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The Hangover: Extreme Edition (Blu-ray Review)

The Hangover was one of those movies that came out at the P-E-R-F-E-C-T time in my life.  We all kind of have these back-stories with how we dealt with times of stress and the real life antidotes that helped us persevere through the seemingly impossible feats.  For me, that was the summer of 2009.  It was in July that my grandfather had just passed away from cancer, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and the love of my life (besides my wife), my dog, was also suspected of having cancer after having a tumor removed. Needless to say, it was bleak couple weeks preceding my departure for Comic-Con.  Up until then, we never had any history of cancer in our family.  Damn microwave ovens!  So anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, The Hangover.

Film  

The Hangover was one of these films I had very little interest in from the initial trailers.  Honest to God, the trailer did not excite me at all for this film.  It was word of mouth and the positive buzz that struck an accord with me instantly the day after the film was released.  I remember that particular Friday night’s selections very fondly.  It was between The Hangover and Drag Me To Hell (DMTH).  I heard nothing but good things about DMTH from peeps of mine who were lucky enough to get into the free screening the week before so I dragged (no pun intended) my wife and friends to that one.  Surprisingly, for a horror movie, we laughed our a$$es off and I was once again on the Sam Raimi bandwagon.  But try as I might, DMTH was not the antidote I was looking for to take my mind off things.  Luckily for me, I found it the very next day in The Hangover.

That fateful Saturday afternoon, I laughed my a$$ off harder than I thought possible during The Hangover.  For my third viewing of the film, I remember dragging fellow reviewer Gregg Senko to go see it.  It was during the scene where they are driving out to Las Vegas and the guys made the crack on the way Zach Galifianakis’ character pronounced the word “retard” that I lost it when Gregg could not stop laughing.  My stomach hurt me so bad.  I think we literally laughed for ten minutes straight until people started giving us dirty looks in the theater.  I had not laughed that hard in a theater since I saw Dumb and Dumber back in the early 90’s.  It was then that I knew I found the perfect cure for the “summertime blues” and I couldn’t have been happier about it.  I saw it a total of five times with a two week period before my departure for Comic-Con.

It’s also very rare when a film manages to cross the generational gaps in society.  What I mean by that is although The Hangover features a hip young cast of actors that are the ‘big” thing in Hollywood right now, this movie can be enjoyed by both the young and older audiences alike.  I recommended this film to my parents simply because I thought they would enjoy the Vegas scenery even though they really don’t get into the rude and crude comedies.  Well to my surprise, they ended up liking it a little more than I ever thought possible and I am happy to say, they are proud owners of the film on Blu-ray without any coercion on my part.  And there was also this other moment back in July of 2009 when I was chatting with my strict Catholic cousin and her husband of servitude and they coincidentally happened to ask me if I saw The Hangover.  I immediately said yes, but never expected what would transpire next.   My jaw almost dropped from its delicate hinges when they said how much they loved it and started talking about their favorite scenes.  We ended up talking about the film for hours.  There was probably more time spent talking to them about The Hangover that day than anything else I had ever spoken to them about in the past five years.  If that wasn’t a WTF moment, then I don’t know what is.

Alright, enough about me, let’s talk The HangoverOld School’s Todd Phillips directed the 2009 comedy film.    It stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, “Roller Girl” Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor and Mr. “Godzilla” himself, Ken Joeng.  Oh yeah, I guess I should mention that there’s a few cameos within too, like Wayne Newton, Carrot Top, “Iron” Mike Tyson and even Todd Phillips, himself.  So ultimately, just how popular was the film, let’s find out…

The Hangover ended up being the tenth highest grossing movie of 2009 and earned the prestigious title of the highest grossing R-rated comedy ever in the United States, surpassing a record previously held by Beverly Hills Cop nearly 25 years ago.  That’s not too shabby for a script that Lindsay Lohan turned down because she said it was stupid.  And get this…out of all R-rated movies; it is the third highest grossing ever in the United States.  I knew there was some reason why I liked the film.  I take great pride in knowing I contributed significantly to the 467 million dollars worth of ticket sales.

