17 Again Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
The cover for 17 Again is all about teen heartthrob Zac Effron, and unfortunately it features only Zac, dressed as a high school teenager should be.  While it is obvious that Zac is the main star of the movie, it might have helped broaden this movie’s appeal by including some of the other big stars from the cast, including Matthew Perry and Leslie Mann.  Instead this appears to be another teenage comedy, when it really has more too offer.

The menu is simply a static photo of Zac Effron and Thomas Lennon.

Features: 6/10

  • Zac Goes Back – This feature is a behind the scenes piece that runs about twelve minutes long, and discusses some of the plots and scenes in the movie.  There are interviews with the filmmakers and some of the cast.
  • Going Back To 17 – This is an interesting feature, that runs about three minutes long.  Members of the cast talk about some of their high school memories.  It is kind of funny hearing some of the younger cast members like Zac Effron discuss their high school memories, considering they are so young that high school was just a few years ago.
  • Tell All Trivia track – This is a kind of pop up fact track that plays over the actual movie.  I have always liked this type of feature, and it works pretty well for this type of comedy.
  • Breakin’ Character Outtakes and Deleted Scenes – These are two separate extras.  The Breakin’ Character Outtakes are three minutes of blown lines and bloopers, while the deleted scenes run about 16 minutes.  We get a few views of additional undeveloped plots, and some dance routines.
  • Tom Lennon & Melora Hardin Unfiltered – This is a BD Live interview where Thomas Lennon and Melora Hardin, who have a sort of love connection in the movie improv it up.  The two are quite funny.
  • Zac Attacks – In this BD Live extra, we get an extended look at the fight scene in the movie between Mike and Ned, after Mike has transformed into his teenage form.  Ned thinks someone has broken into his house, and we get a hilarious fight where the weapons used are Ned’s nerd toys, like swords and light-sabers.

The Movie: 7/10
17 Again is a fun little movie, that features Zac Effron. If you have heard of the movie, you know it features Zac Effron as the lead, as he is prominent on the cover and in the adverts for the movie.  This is a good thing, and a bad thing.  Of course he is a big draw for the teenage female crowd, but there are other actors involved that really carry this movie and make it funny and enjoyable.  I think that many people like myself, will enjoy this movie, but many may pass on it based on the fact that it appears to be a routine Zac Effron teenage comedy, and it is a little bit more than that in my opinion.

17 Again is about Mike O’Donnell, who in 1989 is the star of his high school basketball team, and overall high school stud.  He has a beautiful girlfriend Scarlett, and his best friend, who is kind of a nerd, right at his side.  Mike has everything going for him, as he is set to play in front of a college basketball scout, and fulfill his dreams of playing in college.  Life looks grand, but right before the game Scarlett informs Mike that she is pregnant, and his life turns upside down, as he blows his college opportunity by leaving the court, and deciding to drop things to help Scarlett out, by getting married.

Fast forward 30 years or so, and we find Mike (now played by Matthew Perry) in the middle of a divorce from Scarlett (Leslie Mann).  The couple have been at odds since that fateful day in 1989 due to the fact that Mike basically blames Scarlett for ruining his chances at finding happiness.  The couple have two teenage kids together, and Mike is losing contact with them, as his life is basically out of control.

At one point Mike returns to the high school gymnasium where his glory days occurred, and in a twist of fate, an elderly janitor (Brian Doyle Murray) asks him if he would really want to return to those glory days.  When Mike says yes, he is soon after (through the magic of suspended belief that only occurs in movies) transformed to his former age (now played by Zac Effron again), while in present.  Of course this is where the fun begins for this type of movie.

Mike looks just like he did when he was in high school, and when he turns to his long time best friend, Ned doesn’t understand immediately.  Ned (played by the hysterical Thomas Lennon) is now a millionaire who collects Star Wars memorabilia and swords and shields, agrees to help Mike enroll in high school again, where he can keep an eye on his daughter, who is dating a jerk, and his son who is constantly picked on.

Mike basically keeps track on his kids, and also gets to know Scarlett again, as there are several encounters that she views as inappropriate (as well as funny).  Basically the movie ends up where you expect it to, but the journey is funny, and the supporting cast really makes this movie more than a one dimensional type of film.  Thomas Lennon is hysterical as the wildly uncool nerd who tries to woo the principal of Mike’s school, and the rest of the cast is very genuine and colorful.

Overall this is a pretty good movie, and I enjoyed it a lot more that I thought I would.  I found 17 Again to slightly break the mold of what could have been a stale repeat of a genre.

Audio & Video: 8/10
I am getting so used to high definition movies again, and I love it.  Granted, this type of movie does nto necessarily need to be seen in high definition, but why not.  Most of the Blu-rays now feature excellent transfers, and the  movies just look and sound amazing.  There was a point in between HD DVD dying, and me actually getting a Blu-ray player that I forgot how much I loved high definition movies, but I am here to say that they are just so much more enjoyable to watch.

17 Again looks and sounds great.  The audio for this type of comedy movie was really Surround Sound loaded, with lots of bass.  There was a great deal of ambient sound from the rear speakers, and the overall mixing was well done.  The video for 17 Again was very colorful and tight, and there were only a few moments where I felt that the shots were a bit soft.  It is presented with VC-1 encoding, in a 2.40:1 widescreen, 1080p aspect.

Value: 6/10
17 Again is not a groundbreaking type of film.  You more than likely have seen some type of film like this, where the main character is transformed back to a former version of himself, with the goal of fixing things.  While this type of movie has been done before, 17 Againis a funny, entertaining movie, with a whole lot more to offer than many of the past movies that are like it.  While Zac Effron is the main star here, the ensemble cast is what made this enjoyable for me to watch.  They really brought another dimension to what could have been a very formulaic movie.  While this disc will not stay in your Blu-ray player for weeks on end  (unless you are a teenage female), this is definitely worth a view.  It is not for everyone, but I liked it.

Overall Score 7/10