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hype! – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Grunge was all the rage as the music and fashion scene of the 1990s was beginning to take shape. Of course it all started with Nirvana and immediate take off the moment Kurt Cobain started up “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. They single handedly killed the hair metal of the 1980s just upon arrival. Their success opened the door for many others to take a more commercial stage like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice n Chains. It was the beginning of what would be called the Alternative Rock of the 1990s. In 1996 a documentary was put together to tell the story of the early roots of the Seattle grunge movement. Called “hype!”, Shout! Factory will be putting out a special Collector’s Edition of the documentary that is now 21 years old and old enough to drink. You may also pre-order below in time for the September 29th release.

Film 

This rock documentary by director Doug Pray focuses on the explosion of grunge music that took place in the Pacific Northwest during the early 1990s. While the film features the most popular bands of the movement — namely Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden — it also presents lesser-known acts such as the Melvins, Mudhoney and Seaweed. Incorporating concert clips, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, the movie paints a dynamic picture of this highly influential scene.

One of the coolest things about this documentary is that it refuses to crutch itself on the more commercial and known bands and gives plenty of spotlight to some of the lesser known acts in the rise of grunge. Its filled with interviews from these groups as well as concert footage from them. Also cool is some of the older Nirvana footage of them playing these homegrown venues. For all the musicians we are led into their music playing lives as we see concerts, rehearsals and their relationships with one another in the group interviews.

Overall this is a really fun time capsule of a documentary. It tells a good account and present history of the grunge music with complete honesty (and hostility). There’s a lot about the Seattle movement and the ridiculous commercialization of such silly things. Its also capsuled because of the youth and closer to the times of the interviewees, band members and such. If you’re into this music or the history of a particular genre of music, take a trip back and check it out.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: hype! comes to Blu-ray for the first time with a solid transfer from Shout! Factory. It has a grainy, classic look to it. Many different sources are used for live footage and such so the quality and detail level can vary, but that’s nothing on this transfer. Its a very good restoration and people should be very happy with the image.

Depth: Its sort of on the flat/average side. Separation is okay, archival footage leans more toward the flat. Movements are slower and very filmic looking with minimal blur and jitter.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich and pull a nice little look with shading and such. Some detail is lost in darkness or blacks (Mainly due to the source). No crushing was witnessed at any time during the viewing I had for the review of this disc.

Color Reproduction: Colors are natural and not one of the real strengths in this transfer. Although, they do get things looking full and feature a good palette and saturation.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones on interviewees is natural and stays consistent throughout. Facial features are pretty decent, but best in close ups as further back it smooths out.

Noise/Artifacts: Some light grain.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Shout! Factory delivers a pretty powerhouse audio track that packs a whallop. This thing is loud, its layered and provides intricate sounding, uncompressed, beautifully loose instrumentations and vocals on songs in the film. There are degrees of quality depending on the video or audio used, but those are source things and are gonna sound the way they sound.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The low bumps for the subwoofer’s presence come from drums and bass in the songs in the film.

Surround Sound Presentation: This has some fun surprises here and there from the rear speakers where a song may randomly start up or even just hearing crowed or other band members. Its a rather easy track, with some surprises to keep you on your toes.

Dialogue Reproduction: Interviews sound good, crisp and audible. Singing comes through lovely and clean.

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • By Doug Pray (2017)
  • By Doug Pray and Steve Helvey (2004)

“Hype! 20 Years After” (HD, 16:10) – Many of the interviewees, band members and the like that were interviewed in the film return here to give further thoughts on grunge, the current state of Seattle and their thoughts on the documentary.

Peter Bagge’s “Hate” (SD, 4:07) – A cartoon clip with commentary on how commercialized Seattle got because of grunge in the 1990s.

Additional Performances with Optional Director Commentary (SD, 11:43) – Features Mudhoney, Supersuckers, Pond, The Gits

Interview Outtakes (SD, 22:39) – Megan Jasper, Art Chantry, Tad, Leighton Beezer, Peter Bagge, Random Quotes.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:12)

Summary 

hype! is a really cool look back at the grunge era in Seattle and its rise to commercialism at a time where it was still actually present (While on its way out). Shout! Factory gives this one a really nice video and audio presentation while presenting some great new extras to go along with some older ones. This is definitely a collector item for 90s music fans as well as the grunge loves.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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