Friday, June 25, 2010

When In Rome Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 29.7 GB
Film Size: 21.0 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A
The Video
When In Rome’ comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. First off, I have to say I am not a big fan of the film’s look. The film’s look is something we have seen with a few Blu-ray releases in the past in which many scenes feature a soft glow.

The soft glow isn’t a technical issue whatsoever; particularly in this case as no DNR or edge enhancement is present unlike some other transfers I had issues with. The image features a very pleasing if not impressive level of detail if you get past the slightly misty look of the movie.

Colors are quite great, certain moments looked a bit more pushed than I would have liked, but overall they compared to any new release on Blu-ray. Black levels remained solid throughout, generally nice and inky throughout.

Luckily I was also sent the DVD version of the film to compare with the Blu-ray release. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the DVD would feature the same soft glow throughout, but I wasn’t sure how big of an upgrade the Blu-ray would be or wouldn’t be.

Comparing the two versions it really was no competition. The less attractive scenes on the Blu-ray looked SO much worse on the Blu-ray. It really reminds me how big of an upgrade Blu-ray can provide. The DVD looks far less detailed and just looks sloppy when handling those scenes, clearly limited by the smaller encode.

The comparison really made me appreciate the Blu-ray release that much more. The film really isn’t going to look much better than it does on this Blu-ray release. The upgrades it provides are easy to appreciate and definitely help make this a much more enjoyable experience. 8/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Also included are French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. Optional subtitles include English for the Hearing Impaired, French and Spanish.

The audio on this release is about as good as one could expect. The film is a romantic comedy, with heavy focus on the comedy. Dialogue is priority here and is presented without a hitch. There wasn’t a moment that was difficult to understand or even felt slightly overpowered.

The film features some currently popular pop songs that are aggressive (in a good way) and make the mix a bit more exciting as a whole. The music moments also expand nicely into the surround area, helping create an immersive experience.

The film picks up in surround use especially towards the end as we experience a really bad thunderstorm in which the blasts wake up your surround speakers and create quite the unexpected surround-use moments.

The mix is definitely impressive as it works with the content and creates an experience that is more immersive than one would generally expect from a romantic comedy. I really can’t complain at all about the audio as it definitely was better than I anticipated as well as a notable improvement from Dolby Digital on the DVD version. 8/10.

The Extras

Alternate Opening and Ending (7:17) (HD)
Included are alternate versions of the opening and ending of the film, which are mediocre at best.

Crazy Casanovas: Mischief from the Set (12:28) (HD)
This feature serves as the behind-the-scenes look of the film, including cast and crew interviews.

Extended Pain with the Suitors (2:39) (HD)
This is an extended sequence where the Suitors turn the Guggenheim Museum into their own Pain Exhibit.

Kerplunk!: Bloopers From Rome (3:07) (HD)
This is your typical blooper reel.

Deleted Scenes (7:45) (HD)
Eight deleted scenes are included and are presented in high-definition.

“Starstrukk” Music Video by 30H!3 Featuring Katy Perry (3:45) (HD)

“Stupid Love Letter” Music Video by Friday Night Boys (3:01) (HD)

The extras on this release are decently entertaining, although everything generally is kind of bland to me. Perhaps others will enjoy it if they enjoyed the film more than I did. I do feel this release should have been a combo pack and should have included a DVD copy of the movie. This is one which I think does appeal more to younger and female audiences especially; I think it is a missed opportunity really. 5/10.

The Movie
‘When In Rome’ is one movie which wasn’t something I was particularly excited to see, but I do admit the theatrical trailer looked semi-entertaining with some quite funny moments. Unfortunately going into the film I realized that all the funny moments were crammed into the trailer, leaving very little left as far as laughs go.

The movie is a goofy romantic comedy and that is what they went for. It works in certain aspects, with a very outlandish and diverse cast, but it also had many moments in which the goofy was just stupid. The film stars Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, they work well together but ultimately I thought the duo lacked chemistry for a believable romance.

Kristen Bell is quite attractive and has generated quite a male fan-base (but not really for her TV/film work). I thought she was great in Veronica Mars, but I don’t think she was cut out for leads in films. I didn’t find her acting to be that impressive and made the movie feel like a TV sitcom episode rather than a feature film.

The story really starts when her character pulls out coins from a fountain, causing someone to fall in love with her with every coin. Unfortunately for her the worst of the worst begin to fight for her love and the wackiness really begin.

Conveniently, all the coins she pulled out of the fountain where coins that men threw in the fountain. The story would have likely been much more interesting or entertaining if it involved another woman fighting for her love as well, I mean wouldn’t the ratio of women throwing coins in a fountain outweigh the amount of men throwing coins into a fountain?

Overall I found ‘When In Rome’ to be rather bland. Yes there is some great moments in the movie, many moments that had me laughing, but almost all of it can be seen in the theatrical trailer. If you don’t have interest in seeing the film, I wouldn’t recommend adding it to your Netflix queue or purchase plans. Those who are interested in the film should go in with lower expectations to avoid disappointment. It isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t do anything to stick out among the average romantic comedy. 5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
I can’t say I was a big fan of ‘When In Rome,’ but you may like it more than I do. The Blu-ray release is good and becomes much more impressive when compared to the DVD version. Overall the Blu-ray release of ‘When In Rome’ is ‘Recommended To Fans Of The Film,' but to others I have to be honest and say it is a ‘Rental At Best.

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