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Adventureland (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Blu-ray Disc Review

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=150695&d=1250957803
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

79






Studio and Year: Buena Vista/Disney
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 107 Minutes
Genre: Dramedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Jessie Eisenberg, Kristin Stewart, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristin Wiig, Ryan Reynolds
Written & Directed by: Greg Mottola
Music by: Yo La Tengo
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 25, 2009







"Long hours. Low pay. High times"



Film Synopsis:

It's the summer of 1987, and James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), an uptight recent college grad, can't wait to embark on his dream tour of Europe. But when his parents (Wendie Malick and Jack Gilpin) announce they can no longer subsidize his trip, James has little choice but to take a lowly job at a local amusement park. Forget about German beer, world-famous museums and cute French girls -- James' summer will now be populated by belligerent dads, stuffed pandas, and screaming kids high on cotton candy. Lucky for James, what should have been his worst summer ever turns into quite an adventure as he discovers love in the most unlikely place with his captivating co-worker Em (Kristen Stewart), and learns to loosen up.




My Take:

I have to admit that I felt a twinge of nostalgia watching Adventureland. It harkened back to my teen years when I spent summers working as a day camp counselor. I mean it wasn't quite as demeaning as being a carnie (just kidding) but we had similar circumstances where it was essentially the same folks returning each year and love was always in the air. This film wasn't really what I expected which is a good thing. Quite frankly I expected to be under whelmed by the in your face style of comedy that seems to have become a staple with teen comedies of late. Instead it delivers more of a mature comedic edge (for the most part) along with a story that puts us in touch with these characters while offering a formulaic but rewarding spin on the teen romance genre. I have never seen Jessie Eisenberg before and I found his awkward and dry delivery to take some getting used to. Once I did I found his portrayal of James to blend the character and mood of the story just fine. James' knack for being needy, unpretentious, and affable was a good fit in the context of the plotline and balanced nicely with the other characters. The fact that the film takes place in 1987 seemed to have little relevance but it did make for a fun look back at the music, clothing and other subtle 80's era remnants that were depicted. The screenplay maintains a fairly narrow point of view with primary focus on James and a smaller subplot on Em. I like Kristen Stewart but find her to be a one dimensional actress who essentially comes across as the same character in all of her films. This movie is billed as a comedy and while it has comedic aspects (primarily involving Bobby's intermittent outbursts and Frigo's shenanigans) it definitely had more of a dramatic overtone. That isn't a complaint because I thought that the balance worked perfectly. The situations and oddity (in a human sense) of the characters had an authenticity that made them easily acceptable and reminiscent of people and experiences that we have all known. Adventureland never strays too far from reality or gets too serious. It is a light teen drama/romance/comedy that features a well crafted, genuine story about coming of age and those summer fun jobs and experiences that help to shape us in a way that you never forget.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for language, drug use and sexual references.






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: 74



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

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

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



Video: 84


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

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

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

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

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

Adventureland comes to Blu-ray Disc from Buena Vista/Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 mbps.

This video presentation featured crisp, transparent detail that revealed subtle minutia in close ups and provided discernible depth and dimension during mid level and wide angle camera pans. The video made dynamic use of contrast so that images were bright with punchy, resplendent colors and deep oversaturated reds that eye catching. Flesh tones were delineated but flat, with warm highlights that mated well with the visual style of the video. Blacks were not especially deep but I thought that they stood out nicely when onscreen with mixed content. Shadow detail was good enough that I could make out details in backgrounds during scenes containing uneven or limited lighting. Grain was evident and appeared in even layers that were naturally rendered throughout. The film is shot using some near field, and tight camera angles which I felt were enhanced in high definition. The DTS-HD MA sound quality was fair but a bit disappointing for a newer release film like this. It offered a one dimensional, frontal perspective that was highlighted by the film's great music which sounded silky smooth, tonally neutral and detailed. Dialogue was centrally focused and lucid with distinguishable intonation and requisite clarity. Surround activity was limited to subtle ambience that occasionally offered some spatial dimension that extended the depth of the sound field. Low frequency presence is intermittent but palpably supports the films music and provides one or two instances of deeper extension that resonates with authority. I found this to be an adequate yet underwhelming surround mix.





