Monday, February 22, 2010

Miss Congeniality/Miss Congeniality 2 Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 37.3 GB
Miss Congeniality Film Size: 18.3 GB
Miss Congeniality 2 Film Size: 18.8 GB
Film Ratings: PG-13
Region: ABC

The Video
Miss Congeniality and Miss Congeniality 2 come to Blu-ray with 1080p VC-1 video presentations. Both films feature slightly lower bitrates, but this is something that is common among all Warner Bros. Blu-ray releases.

For the most part, both films look very good in high-definition. There are certain scenes which did appear a bit waxy, but for the most part featured good depth and clarity. Both films look significantly better than their original DVD releases.

Colors were generally very vibrant and improved from the muddy DVDs, black levels in particular stayed inky and deep throughout. The waxy moments do make me question if DNR was applied at least during certain scenes, but if it was I am not too upset as the issue is relatively minor.

Both films can look a bit dated at times, but you have to remember the first film is now 10 years old and the sequel is now 5 years old. On the other hand there are many scenes which look brand new and feature an impressive amount of depth. If you set your expectations accordingly, you should be very satisfied and pleased by the high-def results. 8/10.

The Audio
Both films include 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. The quality of both tracks is actually very good. I could not remember how active the audio experiences were on DVD, but a quick comparison featured a significant upgrade in overall quality and clarity.

Dialogue in particular feels much more crisp and clear than the DVDs do and is never difficult to understand. Both mixes also feature a strong amount of surround sound use and feature impressive direction.

There were certain music moments which felt a bit more front-heavy than I had hoped, but are still very good overall. Considering both films are comedies, I didn’t expect too much out of either track. I find myself very satisfied by the quality of both tracks.

Neither mix is demo material whatsoever, but it’s certainly the best the films have ever sounded or will ever sound for that matter. The mixes are about as active as one can expect, and most importantly there is upgrade to be heard by both. 8/10.

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. Not that either had particularly impressive features, but it still is a major bummer to not see them included.

Frankly I don’t see either film getting another Blu-ray release in the future, so I would not recommend waiting for a re-release. For a limited time a slip cover is included with this double feature and of course the other WB double feature releases as well. 0/10.

The Movies
I was excited to see Miss Congeniality receive a Blu-ray release as I’ve always found it to be very entertaining and humorous. The sequel is one which I remember seeing, but completely forgot about. It was great to revisit both films in high-definition and memories quickly come back.

I’ve always found Sandra Bullock to be a very strong actress, yes she’s not known for very many dramas or award-worthy performances, but she is very likable. This past year she did a marvelous performance in ‘The Blindside’, which I very much enjoyed. This past year she also did ‘All about Steve’, which was among the worst reviewed films of the year. She’s literally up for best actress and worst actress this year.

Both Miss Congeniality and its sequel are not films that are meant to be taken seriously at all. The stories of both are far from realistic or thrilling; they are both comedies which are enjoyable for the most part. I have no problem admitting my love for certain chick-flicks and Miss Congeniality is one of them.

I really enjoyed watching Miss Congeniality again. Sandra Bullock is perfectly cast as FBI agent Gracie Hart who poses as a beauty contestant to unmask a criminal at the Miss United States pageant. Co-starring with her are Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, William Shatner and Candice Bergen.

The sequel was inevitable after the success of the first film, but revisiting the film reminded me why I forgot all about it. The sequel includes the return of Sandra Bullock as Gracie Hart, as well as the addition of actress Regina King.

The sequel really is disappointing in comparison, featuring some very pointless and goofy scenes that try to be funny but ultimately fall flat. The sequel does relate to the original story-wise, but perhaps it is one story that didn’t really need to be continued.

I don’t think the film is absolutely terrible, but I don’t like it anywhere as much as I do Miss Congeniality. The sequel is very weak and really does give sequels a bad name. It definitely feels much more like a cash-in than anything.

If you enjoyed the first movie you may find yourself liking the sequel, but ultimately I don’t think anyone prefers the sequel in this case. ‘Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous’ definitely knocks this double feature score down quite a bit. 6.5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Both films on one BD-50 for one great low price is something that is hard not to recommend. The lack of extras on these double features is disappointing, but ultimately something I can live with. Both high-def encodes on this release are quite healthy though. The Miss Congeniality Double Feature is ‘Recommended’ to fans and ‘Worth A Look’ to all others.

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