So I hope you don’t expect me to be giving some kind of long-winded synopsis of what the film is all about.  If you are one of the small percentages of society that have not seen this film as of yet, then you should stop reading this review right now.  You should scroll all the way to the bottom here and click-to-buy this Blu-ray today.  It comes with my personal lifetime guarantee that you will love and cherish this film for all time.  Of course, I am not stupid enough to offer any kind of monetary reimbursement plans, but my word alone should be plenty of reason to warrant a purchase of one of the greatest comedies, in my opinion, ever.

Well, just in case there are a few Hangover virgins out there, let me break it down for you.  It goes a little something like this.  The Hangover is like the Memento of comedies.  You will quickly understand what I mean by that in a minute.  Simply put, the comedy is about a bachelor party in Vegas gone very, very wrong.  Two days before his wedding, Doug (Bartha) drives out to Las Vegas with his best buddies Phil (the coolest guy in the world…Cooper) and Stu (Helms) along with his misfit future brother-in-law Alan (Galifianakis).  Up on the rooftop of Caesar’s Palace, the foursome makes a vow to have the night they will never forget.  And that’s exactly what they had.  When the three groomsmen wake up the next morning with pounding headaches (aka a “hangover”), they find their $4,000 a night room trashed and they can’t remember a thing.  It probably does not help either that there’s a chicken loose in the room, a tiger in the bathroom and a baby hanging in the closet.  But worst of all, where’s the groom?  Short on clues and with little time to spare, the trio must retrace their steps and reconstruct the night if they want to find Doug and get him back to L.A. in time for the wedding.  The only problem is that the more they uncover, the more they realize just how much trouble they are really in.

This comedic masterpiece made its Blu-ray debut last December.  So why so soon with the double-dip?  I really have no idea.  I guess it’s for suckers like me who like this movie so much that they compulsively have to have every version released, but I could be wrong.  Personally, it would have made a heck of a lot more sense to release this next year to coincide with the release of the sequel.  Then Warner Brothers could have offered valuable incentives to double-dip like free movie cash or a special sneak peak of the upcoming film.  Oh well, I guess that’s why I’m not in marketing.

So what’s new with the Extreme Edition?  Would you believe me if I told you not much?  That’s the honest to God truth.  The only thing you will find different here compared to the 2009 Blu-ray release is some new artwork, packaging, a CD soundtrack sampler and a small 28-page wedding book with more incriminating photos from the Las Vegas union.  Oops!  I almost forgot.  There’s also one free admission (up to a $7.50 value) enclosed to Due Date.  Besides these aforementioned minor items, nothing else has changed.  There are still both versions of the movie on the Blu-ray disc, the unrated and the theatrical, and all the special features are identically the same from last year’s release.  Can I recommend this as a necessity for fans to pick up?  Sure I can.  But in all honesty, if what I said to you a few sentences ago doesn’t have you doing cartwheels, then you are probably much stronger in the Force than I am and perfectly happy with your 2009 release.  Anyway, let’s cut straight to the chase and see how the Blu-ray vitals shake out.  Shall we?

Video  

The Hangover sports a warm, but reliable 1080p VC-1 video transfer presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.  The video score may not reflect how perfect I think the movie is, but let’s face it, this Blu-ray disc is the best way to experience The Hangover in all its LOL glory.  So let’s start with the good news first.  Skin tones are all normal, blacks are solid and detail is impeccable in certain close-up shots.  If you like Zach’s scruffy beard or hairy belly, then you my friend are in luck.  How about those not so goods?  Well, even in the theater, The Hangover suffered from some soft shots and noisy images every once in awhile so you can’t fault the Blu-ray transfer for this, but you can’t exactly give it a perfect score either (as much as I want to).  Still, not every single shot can be as pristine as they are when filmed under the baking temperatures of the volcanic Vegas sun.  Truth be told, it’s my favorite film of 2009 and this video transfer doesn’t take anything away from my enjoyment of the film.  Take that for what it’s worth.

