Cover Art and Menus: 2/10
Absolutely one of the worst covers I have seen in a long long time. It’s boring, cheap, and doesn’t do any favors for this almost charming little flick. Seriously, I can’t be any more to the point than to say this cover art is crap. The menu isn’t any better, in fact it’s less appealing. This is the golden age of the DVD folks, let’s pretend like we care what kind of packaging we use for our movies!!
- Deleted & Extended Scenes – Some of these deleted scenes really make a difference to the story and some character development. I think they could have left a couple of them in to make the story that much better.
- Line O Rama, Drunk O Rama, Sex O Rama – Ramblings of actors set loose with improv. These are lines that the actors did several takes of the same scenes to find the groove in the in the comedy moments…or that’s how I look at it.
- Gag Reel – Actors making mistakes. Yea, we get it.
- More From Crime Scene – This is pretty funny. They are making fun of TV shows like CSI, or probably just CSI if we are being very honest here. They have made several scenes and trailers for the TV show featured in the movie that are ridiculous but strangely like the melodrama of the TV shows.
- Video Diaries – There is an entry from every day of the shoot, 1-55. It’s a very cool extra to add to a disc, and it’s not even that long (35 Mins Total). Each segment is only a couple of minutes so you aren’t going to spend all day watching it.
- Feature Commentary – Audio commentary by the director and cast. I like listening….but….stay tuned for the next extra…..
- Visual Commentary – THIS is a cool commentary. I didn’t think I would like watching the actors, director, and producer sit around watching the movie, but it’s quite fun. I would rather the picture in picture be reversed with the movie being in the small window, but hey, it’s a start.
- U-Control PIP Behind The Scenes – U-Control I can live without. I don’t like the interactivity. You have to watch through the chapters, pushing buttons when the icons pop up for the extras. Just give them all to me in a menu people!! This does include the Visual Commentary, so if you just choose that and let it roll, it’s ok. If you want to flip around from feature to feature, well, that’s just fiddly.
- Karaoke – You can sing along with video versions of songs from the movie. It’s adorable and creative, yes, but not something I would use. Ok, so i sang along a little bit, but no microphone, no crowded bar of people cheering me on.
- Blu-Ray Live Clips – This is a good feature, as long as you have your Blu-Ray connected to the internet that is. You can watch the auditions for several cast members and a round table discussion with the cast from Cinemax. It works flawlessly, smooth, and on our broadband we had no problems streaming the videos. It’s not fair to add it to the extras though, if people can’t connect to the internet or they can’t stream video due to their dial up speed..well, that ain’t fair!!
The Movie: 7/10
Romantic and comedy are two words that don’t really light my fire. I am tired of the stale stories of boy meets girl and funny stuff happens while they find deep meaning in life through peripheral characters who love to give pep talks and wacky events that unfold to reveal everyone’s best intentions, human frailties, and the power of true love blah blah blah.
Thank goodness Forgetting Sarah Marshall isn’t one of those movies. Lucky how that happens sometimes. It is a Romantic Comedy, or so Hollywood claims. There are the peripheral characters who support the antics of love struck and broken hearted lead characters, and structurally you will find it’s got that old fashioned flow of it’s cinematic ancestors. The thing is, there is enough surprises and joy in this story to lift it up above the old crowd.
A man, pushing 30 at least, has had his heart crushed by being dumped so he goes to Hawaii to get away. The dumpee, ex-girlfriend/TV actress happens to be in the same hotel with her new British rock star boyfriend. Yes, it is a set up for the same-old-same-old kind of comedy about romance and what not, however, Forgetting Sarah Marshall brings enough unexpected bits and pieces to an old cynic like me to make it a fun and entertaining movie.
We can all identify the old stuff, or shall we say, recycled? Our leading man has a step brother who is his conscience, his guide, his cheerleader. A side character who is supposed to be us, the audience, or so they say telling him what to do, what move to make next. Another thing that’s old hat is the girlfriend in question sees her new choice of man compared to the one she has dumped and wonders if she has made the right decision, nothing new here. And of course there’s the new love interest, the beauty at the counter at the hotel. Each of these things sounds all used up, and I would think so too, except for the fact that I’ve seen the movie and none of it seems stale. That’s a high compliment, trust me.
There are other tried and true elements to the story telling that could become stale if not for the facelift by the writer/star and his loyal producer Judd Apatow. They mix things up and add whatever it is that appeals to me, which I have not figured out exactly quite yet. It could be that the leading man in our new tale of love and humor is your general guy type. He’s not a known face, not a mundane muscle type or idiot pretty boy. He’s the slightly awkward sort who is endearing from the minute we meet him and his naked penis. Oh, yes, I said naked penis.
He’s the main saving grace in this movie, along with the occasionally hilarious dialogue that flows between a few characters, some more than others. There is a sincerity to most scenes, even the ones with more slap stick bits, that took me into their world. I didn’t just sit in judgment of shallow characters who insult every fiber of my grown up self, which is what happens in a lot of romantic comedies these days. The British rock star at one point does show a young married man how to make love to a giant chess piece, but it’s not as vulgar as it sounds. It wasn’t that funny, but it was grinnable and I would say it brought on the lowest dip in the enjoyment meter for me throughout the whole thing.
I really enjoyed both of the female leads, the hotel staff, the strange newlyweds who have their own little comedy story going on, even the British Rock Star who is supposed to be the least likable (I think) of the whole bunch.
There are some unexpected turns where I expected same-old-same-old, so that’s excellent. There’s even a Vampire Rock Opera to get your juices flowing, which is great fun. So, does the guy get the old girlfriend back? Does the new girl win his heart? Does the rock star get his comeuppance? These and many other Romantic Comedy questions will be answered when you watch the movie….and I do recommend it for the not-so-hard-hearted of those among you.
Audio & Video 7/10
Forgetting Sarah Marshall on Blu-Ray disc was a bit of a letdown from a video standpoint. I am not sure if it’s a issue with the transfer or if the director intended it to be slightly soft, but at times I thought to myself, “This is just like watching a DVD, not the fancy HD version we are getting used to these days.” I actually put the disc in the Blu-Ray drive on my PC to take some screen shots for this review and even stills look slightly out of focus. In addition, and quite strangely, there is actually a bit of artifacting in the scene in the doctor’s office near the beginning. I really didn’t think I would see this kind of problem on Blu-Ray and it’s disappointing as we have seen what the format can do with the right person in charge.
Despite the video quality, the audio is up to par and the DTS-HD soundtrack really is quite “alive” for a mostly dialog driven movie. The scene in the club at the start sounds great with a rich mix of music and chatter in the rear speakers. You really feel like you are there. Also the Dracula musical scenes sound rich and vibrant. In fact, the movie is filled with music and that’s when the soundtrack works best. I really loved the movie but I can’t recommend the Blu-Ray version in this case. Stick with the DVD and save your money.
I say watch it for sure, enjoy the extras, but I wouldn’t buy it. You can find it around for 15-25 bucks, standard and Blu-Ray versions with varying degrees of extras. It’s an excellent choice for renting, or downloading from one of your online movie rental accounts. It’s a lot of fun, several laughs, a new look at an old genre, and the extras are kick ass….but let’s be real, I won’t be watching it again so it’s not worth the extra cash. The Blu-Ray transfer isn’t worth the HD price, and unless you plan to put it on your laptop, computer, or Ipod to watch it over and over and over, you surely have better ways to spend your hard earned money.
Overall Score 7/10