Bonus Features:


  • Just my life: The making of Adventure land - 17 minutes

  • Audio commentary with writer/director Greg Mottola and actor Jessie Eisenberg

  • (HD) 3 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Greg Mottola and Jessie Eisenberg

  • (HD) Frigos ball taps - Hosted by Matt Bush - 3 minute demonstration of how best to apply the ball tap

  • (HD) Lisa P's guide to style - Margarita Levieva (in character) shows off some 80's fashion

  • Welcome to Adventure land - 4 segments featuring faux classic commercials/employee videos (with the cast in character) promoting the fun family park - 6 minutes

  • Song selection menu option - Allows direct access to the film's 80's music by jumping directly to the scene it's featured in

  • Digital Copy Bonus Disc - Contains a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable media playback device




Final Thoughts:

Adventureland is an entertaining teen romance/comedy/drama that brings back nostalgic feelings from summers long ago when life's challenges were more singular but seemingly just as important as anything that took place up to that point in our young lives. Writer/director Greg Mottlola does a fine job of resurrecting its essence by creating archetypes that feel reminiscent of people/situations that we probably have all encountered at some point. This is a film that may surprise you if you are expecting the type of teen comedy that has become popular of late. In fact Adventureland is more drama than comedy however it certainly contains elements of both. The outcome works well and results in a film that is definitely worth checking out. From a technical perspective this isn't one of Disney's strongest Blu-ray Disc offerings and the bonus content is middle of the road but passable. I would suggest giving it a rent before buying unless you are already a fan.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 12
I enjoyed this film.
post #3 of 12
Ralph,

You summed-up my thoughts on this one perfectly. Kristen Stewart is very one dimensional and her character "Em" wasn't likable at all IMO. I really liked James though.

One other point--The film makes it seem like everyone in 1987 smoked pot and drove drunk, which couldn't be further from the truth. I graduated High School that year and there was only a small portion of my graduating class which smoked pot (that I knew of)--maybe my head was buried in the sand
post #4 of 12
Nice review! I would give it a rent since I miss it at the theaters...
post #5 of 12
Didn't get to see this one and only saw the trailer. From what i've seen i might just rent this one.
post #6 of 12
I gave this a rent and I am glad I didn't buy this. Your review of the disc itself is spot on as always, but I didn't find anything redeeming about this movie at all. I couldn't make myself like ANY of the characters.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by geocab View Post

I gave this a rent and I am glad I didn't buy this. Your review of the disc itself is spot on as always, but I didn't find anything redeeming about this movie at all. I couldn't make myself like ANY of the characters.

Greetings,

geocab, I can completely understand that. Thanks for posting your impressions..


Cheers,
post #8 of 12
Just finished watching this one...thumbs up from me! I can understand why Geocab said he didn't "like" any of the characters, but I definitely found them very interesting. The only two I probably LIKED were the jokester from the cell phone minutes commercials who peed on the patio door window and kept punching James in the jewels, and also Lisa P! (hubba hubba!)

It was nice to take a trip back to the 80s, even though it did feel a bit more like a 70s setting at times...and I thought the issues that the characters were dealing with were realistic for the most part. In short, I enjoyed the film and would certainly recommend it.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

Just finished watching this one...thumbs up from me! I can understand why Geocab said he didn't "like" any of the characters, but I definitely found them very interesting. The only two I probably LIKED were the jokester from the cell phone minutes commercials who peed on the patio door window and kept punching James in the jewels, and also Lisa P! (hubba hubba!)

It was nice to take a trip back to the 80s, even though it did feel a bit more like a 70s setting at times...and I thought the issues that the characters were dealing with were realistic for the most part. In short, I enjoyed the film and would certainly recommend it.

Greetings,

Glad to hear you enjoyed it Summa. Thanks for your input..


Regards,
post #10 of 12
I did see this in the theater, and rented it again recently. I don't remember the oversaturated reds in the theatrical version. Unlike say - Ocean's 13 where they jumped right out at me in the theater.
post #11 of 12
It's been a while since I've seen a movie I disliked so much and a first that Ryan Reynolds did not make me laugh. I felt this movie failed at being an interesting or compelling love story and failed at being a comedy. I did not find myself caring for any of the characters or about what happened with them and by the end I was wishing a Vamp from True Blood would glamour me so I'd forget I'd seen it

I know it's harsh but I just felt really burnt on this one I think because I was expecting something like Waiting but in a cheesy theme park. I went in to it wanting to laugh and since it wasn't really a comedy I was bent on that alone. In the plus column Ralphs review on PQ/AQ was once again spot on and as always I appreciate the time he takes to write these excellent reviews.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by General Kenobi View Post

It's been a while since I've seen a movie I disliked so much and a first that Ryan Reynolds did not make me laugh.

I can't really think of any scenes or lines with Reynolds that were intended to be funny. His character clearly wasn't the comic relief.

I think maybe the "virgin" theme just hit a little close to home, eh General?

(It's a JOKE, I swear...totally kidding!)
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