Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Grumpy Old Men/Grumpier Old Men Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 38.1 GB
Grumpy Old Men Film Size: 19.6 GB
Grumpier Old Men Film Size: 18.3 GB
Film Ratings: PG-13
Region: ABC
The Video
Both Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men come to Blu-ray with 1080p VC-1 video presentations. Grumpy Old Men is available on Blu-ray as a standalone release which I had the opportunity to review last year, a slightly bigger encode is provided for this release, so slight that there are no differences to be found.

Last year I found the results of Grumpy Old Men in high-definition to be a mixed bag. The film starts off looking quite rough with dirt and specks and some very soft scenes. As we progress the transfer gets significantly more impressive and scenes actually feature a pleasant amount of detail.

I would not always describe the colors as rich or vibrant but are certainly improved from the DVD versions. Another big upgrade with the high-def release is that we are finally getting both movies in their original aspect ratio, with widescreen presentations for both movies.

The results of Grumpier Old Men are also quite pleasing. The film does have some rough moments like Grumpy Old Men and looks a bit muddy from time to time, but is overall a good upgrade from the standard DVD release.

The movies have always been on the softer side so it isn’t really a surprise that the Blu-ray release is also quite soft. The video presentations may not be particularly impressive, but are about as good as one could expect without a proper cleanup in the future. The proper aspect ratio of both films is reason enough for fans to upgrade to this high-def release. 7/10.

The Audio
A 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for Grumpy Old Men while Grumpier Old Men includes a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Neither track will knock your socks off at all, but luckily Warner Bros. has provided a lossless track for each.

Both mixes are extremely front heavy with most noises coming from the center speaker, about as crisp and clear as one could expect from these films. The fact that the films are so front-heavy do make both mixes sound quite dated, but they were never meant to be surround sound experiences so it’s fine.

Nobody will be impressed by the quality of these films, but I really didn’t expect much out of either track to be honest. The quality of both tracks is about as good as I can ever imagine them sounding. Surround use really is not necessary for either film. 7/10.

The Extras
There no extras to be found on this release unfortunately, a sacrifice that is not necessary but is done for these double feature releases. The original Blu-ray release of Grumpy Old Men included a standard-definition theatrical trailer, but nothing else. The DVD versions of these movies did not feature any extras either and are presented in fullscreen. Not much of a loss here to be honest. 0/10.

The Movies
Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men are now available on Blu-ray on one BD50 Blu-ray disc. This is a perfect pair and it’s great to have both films available for one great low price. I’ve always liked both films and it is one of those rare occasions where the sequel is just as enjoyable as the first.

Both films star Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as ice-fishing pals. Ann-Margaret also stars in both films and is the main target of the original. The sequel adds the very talented and very funny Sophia Loren as the new woman in town who plans to turn the town’s bait shop into a chichi ristorante.

It’s a rare occasion when two actors can have such fantastic comedic chemistry, but Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau have just that. When the two are on-screen together it is impossible not to laugh, they are an absolute riot and add to what would likely be very mediocre films without both of them involved.

Chances are most you reading have already seen both films if not one or the other. I love that both films are included on the same disc as they actually would have been the same size encode-wise had they been released separately.

This is the type of movie where a double features makes perfect sense and if you have time it’s something you will likely watch back to back. The stories of both films are far from special, but the actors involved definitely add a lot making these hard to resist. 8/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Overall I am very satisfied by this Double Feature Blu-ray release. Both films receive proper encodes and satisfying lossless audio tracks. Extras are lacking, but they have always been for these films. A missing standard-definition trailer is not enough for me to care about. Overall this double feature is ‘Recommended.

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