Adventureland (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama
Miramax || R - 107 minutes - $44.99 || August 25, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-08-23


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Greg Mottola
Writer(s): Greg Mottola (written by)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Bill Hader, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds


Theatrical Release Date: April 3, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Song Selection
  • 4 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I'm still trying to figure out why Miramax marketed the film as they did. From the trailers, it looked like a comedy: funny antics at a local amusement park. Office Space for teens? Clerks minus the vulgar language? As I sat back to watch the film I noticed it was not a comedy, but more of a teen drama with little bits of comedy here and there. What Disney has done is completely shock the hell out of me (and likely the audience who may still think this is a teen comedy).

Plot: In 1987, James Brennan's (Eisenberg) dreams of a summer European tour before studying at an Ivy League school in New York City are ruined after his parents have a severe career setback. As a result, James must get a summer job to cover his upcoming expenses at the decrepit local amusement park, Adventureland, where he falls in love with a witty co-worker, Emily Lewin (Stewart). In that bizarrely shady workplace, the young carnies have unforgettable and painful learning experiences about life, love and trust while James discovers what he truly values.

When a film can perfectly balance between comedy, romance and drama you know you've hit gold. That's exactly what Adventureland brings to the table. Let's look at a few characters:

James - a simple minded character who is forced to work at Adventureland after his parents can no longer afford to send him to the school he dreamed of. Instead of the usual 'wah wah let me sell drugs to pay my way or find some silly antics', he takes a job at Adventureland. A smart move that most movies would never even dream of doing.

Emily - someone who most of the audience could not relate to. She comes from a well-established family that obviously has money yet here she is, working summer after summer at some cheap amusement park so she could pay herself to New York - without help from her parents.

Mike (Reynolds) - The good looking guy who is someone all the girls want to sleep with and all the guys dream of looking like. Yet, instead of someone who you think would be a pompous ass and jerk, he's actually a really smart guy who gives advice to the younger guys all while trying to keep together a failed marriage. I won't ruin his major plot point, but what he doesn't do to James shocks the hell out of me.

This is a terrific little teen film that feels very indie (like Juno before it was whored out by Fox) that is simply a must see. I'm baffled at how this did so badly at the box office (even with the Twilight power of Stewart still very strong). Perhaps had they marketed it as a John Hughes-like movie it would have reached more people. Even the cover art seems to imply it being a teen comedy with UNRATED plastered on it. While the film does have some drug and alcohol references every is above the legal age (well, minus the drugs) and itís merely a side-story to get James so involved with Emily.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features presented in SD unless otherwise noted. This release also includes a slip cover.

Commentary with Director Greg Mottola and Actor Jesse Eisenberg

Song Selection - Jump to one of 30 different songs presented in the film. A very neat feature I wish more Blu-rays would incorporate.

Making Of Adventureland (16 Minutes) - A totally fluffy EPK that is essentially useless. Some of the cast and crew talk about the film and their characters with clips of the film.

Welcome to Adventure Land (6 Minutes; partially HD) - A selection of four videos that new employees would likely see if they were hired to work at the fictional (atleast in the film) amusement park. Good for a few good laughs. ** BD Exclusive **

Rounding out the disc is 3 Deleted Scenes (2 Minutes; HD) that were cut for length and (the rest all ** BD Exclusive **) 2 short but amusing featurettes like Frigo's Ball Taps (2 Minutes;HD) and Lisa P's Guide to Style (2 Minutes;HD) and a Digital Copy.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Adventureland is presented in 1.85:1 (MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. Since the film was shot with an 80's look in mind, the picture at times can appear a bit soft and grainy. All clearly intended but those thinking it will look as pretty as a new Theatrical release will be disappointed. Luckily, Disney has captured the artistic style perfectly on Blu-ray.

Disney has included an English 5.1 DTS MA Track for this release. Dialog is centered to the front speakers while the rears are used for the fantastic 80's soundtrack and occasional discrete sound. By no way will this wow you, but the soundtrack really did sound good.



.::OVERALL::.

Simply a delightful film that any age can enjoy. If you're a fan of Garden State or any of the other 'coming of age' films this would be a perfect fit for you. While it may not loaded in Special Features, it does have excellent Picture and Audio Quality which means this is perfect blind buy for many.