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Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=115817&d=1216746932
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

88






Studio and Year: New Line/2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Feature running time: 107 Minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio lossless, DTS 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, Rob Cordory, Roger Bart
Written &Directed by: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg
Music by: George S. Clinton
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 29, 2008







"This time their running from the joint"



Film Synopsis:



Harold and Kumar are back! On their flight to Amsterdam they are mistaken for terrorists and sent to Guantanamo Bay, but not for long. They bust out and go on a cross-country road trip to clear their names and win over their hotties! But first they’ll have to outsmart the Feds, outrun the Klan, and enlist the help of a hallucinating Neil Patrick Harris. It’s one wild ride with America’s most wanted – and wasted.



My Take:

Wow. I didn’t see the original Harold and Kumar film although I had heard positive things about it. Needless to say I had not seen this one prior to this review. I like comedies that are slightly over the top but... In this case it just seemed to take it a little too far at times. Don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty funny moments in Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay. I thought that the one and only scene that had anything to do with Guantanamo Bay was actually pretty funny ( I won’t spoil it so you will have to see for yourself). The entire trip into the south where they encounter a mob of “angry” blacks playing basketball in the street and a “couple” living in a palatial yet run down cabin in the woods is a hoot. The couple played by John Reep and Missy Pyle have an interesting history and something just as interesting to show for their union. Of course it wouldn’t be a trip to the Deep South without a visit to a Klan rally. There are some racial and political spoofs that are priceless as well. Scenes that were simply in place for audience reaction included a visit to a local brothel with Neil Patrick Harris and Raza's bottomless party. The thing I didn’t care for was the excessive need to make pretty much everything tie into getting high or having sex. I thought that this came full circle in a scene where Kumar is dreaming about having a threesome with his ex-girlfriend and a giant “female” bag of weed. That might have been funny if it hadn’t been taken to visually graphic lengths. When all was said and done I think that Escape from Guantanamo Bay will be more appealing to fans of Harold and Kumar than to first time viewers, but you never know.





Parental Guide:

This unrated version contains graphic nudity, language, drug use and violence. ‘Nuff said.




AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 88



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay comes to Blu-ray Disc from New Line featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 channel Master Audio sound with an average bitrate of 4.9 mbps.

The video presentation featured punchy, vibrant and over saturated colors that were on the warm side and visually pleasing. Grain was present in fine layers that didn’t negatively affect fidelity. Visible detail was abundant which made it easy to notice subtle texture and definition in surfaces, clothing and physical features. Depending on the camera’s perspective sometimes the image softened some but I suspect that this was related to the photography rather than the encoding. Blacks and contrast were respectable so that both dark and bright scenes had good dynamic range and depth. Flesh tones were naturally rendered so that the various complexions and skin types came across without appearing artificial.

The high resolution audio was on par with the video and sounded full bodied, articulate, and authoritative. Lossless audio provides the opportunity to thoroughly appreciate the increased dynamic potential inherent in digital movie soundtracks. Such was the case with this DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix. I experienced crystal clear sound that was rich in sonic detail and dynamic energy. Excellent tonal balance made pans across the left, center and right channels appear seamless. Bass reproduction was clean, taut and on occasion extended. Check out the scene where Harold and Kumar leave Raza's place (after the bottomless party) and head to Texas. As they exit the house and head to the yellow Ford Mustang there is a techno music mix playing that contains synthesized bass that easily reaches down in to the 30 hz bass regions. The 7.1 channel mix made frequent use of the surrounds to reproduce the discrete and ambient sounds contained within the mix. I enjoyed the enveloping nature of the audio and felt that the balance in volume maintained between the front and rear soundstages was spot on.



Bonus Features:



The bonus content included a 21 minute making of featurette called The World of Harold & Kumar. It offered an inside look at the production and featured behind the scenes footage and cast/crew interviews. Next was a cool interactive feature that had the ability during certain pre-recorded segments to decide which option (from a select group per segment) to pick from to change the scenes outcome. There was a plethora of deleted and extended scenes which included several outtakes and two audio commentaries featuring the co-stars, director and writers. The last piece was a public service announcement by “President” Bush (James Adomian in character) for Harold & Kumar. New Line has included an SD Digital Copy located on a separate disc that can be downoladed on to a portable playback device from a PC or Mac.




  • Dude Change the Movie feature

  • 2 Audio commentary tracks

  • (HD)17 Deleted Scenes

  • (HD) 10 extended scenes including outtakes

  • (HD) “President” Bush public service announcement for Harold & Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay

  • (HD) 3 Trailers – Teaser, Theatrical, Red Band

  • (HD) The world of Harold & Kumar - Featurette

  • SD Digital Copy





Final Thoughts:



Harold & Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay is an outrageous comedy that seeks to tickle your fancy with excessively crude humor and a little clever writing sprinkled on top. I found it to be luke warm but will probably give it another spin to see if it offers anything new. New Line has brought it to high definition Blu-ray Disc featuring excellent audio and video quality which will surely please fans. For those who are curious I would recommend a rental prior to purchase.







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Outlaw Audio Model 7700 seven channel amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 22
Ralph.. thanks for the nice comments about the mix... I am very proud of this film.

Just a house keeping note... they leave Raza's house, not Cyrus'....
post #3 of 22
Nice review. So, DNR doesn't seem to be an issue? New Line can be awfully scary with DNR.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
I thought that this came full circle in a scene where Kumar is dreaming about having a threesome with his ex-girlfriend and a giant female bag of weed. That might have been funny if it hadn't been taken to visually graphic lengths.