Audio  

The audio of The Hangover has always been a pet peeve of mine dating back to my five theatrical visits.  I remember sitting there each time and thinking to myself, “Why is the dialogue so low?”  Anyone that knows me understands how picky and irritated I get when I can’t hear a film’s dialogue.  I was hoping they would fix this before the movie’s eventual Blu-ray release?  Well, did they?  I guess…sort of.  The dialogue sounds a bit stronger here than what I remember it being in the theater.  Everything does seem clear and intelligible, and that’s the important part, right?  The soundtrack of The Hangover can boisterous at times, when they use music to emphasize key scenes and emotions (it excels at this), but otherwise, it’s a pretty flat audio track throughout.  The supplied Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track is nothing to write home about.  It gets the job done, but I would still like to see it stronger and more in your face.  But what can you really expect from a comedy anyway?  Oh you know me; I can expect a hell of a lot.  No, your rear speakers are not broken.  They are just prone to fall asleep from time-to-time here.  But hey, it could be worse.  How so you ask?  This could be a 2.0 stereo track like found on the Blu-ray release of The Human Centipede.  Be thankful for what we got to work with here folks.  I am.

Special Features  

Well if you made it this far into my review, then here’s why you really came…the Special Features.  Sadly, as I mentioned above, there’s only a handful of extras here that were not part of the original 2009 Blu-ray release.  To recap they were: new artwork and packaging, a CD soundtrack sampler, a small 28-page wedding book with more incriminating photos from the Las Vegas union and $7.50 in movie cash for the upcoming comedy Due Date.  If you put two-and-two together like I initially did, then you will quickly realize that not one of those extras I just mentioned has anything to do with the packaged Blu-ray media.  But for what it’s worth, we are talking The Hangover here and you should own every single release of this film, right?  Thankfully, Warner Brothers decided to still keep both versions of this film, the theatrical and unrated, on this Blu-ray release.  I would have been very angered if they didn’t.  And you would not want to see me when I get I angry.  So let’s take a closer look at what’s contained within the supplemental package here that are all, thankfully, in glorious HD.

  • Picture-in-Picture Commentary with the Stars and Director (HD) – Watch the move with Cooper, Helms, Galifianakis and Phillips as they lounge in a little video window and provide whimsical insight about the movie.  If video commentaries are your thing, then have at it here.  This option is only available for the theatrical presentation of the film.  Make sure to keep that in mind.
  • More Pictures From The Missing Camera (HD) – I don’t think I really need to explain this one.  If you want to see some unused shots, then check this one out.
  • Map of Destruction (HD) – This one is a bit interesting, in concept that is.  It’s a clickable map of Vegas and allows viewers to retrace the character’s steps by clicking on one of the 13 points for a short 2-minute featurette.
  • The Madness of Ken Jeong (HD) – Everyone seems to be a fan of this extra, but it quickly warms out its welcome on me after a short while.  Anyway, here’s an 8-minute look at the ramblings and alternate takes of comedian Ken Jeong.  As a side note, I do think this guy is quite hilarious.
  • Action Mash Up (HD) – Despite its under 1-minute brevity, I do like this one.  Here’s an all too quick look at the zany scenarios and body blows within the film.
  • Three Best Friend’s Song (HD) – Although this song is funny in the film, I could really without the full version here and on the soundtrack I own.  This is the extended version of the “Three Best Friends” song.  Enjoy!
  • The Dan Band Performs “Fame” (HD) – I love this band!  It’s too bad I did not know of them back in 2005 or I would have recruited them for my own wedding.  Here’s a quick, but hilarious look at them performing the 80’s hit song “Fame.”
  • Gag Reel (HD) – For once, here’s a gag reel I actually did not mind viewing.  Take it for what it’s worth, this gag reel clocks in around the 8-minute mark.  Watch it!
  • Deluxe Full-Color 28-Page Wedding Photo Album – It’s exactly what the name says it is folks.  Here we have never-before-seen candid shots of the secret Vegas ceremony and celebration that the movie did not show.  As a fan, I had to have this.  And so should you!  But seriously, unlike the pictures in the film, there is nothing obscene or not safe for work to be found here.  It’s kind of disappointing, but at least it’s bounded in a hard cover.
  • Soundtrack Sampler – The enclosed CD contains the songs “Theme from The Hangover,” “Stu’s Song,” “Who Let The Dogs Out,” “Stupid Tiger” and “Candy Shop” by Dan Finnerty and The Dan Band.  It’s weird because I own the film’s soundtrack and a couple of the previously mentioned songs are not on there.  What the heck?
  • e-Movie Cash – Get up to $7.50 off one admission to the upcoming Phillips’s comedy Due Date (valid from 11/5/10 to 11/21/10), starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis.  You have to log onto to a website, redeem a code and then print out your admission certificate.

