Paul Blu-ray Review
‘Paul’ lands on UK Region free Blu-ray with a very good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Coming from such a very recent source, the image is clean and free from dirt, dust and print damage of any kind – as you’d expect. The picture is sharp without appearing clinical and retains a modern filmic look although it’s generally free of film grain. There is a certain warmth to the image that does not go over the top with orangey Hollywood skin tones and our two British stars retain their pale UK pinkness. The colour palette is slightly muted overall to give the production an ‘every day’ kind of look. The contrast range is healthy and blacks are solid in the night shots. It looks very good without leaping off the screen at you.
The audio on ‘Paul’ comes in the DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround flavour and isn’t really of the big blockbuster variety although the bass extension adds great depth and presence to the mix. Dialogue is mostly directed through the front centre and is very clear which helps us catch all of the witty dialogue. The surrounds are used effectively for general ambience such as the crowd hubbub at the Comicon convention. They also deliver the goods with nice panning as the RV enters shot behind your right ear and exits front left. A standout sound treat is when Paul transfers his knowledge to Ruth and every speaker comes alive. The main stereo pair does a good job with the music track – geeing up the modern rock tracks. A good mix that does not attempt to overpower the audience.
The disc submitted for review was a single disc pre-production sample, which had no DVD or Digital copy – unlike the retail version. The Blu-ray contains both the 104 minute Theatrical release and the Unrated version which is 5 minutes longer. This review is based upon the Unrated version.
Filmmakers Commentary - This comm. track only runs over the Theatrical version of the movie but we have director Greg Mottola, Producer Nira Park bundled together with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Bill Hader giving us a lively and fun insight into the production, pointing out who’s who, who did what etc. Sounds like they all had a good time and got on well. Nira Park is a bit quiet.
Bloopers (HD, 11 mins) - The usual collection of fluffs, corpsing and prop problems. There is one funny scene where Messrs Pegg and Frost share a bed and give each other a goodnight kiss to send up the take. We know they’re just good friends. There’s a note on the end to advise us that at no time during the shoot did Paul make any mistakes.
Between the Lightning Strikes: The Making of 'Paul' (HD, 40 mins) - This ‘Making of’ featurette comes in two parts, but can be played one after the other using the Play All feature. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost explain how the idea for ‘Paul’ originated intercut with their own home video footage of their 10 day ‘research’ road trip across the USA. We hear why director Gregg Mottola wanted to make the movie and there’s input from other production staff as well as cast members like Seth Rogen who was the voice of Paul. This is entertaining stuff.
BTS Featurettes (HD, Total 63 mins) - A collection of mini featurettes featuring the cast and crew including:
RV Doorway: The Cast of ‘Paul’ on location - The Americans love the British writers and stars while ‘the boys’ return the compliments.
Runway Santa Fe: An Interview with Nancy Steiner - Who on earth is Nancy Steiner? Why she’s the Costume Designer on ‘Paul’ and she explains the costumes in the movie, especially the shorts for Paul.
Smithereens - A look at the Special Effects work involved in blowing up a house.
5th Date Level Direction: The Cast on Greg Mottola - Everyone says how much they love the director.
Mexico Zero: The locations of ‘Paul’ - Mr Pegg shows us the wonder of the locations while other cast members say how much they love or hate Mexico.
The Many Pauls - A look at the visual effects used to create Paul including the ‘on set’ rubber doll version as well as Seth Rogen’s movements being rotoscoped for the CGI version.
‘Paul’ the Musical - The cast members camp it up with their own song and dance routine between takes.
The Traveller Beagle - Nick Frost welcomes us to the interior of their RV on a studio soundstage and tells us how it’s all done.
The Evolution of ‘Paul’ (HD, 15 mins) - The director and animators explain the difficulties involved in creating a credible character using CGI and we get to see some of their test footage. We hear of the changes that were made at various stages and the staff of Double Negative in London line up to give us their input.
Simon’s Silly Faces (HD, 1 min 20s) - A montage of outtakes showing Simon Pegg pulling faces before and after a take.
Who the Hell is Adam Shadowchild (HD, 2 mins) - The mythical writer, Adam Shadowchild, is presented using a compilation of clips from the movie.
Trailers (HD, 13 mins total) - An exhaustive collection of every trailer produced for the movie including American and UK Theatrical, Internet, TV Spots and teasers. Who could ask for more?
Galleries - A fine collection of Stills taken by Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Wilson Webb behind the scenes and at rehearsals together with Storyboards and Posters for the movie.
The hugely entertaining ‘Paul’ escapes on to UK Region free Blu-ray with a good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The image is clean and sharp with good contrast throughout, which is what you’d expect from such a recent movie.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track ensures we catch all of the centre weighted witty dialogue while the sub adds presence and the surrounds take care of panning effects nicely.
There are extras by the shovel load here with many mini featurettes and a fun film maker’s commentary featuring the stars, the director and producer.
As a movie, it’s great fun with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost taking affectionate swipes at almost every Sci-Fi movie and TV show from the last 30 years as they help escaped alien Paul get back home. The laid back CGI alien steals the show, voiced by Seth Rogen. Mostly amusing with some real laugh out loud moments.
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