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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2011

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"Paul" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-august-2011-paul

Synopsis

Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are two nerds from the UK who travel to San Diego for the annual Comic-con Convention.  After Comic-con, they rent a motor home and set out on a tour of America's historic UFO sites.  Along the way, they are witness to a night time single-car crash.  When they stop to render aid, they are surprised to find that the driver is a bona-fide extraterrestrial named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogan).  Since his car is ruined, Paul asks Graeme to give him a lift to his destination.  Graeme agrees and the whole troupe sets off on a wild road trip all the while being pursued by federal agents (Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver, et al.) and the gun toting father of a woman they kidnapped from a trailer park.  Will they be able to get Paul back to his mother ship after more than 60 years in human captivity?

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 2011, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 44 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Codec: VC-1
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogan and Jason Bateman
  • Directed by Greg Mottola
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

I found this movie only slightly above average for a comedy.  Much of the material is pretty banal, bordering on the infintile.  Though I generally enjoy base humor like this, "Paul" is stilted by the overly gratuitous use of swear words.  I also got my fill of homophobic jokes early on with this one.  And I'm sure any devoutly religious person would probably find this movie repulsive.  I still give it 3 stars for entertainment because of some excellent performances by Rogen, Kristen Wigg, Jason Bateman and the principals, Pegg and Frost.  Rogen as the alien delivers the most hilarious lines in the movie - many of these lines may slip past you if you aren't paying close attention.  So, even though a majority of the plot elements are predictable and I can think of several more fulfilling endings, this movie is a solid rental for those interested in a light diversion from their daily grind.

Technical

The video presentation is helped by being composed of mostly brightly lit scenes throughout.  The film does have a few night scenes with excellent highlights and average shadow detail.  I found that the motion capture technology behind the alien Paul was quite well done.  On the audio side, the voice intelligibility and naturalness is first rate.  The few scenes with action-oriented sound effects were acceptable if a little muted at the frequency extremes.

Extras

This two-disc package comes with the Blu-Ray, an anamorphic DVD and a Digital Copy.  There are tons of Special Features:  Between the Lightning Strikes - The Making of Paul; 8 separate Behind the Scenes Featurettes; a blooper reel; The Evolution of Paul - An Inside Look at How Paul Became a Living, Breathing Alien; Simon's Silly Faces - Simon Pegg Makes an Assortment of Wildly Funny Faces for the Camera; Who the Hell is Adam Shadowchild? - Find Out About the Legendary Sci-fi Writer from the Characters in Paul; a Feature Commentary with Greg Mottola, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Hader and Nira Park; Photo Galleries; Storyboards and Posters.