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Paul (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Universal - 2011
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 104/110 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, Kristin Wiig, Bill Hader, John Carroll Lynch, Blythe Danner, Joe Lo Truglio Sigourney Weaver, Seth Rogan (voice)
Directed by: Greg Motola
Music by: David Arnold
Written by: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 9, 2011

"Fugitive, celebrity, slacker, joker, alien."

Film Synopsis:

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) reunite as sci-fi geeks taking a pilgrimage to America's UFO heartland. There they meet a smart-ass alien, Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), who takes them on an insane road trip. As they struggle to return Paul home, the little green man might just take the outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes.

My Take:

Paul is a lighthearted comedy about two pals, Graeme and Clive, from the UK who visit the US in order to attend Comic-Con followed by a road trip to our country's infamous locations that are known for Alien sightings. After renting an RV for the trip they are run off the road by a speeding vehicle that crashes in front of them. Its occupant is an extraterrestrial named Paul who crash landed in New Mexico 60 years ago. He has been in government custody ever since but recently escaped in the hopes of returning home. He is on the run from a relentless federal agent who seeks to bring him back in. After getting over the initial shock of meeting Paul they opt to help him. Along the way they encounter bullying rednecks, local law enforcement, and a lonely young woman who winds up tagging along. The group forms a bond of friendship and learns a little about themselves, Paul and the man pursuing them in the process. With time running out it will take a little faith and help from above..

After sitting through Your highness I looked forward to seeing Paul which looked decent from the trailers I had seen. Universal has included the theatrical version (which I used during my evaluation) along with this unrated Blu-ray release. Watching it was a breath of fresh air by comparison and it turned out to be an enjoyable little road trip/buddy flick with a sci-fi spin. I am a fan of the Nick Frost/Simon Pegg combo and their chemistry here is spot on. Sci-fi fans are sure to appreciate the good natured humor found in the story. Co-written by Pegg and Frost there is plenty of witty banter, awkwardly funny situations, and delightfully drawn characterizations. The script keeps things light and builds upon the relationships among the principles while tossing in some adult humor, brief romance, and nerdy sci-fi interplay. Paul is clearly the star of the show and as voiced by Seth Rogan has no trouble fitting the bill. This doesn't quite live up to their best work together but Frost and Pegg's harmonious working relationship shines brightly. Jason Bateman has been busy of late, appearing in quite a few films, and consistently adds something worthwhile. SNL's Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader are personal favorites that are obviously right at home in a film like this. Bit parts by Joe Lo Truglio, John Carroll Lynch, Jane Lynch, David Koechner, Jeffrey Tambor and a cameo by Sigourney Weaver add to the fun. Paul isn't the go to film in its class but it's a rewarding comedy/tribute that has a heart and makes for an entertaining way to spend an evening.

Parental Guide:

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

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: 86

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

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

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

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

Video: 90

(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=109947&d=1210373699

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

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

Paul comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3 Mbps.

This is an excellent high definition video presentation that boasts naturally rendered primary colors and pleasing secondary hues. Fleshtones are nicely delineated with warm tonality and diverse complexional quality among the cast. Detail is in abundance as images look crisp with clearly resolvable fine minutia, and three dimensional depth that on occasion provides a near infinite visual perspective. Blacks are rich with excellent dynamic range and noticeable gradational stages. Contrast is strong which provides plenty of pop to colors and whites without washing them out. The video has a dynamic, pleasing, and pristine aesthetic that looks great throughout the presentation. The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features excellent dynamic extension, crystal clear dialogue and deep, punchy bass. Surround activity offers a nice balance of discrete and spatial sound effects that are spread out over the course of the presentation. This isn't an action based film but there are several sequences that have plenty of full system activity. I thought it sounded great.

Bonus Features:

  • Unrated and Theatrical versions of Paul

  • Feature commentary with director Greg Mottola, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Hader and Nira Park

  • (HD) Bloopers - 10 minutes

  • (HD) The evolution of Paul - 15 minute featurette

  • (HD)*Exclusive* Between the lightning strikes: The making of Paul - two part feature totaling 40 minutes

  • (HD)*Exclusive* Behind the scenes featurettes (6 segments totaling 60 minutes) :

    1. RV Doorway: The Cast of Paul On-Location
    2. Runway Santa Fe: An Interview with Nancy Steiner
    3. Smithereens
    4. 5th Date Level Direction: The Cast on Greg Mottola
    5. Mexico Zero: The Locations of Paul
    6. The Many Pauls
    7. Paul: The Musical
    8. The Traveler Beagle

  • (HD) Simon's silly faces

  • (HD) Who the hell is Adam Shadowchild?

  • (HD) Photo galleries, storyboards, and posters

  • (HD) Trailers - (UK/Domestic), Red band internet, TV Spots (UK/Domestic)

  • My Scenes bookmark feature

  • D-Box Motion Code enabled

  • Pocket Blu - App for iPOD/iPHONE

  • BD-Live enabled

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

In the hands of director Greg Mottola and stars/co-writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost Paul is good natured sci-fi comedy that is witty, awkwardly fun, and a little heartwarming. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment in a fan friendly offering that features excellent high definition audio/video quality and an entertaining assortment of bonus supplements that include Blu-ray exclusives. If you like this film this set is worth picking up. Otherwise toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable 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)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal 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, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 12
After seeing the trailer this movie felt bland.
post #3 of 12
I was impressed with this movie. The Alien was great and overall was very entertaining.
A couple of spots got a little off kilter but for me it is a keeper.
post #4 of 12
May not be Shaun or Hot Fuzz but sounds halfway decent. Thanks for the review!
post #5 of 12
Funny! I just saw bluray.com gave Your Highness three stars for movie.
post #6 of 12
Wife and I got passes to see this before it was released in theaters.
We both thought it was great and I was planning on picking it up on blu when it hit the shelves. Now I see that it's got some great extras on it too! Excellent!
Thanks for the review Ralph!
post #7 of 12
Thanks for he review Ralph. Will be giving this is a go soon.
post #8 of 12
Will be watching this one tonight.
post #9 of 12
Not bad im glad i rented it.
post #10 of 12
This was just ok. I liked the cast but the tone seemed wrong. Everything seemed innocent and PG13. Two nice guys, dorks, but very nice. Nice girl, nice alien. I just could not figure out all the F bombs. One of my pet peeves is all the movies built around mature themed content that should be "R" but are wussed down to PG13. This movie should have been pg13 and just added cursing which did not further the movie.
post #11 of 12
I quite enjoyed this one. Overly sappy in parts, but the clever references to other movies was fun, and parts were just plain funny. A great popcorn flick.
post #12 of 12
I watched this last night from Netflix and enjoyed it. Wouldn't want it for my collection but a good watch--for me, your review is spot on, Ralph.
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