I like smart comedies like 30 Rock and the Office. But that scene wouldn't have been nearly as funny if it wasn't for that bit of extreme absurdity.

I'm surprised the audio scored so well. Thanks for the review.
Too bad there's not a lot of behind the scenes stuff.

But yeah if you don't have an open mind or a good sense of humor definitely rent it first. It might actually be the most offensive film ever made.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrage View Post

I'm surprised the audio scored so well.

Why?

Should I be offended by that?
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

Ralph.. thanks for the nice comments about the mix... I am very proud of this film.

Just a house keeping note... they leave Raza's house, not Cyrus'....

Greetings,

Thanks FM, I made the correction. You should indeed be proud of your work on this one..

Regards,
post #7 of 22
ralph the pot sex scene went so far because there's a similar sequence in the first movie that had to be "topped".
post #8 of 22
I am almost ashamed to admit, from the reading of this review? I am going to love this flick.





Good review by the way.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

Why?

Should I be offended by that?

Not at all. To be honest I was to busy laughing to pay attention to the sonics with this one. I knew it would be crystal clear, but I wasn't sure if the extra surrounds were necessary.

I'll give pay more attention when I get the BD though. Most of your mixes are for movies I really enjoy, so I'll keep an ear out.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Greetings,

I edited the review to reflect The World of Harold & Kumar Featurette which I somehow missed when watching the bonus features.

Sorry about that..


Cheers,
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

Why?

Should I be offended by that?

I think he meant that films of this nature typically don't have an audio mix that focuses on anything other than the dialog. We all know that you always put in that extra effort where the audio appropriately matches everything we see on the screen.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidHir View Post

Nice review. So, DNR doesn't seem to be an issue? New Line can be awfully scary with DNR.

So no DNR on this one. Can you confirm this Ralph ?
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSmith83 View Post

I think he meant that films of this nature typically don't have an audio mix that focuses on anything other than the dialog. We all know that you always put in that extra effort where the audio appropriately matches everything we see on the screen.

I missed the wink on my original reply.... iPhone issues.


I love Shadow
post #14 of 22
I think there is something wrong with my disc, I hear popping noises, at certain points on the disc, and I can reproduce the same noise on a different system. Listen at 1:05.19 is one example. Does anyone else hear these popping noises, I have a 7.1 setup, my receiver is DTS-HD MA compatible, etc., specifically I hear this from the left surround speaker, and it happens about 7-10 times, another example is when they first get on the boat to Miami, and they tell the guy the first thing to get in America is TiVo, or something like that, I rewound several times, popping is heard at same exact times on disc, on different systems, and different players, so I know it is the disc.

Please if you read this let me know if anyone else notices this, or did I get the only faulty disc in the country.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by cberglof View Post

I think there is something wrong with my disc, I hear popping noises, at certain points on the disc, and I can reproduce the same noise on a different system. Listen at 1:05.19 is one example. Does anyone else hear these popping noises, I have a 7.1 setup, my receiver is DTS-HD MA compatible, etc., specifically I hear this from the left surround speaker, and it happens about 7-10 times, another example is when they first get on the boat to Miami, and they tell the guy the first thing to get in America is TiVo, or something like that, I rewound several times, popping is heard at same exact times on disc, on different systems, and different players, so I know it is the disc.

Please if you read this let me know if anyone else notices this, or did I get the only faulty disc in the country.

I'm already working on it..
post #16 of 22
I agree about the "popping" sounds. I am using a PS3 and since I am not bit-streaming, I thought I was supposed to be immune to the problems on some DTS-HD MA mvoies, but this definitely seems to be that type of issue. It is true, however, that on the list of problem blu-rays, I have not had the pops until now.
post #17 of 22
Just adding another confirmation to the "popping" that is reproducable.

I heard it about a dozen times or so (maybe a little less) on my PS3 and HK receiver -- seems mostly from the rear channels. Wasn't real loud or anything.

Outside of that I thought the mix sounded rather good... it's obviously not a huge action movie with some crazy soundtrack and action sequences, but it has its moments... Certainly more exciting than most comedies.

And once again, Ralph seems pretty much spot on with the review.
post #18 of 22
From the sounds of the review, it sounds like it is just like the original, which to me and my wife is the funniest movie we have ever seen. Yes it is over the top, but that is what made the original so great.

Thanks for the review, and I am glad I bought it.

bytor99999
post #19 of 22
yeah i hear a bunch of popping sounds too, way to screw this release new line
post #20 of 22
Is the SD version on a DVD?
post #21 of 22
I rented this because I got a kick out of the original.

I didn't think the plot was as good, but the use of technology was about the best I've encountered on a Blu ray.

The DTS 7.1 sound was a big improvement over the typical 5.1 HD mixes, even when expanded to 7.1 through processing.
The "pops" were evident (and repeatable) but not loud enough to cause any system damage and isolated to one speaker.

The flick and the extras were in HD (at least the ones I watched thus far). A step up from the usual SD extras.

The "change the movie" option was lots of fun, giving the viewer the ability to change the story line - even to the point of completely changing the basic premise of the plot.
Very creative letting the viewer see the pool party as either a topless or bottomless party. Not very mature, but an entertaining use of the technology to make the disc more than just a "watch it and forget it" type of experience.
post #22 of 22
Finally bought this movie at $9.99 you can't go wrong. But occasionally I hear like a knock sound or pop as some have heard I thought they fixed this problem
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