Final Thoughts  

Well there you have it folks.  The question for tenure fans is whether or not to double-dip.  If having this exclusive 28-page photo album, different artwork and packaging, a CD soundtrack sampler and $7.50 in movie cash for Due Date is worth an extra 20+ bucks to you, then I say have at it.  If none of those items appeal to you, then take it from me, you are not missing out on much by hanging onto your 2009 release.  I really question what if anything will Warner Brothers do when the sequel comes out next summer.  Do you think they will triple-dip?  I would not put anything past the studios, but if they do, that third release better have some tangible assets and some movie cash or else it is going to get laughed at and pushed to the wayside like so many fans will do to this Extreme Edition.  So it’s really simple, either double-dip or pass on this one folks.  People picking this title up for the very first time will probably want to pick this one up unless having a Digital Copy is a necessity for you.  In that case, I’m sad to say, this Extreme Edition does not come with a Digital Copy.  The Hangover: Extreme Edition arrives on retail shelves everywhere tomorrow, Tuesday, October 12th.

*

Pre-order The Hangover: Extreme Edition on Blu-ray today!

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

8 Responses to “The Hangover: Extreme Edition (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gerard Iribe

    Brian, never judge the audio in the theater with the audio on a bluray. Theaters usually have like 5 center channels and a bunch of speakers on the right and left sides that produce the same sound multiplied. That, and they just turn the volume on really loud. It’s not even lossless and they’re at a very low bit-rate. I think it’s your mind playing tricks. A placebo if you will. The AQ bumps, and I heard EVERYTHING clearly on the blu-ray.

    No, I’m not double dipping either.

  2. Brian White

    You sure about the AQ statement you made? When you say it BUMPS on Blu-ray, do you mean it sounds aggressive? Because if so, I beg you to go back and revisit it. Just to be sure, I popped the disc in again last night before publishing this and the audio is relatively low and front heavy on this disc (as most comedies are). I can agree with your statement, for the most part, about the theaters (but not every theater is that way), but not with the Blu-ray.

  3. Gerard Iribe

    Yeah, the film sounds great on blu-ray. I never had to turn it up or down, because of sound issue. My favorite part of the film is the end credits with the “you spin me round” remix and montage. It sounds great.

    IDK what to tell you, Brian. I’m also not saying it’s demo material by any means.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    Good review Brian! I was hoping that this new Extreme Edition would have more extras to justify the double-dip but it doesn’t look like it. I’ll just keep my unrated blu-ray of it.

  5. Brian White

    Thanks Sean! I concur with you. There’s not much of an incentive for previous Blu-ray owners to upgrade to here. It’s just for the peeps who either do not own the 2009 release or have nothing better to do with their money.

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