bergman clip first and then kick in the fart sounds about 2 or 3 seconds in:

    SD_Brian likes this.
  3. ScottDombrowski

    ScottDombrowski Second Unit

    Oct 14, 2003
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    I've only seen it once a few years ago but I thought this movie was really funny and have always wanted to see it again! I love the scene where they all go into town! I'll probably pick this up and will definitely check out the new Netflix series!
  4. atfree

    atfree Producer

    Jan 28, 2012
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    Pretty much agree with Todd's review of the film. Saw this when it first came out and was severely disappointed and never saw the appeal that made this kind of a cult film. It's just very unfunny. If you're going to make a summer camp movie, it's either got to have lots of laughs or lots of boobs. This one has neither.
    Todd Erwin likes this.

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