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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – Steelbook Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Shout Factory has been putting out some exclusive steelbook releases of films the last couple years to sort of add to their collection. A surprising one to many once it was announced/unveiled last year, was that they would be putting out 2016’s Lonely Island film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. One, it was a a super recent movie for Shout! Factory to be getting their hands on and two, the original release from Universal was already stacked to the max with bonus features and had a terrific transfer. What more could be done? Well, Shout! Factory agrees with you as the exclusivity of this is squarely on the steelbook packaging. Aside from a Shout! Factory logo seen at the disc’s startup, everything is the exact same. But, you gotta admit that steelbook artwork IS pretty killer. You can pre-order it from the Shout! Factory website or by using the Amazon link below (Which goes to benefit Why So Blu’s Associate’s account).

Film 

After a two-year, sold-out, worldwide tour, Conner4Real is the biggest name in music. Then, his sophomore album flops, with Rolling Stone rating it with a “sh*t emoji.” Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping goes behind the scenes as Conner faces a crisis of popularity, leaving fans, sycophants and rivals all wondering what to do when Conner4Real is no longer the dopest star of all. The hilarious comedy from blockbuster producer Judd Apatow (Trainwreck, Superbad, Knocked Up) and Digital Short superstars, The Lonely Island, is loaded with cameos from the biggest names in comedy and music, including Justin Timberlake, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Carrie Underwood, DJ Khaleed, Nas, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ringo Starr, Simon Cowell, Questlove, Mariah Carey, and many more.

Sadly, like MacGruber six years before it, an insanely funny, thoughtful and reflective comedy bombed on us during the summer of 2016. Popstar had a funny trailer, plenty of buzz but yet…no interest from the public for some reason. Or maybe people only care about Lonely Island when it comes to Spotify and YouTube videos where it doesn’t require them to make much of an effort or spend any money (And why they are likely just to subject us to things on streaming services from now on like Bash Bros). And its a damn shame, because Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is one the best things they’ve ever done.

While Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is largely a comedy based on outrageous events, language and absurd song lyric choices, one can’t help see how brilliantly satirical the whole thing is. In some odd way, no joke, this is likely very close to a drama for a real pop star in our modern age. Lonely Island is both around this stuff and is very aware of it. While they know how to write great sketches and jokes, how much of this basically wrote itself from experience, interviews and research with actual artists? Conner 4 Real is insanely genuine and it feels like we are seeing an actual artist’s life with just a tweak of a humorous spin on it. I have no shame in not just saying the film is damn funny, but its also damn brilliant too.

So, if you could, seek out Popstar. Go back, you missed it. Give it that chance. And if its not funny enough for you, I don’t know what to tell ya. Lonely Island has crafted an instant classic, that now takes on that of cult status thanks to low box office and hopefully passes and lives on through the dozens of us who love it. Extending the genius of this movie is the art for the steelbook release for the film, which makes for one awesome packaging design (And poster for those who ordered through Shout! Factory).

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is from the exact same disc as the Universal release from 2016. The film features an array of video sources, from phone videos, low res home videos, live concert camera footage and more. All of it handled very well here and most of the “modern” stuff here is razor sharp, highly detailed brings an overall bright, vivid image.

Depth: Depth of field is pretty strong, especially in the concert sequences as they lend to a more three dimensional nature. Movements are natural and smooth with very little in the way of distortion issues (That may be caused by the source anyway).

Black Levels: Blacks are on the lighter, grayer end of things but do nicely with shadow and helping to define the image with little to no information eaten up. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors pop fantastically here with a naturally vibrant palette on display. This is a really bright, upbeat movie and the color saturation here reflects that quite expertly.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from opening to closing of the film. Facial features and textures are abundant from any given camera distance and carry an almost “looking through a window”-like quality of information to them.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Video Service

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: While Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping only came out with a mere 5.1 track in the time of Atmos and well into the 7.1 era, this thing is no slouch. You probably aren’t even gong to miss it honestly. This is a jovial, lively, loud and incredibly engaging experience that brings the concert to your living room and has a playful way of including every speaker in any circumstance or atmosphere provided.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Your subwoofer is an all star and you should have a Gatorade of a beer ready for it after the movie is over. This thing HAMMERS in and really makes the songs in this movie bounce on a whole new level as well as beefing up all your normal sound effects.

Surround Sound Presentation: As mentioned, every channel is tracked to good precision. Sound travel is done in a fun, expert and logical fashion. The songs and music in the film have a playful nature of speaker travel and interaction as well.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are razor clear and quite crisp, holding in plenty of diction. The transition from dialogue to song has a little tick of change but nothing humongous. Singing is also well captured and displayed with a nice prominence that isn’t at all overbearing to the other channels.

Extras 

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping comes in exclusive steelbook packaging.

Audio Commentary

  • With Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer And Jorma Taccone

Deleted Scenes (HD, 43:30)

Music Videos

  • “I’m a Weirdo”
  • “Equal Rights”
  • “Mona Lisa”
  • “Bin Laden”
  • “F*** Off”
  • “Legalize It”

Gag Reel (HD, 3:25)

Interview Outtakes (HD, 6:39)

Bonus Footage (HD, 9:27)

How To Donkey Roll (HD, 1:11)

Big Boy Freestyle (HD, 1:59)

Frog Jizz (HD, :42)

Shooting Hoops (HD, :58)

“Turn Up the Beef” Backstory (HD, :50)

Sex Tape (HD, 1:05)

Fun at CMZ! (HD, 5:33)

Summary 

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is one of the most hilarious underseen comedies of this decade (And quite possibly this century). Any chance to get it back in the conversation is welcome and it definitely finds a welcome home in the Shout! Factory library of cult classic films both old and new. This Blu-ray disc is identical to what you had before. What you’re getting here is exclusive packaging, and sacrificing the DVD version and digital copy code for the movie (But, if you’ve owned it before, you already have the digital code and the DVD as a beverage coaster). This is a release truly for the super fans, as many might just opt that having the original release (Which retails much less) is fine enough for them.

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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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