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Adventureland Blu-ray Review

AdventurelandBluray

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), French Dolby Digital 5.1 (640kbps), Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (640kbps)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Bahasa, French, Thai, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: A
  • Discs: 2
  • Studio: Miramax
  • Release Date: August 25, 2009
  • List Price: $44.99
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Overall
rating4
The Film
rating3-5
Video Quality
rating4
Audio Quality
rating4
Supplemental Materials
rating3

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

More Screen Captures (10 Total)

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG and thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

rating3-5

Greg Mottola is more known for directing the in-your-face comedy Superbad, but with Adventureland he tempers the crudeness for a more insightful, autobiographical character driven “dramedy.”

Set in the recession of the late-eighties, Adventureland stars Jesse Eisenberg as young college student , James, on hiatus from his studies as he waits to find a away to fund his education at Columbia grad school in New York City. He takes a summer job at an amusement park where he falls for his co-worker Emily (Kristin Stewart).

BDDefinitionadventureland-b1080

Mottola’s film serves up offbeat, quiet and dramatic comedy, far from his Superbad days and more akin to Apatow’s Freaks & Geeks. The backdrop of the small time, small town amusement park and subtle eighties retro is melancholically nostalgic. Mottola’s screenplay is balanced delicately between sentimentality and humour. The musical cues are also spot on like perfectly placing the longing Velvet Underground song “Pale Blue Eyes” in one of the film’s most aching moments between James and Emily, or the incessant occurrence of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” at the Adventureland amusement park.

Hollywood is full-up with coming of age love stories and it is easy for them to fall into the clichés of what young love is and how these stories should resolve themselves. Mattola does slip on occasion into some of these more obvious resolutions, giving us the angst-driven world of aimless youth, but Adventureland is still an enjoyable adventure. It may not give the raucous humour and nonstop laughter that it promises, but so what? This is a thoughtful film about misfits trying to find their way in a world that reneged on its promise to them and on that note it works.

Video Quality

rating4

BDDefinitionadventureland-c1080

Adventureland arrives on Blu-ray in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with an AVC/MPEG-4 encoding from Buena Vista Home Entertainment that looks clean, detailed and film-like with its grain structure retained. Flesh tones are quite accurate, black levels are inky and stable with strong amounts of visible detail in the film’s numerous nighttime scenes. Colors are vibrant, contrast is good with no evidence of clipping, and there are no signs of compression artifacts or post-processing issues such as edge enhancement.

Audio Quality

rating4

BDDefinitionadventureland-g1080

Adventureland’s English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) presentation is front-heavy to say the least. The surround channels are minimally used for some ambience and some rare, faint discrete sound effects. The real treat in this mix is the classic soundtrack featuring songs from The Cure, David Bowie, Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground, Falco, Poison, Judas Priest, The Replacements, and more. These are all presented cleanly and dynamically, with smooth high frequencies and deep, musical low frequencies. The surround channels are well utilized as well during these musical sequences to open the soundstage. Dialogue —  limited to the center channel — is also clean and intelligible throughout the film.

Supplemental Materials

rating3

BDDefinitionadventureland-h1080

There are a decent amount of supplements provided for Adventureland, but none of them necessarily require repeat viewing. One nice feature is the “song selection” that lets viewers jump directly to one of the scenes filled with the very memorable classic songs.

The supplements available on this release are:

  • Audio Commentary with writer/director Greg Mottola and actor Jesse Eisenberg
  • Song Selection — View Select Scenes with Memorable Songs:
  1. “Bastards of Young” — The Replacements (Opening Titles)
  2. “Here She Comes Now” — The Velvet Underground
  3. “Modern Love” — David Bowie
  4. “Rock Me Amadeus” — Falco
  5. “Don’t You Want to Know If You Are Lonely” — Hüsker Dü
  6. “Looking for A Kiss” — New York Dolls
  7. “I’m in Love With a Girl” — Big Star
  8. “Taste of Cindy” — The Jesus and Mary Chain
  9. “Rock Me Amadeus” — Falco
  10. “Hot Blooded” — Stardust Lounge Tribute Band
  11. “Pale Blue Eyes” — The Velvet Underground
  12. “Rock Me Amadeus” — Falco
  13. “So it Goes” — Nick Lowe
  14. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” — Crowded House
  15. “Let the Music Play” — Shannon
  16. “Satellite of Love” — Lou Reed
  17. “I Want Action” — Poison
  18. “Point of No Return” — Exposé
  19. “Obsession” — Animotion
  20. “Your Love” — The Outfield
  21. “Just Like Heaven” — The Cure
  22. “Breaking the Law” — Judas Priest
  23. “Dance hall Days” — Wang Chung
  24. “In My House” — Mary Jane Girls
  25. “Here I Go Again” — Whitesnake
  26. “Rock Me Amadeus” — Falco
  27. “Unsatisfied — The Replacements
  28. “Don’t Change” — INXS
  29. “Adventureland Theme Song” Brian Kenney & Ian Berkowitz
  30. “Farewell Adventureland” — Yo La Tengo
  • Just My Life: The Making of Adventureland (480i/60; 0:16.31)
  • Deleted Scenes (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 0:02.27):
    • Drunk Mom
    • Angry Grandfather
    • James Keeps Quiet
  • Frigo’s Ball Taps (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:02.34)
  • Lisa P’s Guide to Style (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:02.08)
  • Welcome to Adventureland:
    • Fun-tastic Time Commercial (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:00.39)
    • Fireworks Commercial (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:00.42)
    • Orientation Training Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:03.34)
    • Drug Policy (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:00.44)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

rating4

BDDefinitionadventureland-e1080

Writer/Director Greg Mattola’s Adventureland is far from perfect, but it is enjoyable and a much more mature film than his more recent success, Superbad. This Blu-ray release, though not absolutely loaded with extras, is strong nonetheless, with a quality video transfer and sound that captures the excellent soundtrack superbly; highly recommended.

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