Thursday, March 31, 2011

Material Girls Blu-ray Review

Release Date: March 29th, 2011
Disc Size: 32.3 GB
Film Size: 30.2 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: A
The Video
Material Girls’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation that comes a little over 4 years after the original DVD release, and for the most part looks quite impressive in high-definition.

The transfer itself appears to be an accurate presentation of the film. Colors are well balanced and blacks are inky. The textures and detail of the environments and characters are easy to appreciate and an obvious upgrade from standard-definition.

There were no technical issues that I found throughout the presentation. However, not everything is perfect. It does not appear that the film is being preserved in the best way possible, as specks do pop up on occasion; perhaps a few times more than there should be for a more recent catalog film.

Overall the specks aren’t overly distracting; they just make the film look a bit more dated than it actually is. As a whole the presentation is very impressive, and I think fans of the film will be very pleased by the clear upgrade that is to be had by this Blu-ray release. 8.5/10

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital surround tracks are also included. Optional subtitles include English SDH and Spanish.

The audio starts off quite strong from the very start, MGM Lion roar and all. The film’s opening theme song ‘Material Girls’ features aggressive beats and you begin to think this is going to be a very good mix. Unfortunately things don’t stay that way and quickly go from good to mediocre.

Dialogue is easy to understand overall, but there are moments that sound quite flat and lifeless. The film’s surround use is very minimal; most scenes are restricted to the front speakers only. Club scenes expand to the surround speakers to create a decent surround experience, but it was nothing special either.

As a whole I think the mix sounds fine. I didn’t expect to be impressed by the audio and I left quite unimpressed. I do think there is an improvement in quality with this lossless mix, but even a lossless codec can’t save a lifeless audio mix. There was nothing too bad about the mix, it just doesn’t stand out and is very forgettable. 6.5/10

The Extras

Audio Commentary
With Director Martha Coolidge

Getting To Know Hilary and Haylie (9:42) (SD)
As the Marchetta sisters

Cast of Characters (9:56) (SD)
The making of Material Girls

Material Girls Music Montage (2:22) (SD)
Clips of the film with theme song “Material Girl” performed by Hilary and Haylie Duff in the background.

Music Video (3:11) (SD)
Hilary Duff - “Play With Fire”

Theatrical Trailer (2:19) (HD)
The theatrical trailer is included in high-definition, unexpected, but hopefully a trend that continues.

This Blu-ray disc does not feature a main menu, rather a generic pop-up menu that is available anytime during the film with audio/subtitle options, chapter selection and bonus feature selections. Thankfully MGM has ported over the previous DVD extras and included the theatrical trailer in high-definition, which is a nice and welcome surprise.

The bonus features are satisfying for a film like this; younger audiences will likely enjoy them a lot more. Overall I think viewers will be very pleased by the extras included and it is understandable that no new extras were included for this non-special edition release. 5/10

The Movie
Material Girls’ stars Hilary Duff and her sister Haylie Duff. The film is directed by Martha Coolidge who was directed films such as ‘Real Genius,’ ‘Out to Sea’ and ‘The Prince and Me,’ as well as television episodes for ‘Sex and the City,’ ‘Psych’ and ‘Weeds.’

‘Material Girls’ tells the story of the Marchetta sisters who are living the dream life but things ultimately come crashing and are lead to face reality. This storyline isn’t very original and we have seen it done a few times in slightly different ways, but it isn’t all bad.

The film is quite cheesy, many moments feeling like a made for television production and not a feature film. Hilary and Haylie Duff are likeable leads, but don’t really bring anything special to the roles and there are certainly some moments of really bad acting.Let’s face it though; this film was not made for adults. The target audience is clear with the storyline, casting and style. Tween girls in particular will definitely enjoy the film a lot more than adults would, and why not, the film is harmless and fun.

The film has been butchered by critics and plenty of viewers, but I have seen far worse when it comes to teen/tween targeted films. The film while far from perfect delivers a cute storyline with a good message for young viewers. This is certainly no Oscar worthy film, but I don’t think tween audiences will mind. 6/10

The Blu-news Summary
Material Girls’ is a fun harmless film that younger audiences will enjoy much more than adults will. The Blu-ray release features a strong video presentation and decent audio mix. The extras are all ported from the DVD, but the high-def trailer is a welcome addition. Overall this Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended’ to any fan of the film.

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