Pineapple Express: Extended Version Blu-ray Review
PicturePineapple Express is presented to us with a 1080p resolution, encoded using AVC, in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. As with previous Sony titles, this is given a great transfer for what is a fairly unflashy comedy that lacks any real moments of visual panache or punch. The colours are good, if a touch washed out at times, but this merely helps the era feel to the film rather than detracting from proceedings. Textures are also distinct and crisp and contain great detail. This enables the differing clothing to have a genuine three dimensional look to it and the overall image has a very good sense of depth. Grain is fairly even throughout with only minor imbalances. Contrast was strong, with blacks and whites being deep and clear whilst avoiding the loss of any extra detail.
Unlike the previous Sony comedy “Step Brothers”, here skin tones are pleasingly realistic and never fall foul of the darkened tones that was the fly in the ointment of that film. There is the very occasional moment of slight softness but this is really the needle rather than the haystack in terms of the quality that is on show with this transfer. There's little to fault this image - that which can be highlighted is certainly not in any way distracting and overall this Blu-ray treatment is arguably far beyond what was needed for such a comedy movie to be a success. The transfer is crisp, clean and unhindered by artefacts and the like.
SoundI spent my time listening to the Dolby TrueHD track. This, like previous comedy fare, tends to sit somewhat front heavy in terms of soundstage. The centre is always going to be the priority for such a film as to miss a line is to miss a joke. Thus it's nice that the dialogue is clear and voices succinct. Although the majority of the noise is emanating from the front, the rears do kick in during the action segments and, when used, do provide a good degree of depth and cohesion to the mix. The sub was rarely called to duty, but for climactic fight scenes the volleys of gunfire were surprisingly sharp and focused.
The standout feature of the mix, for me, was the integration of the music. When Eddie Grant's “Electric Avenue” pipes from Dale's car, the rich warmth of the track fills the soundstage perfectly without ever overpowering. Overall, much like the transfer, there isn't really anything to gripe about here. The only minor con will be for those who prefer their movies to have a bassy punch, who may prefer the room to shake a little more when the explosions start.
ExtrasCommentary with filmmakers and cast
Fairly self explanatory. Various members of the cast and crew including Rogen and Franco discuss the film and how it came to be made.
Extended version of the film
Nothing too grand, just an additional five minutes of mainly elongated scenes, but more comedy is always good in my view.
Deleted scenes - 480p - 3:27
Three scenes that add little to the film in terms of laughs or narrative and therefore highlight why they were cut.
Extended and alternate scenes - 480p - 21:06
We see more of the opening prologue, the bonding conversation in the woods, bickering Asian gangsters, the high school drug deal, Dale getting arrested/molested, Angie's family hiding in the motel and Dale, Saul and Red in a diner apparently after the film has ended discussing whether they'll go to jail for mass murder following the climactic shoot out.
The making of Pineapple Express - 1080i - 21:08
An interesting insight into how the film came into creation. Judd Apatow tells us of the time he watched “True Romance” on laserdisc and mused about the character Brad Pitt plays having an entire film dedicated to him, as well as wanting to “make a movie about guys who are high, that looked like a Jerry Bruckheimer movie - like “Bad Boys” if everyone was stoned”. We also get to see vintage footage of a young Rogen and Franco where they met on the set of “Freaks and Geeks”.
The action of Pineapple Express - 1080i - 12:19
A continuance of “The making of...” that concentrates on the action side of things. Lots of clips of scenes being filmed from the point of view of the crew behind the camera. We learn about the devices and technology used such as the “Go-mobile” and the “Ultimate Arm” used in the car chase sequence.
Phone Booth - 480p - 6:25
Happy and angry versions of the conversation Dale has with his girlfriend towards the end of the film. However, as this was being done before the role of Angie was cast, Judd Apatow is playing her part off camera, which makes for troubling listening.
Line-o-rama - 480p - 3:28
A collection of different improvised lines
Direct-o-rama - 480p - 3:47
David Gordon Green giving instructions and prompts to the actors as to alternative ways in which lines are to be delivered. Green appears to have a genuine comic talent and an ability for getting the best out of his actors, “say it more effeminate” etc.
Gag reel - 480p - 4:55
Fluffed lines and corpsing from the actors.
Item 9 - 480p - 4:17
A mock archive film of the scientific experiments from the opening of the story which warns of exposure to pineapple express (the strain of marijuana from which the film gets its title).
Saul's apartment - 480p - 13:46
Red and Saul are hanging out in his apartment when a variety of characters from the film drop in to apologise, buy drugs and proposition them.
Raw footage - 480p - 32:43
Fairly close to the direct-o-rama feature with static camera and split screen shots of what ends up being multi-angled scenes in the finished movie.
Begley's best - 1080i - 5:43
What may seem like a skit, is in fact a real insight into the burgeoning business Ed Begley Jr is building selling environmentally friendly cleaning products. Its inclusion here is quite bizarre but rather touching for the lengths the man goes to.
Red and Jessica's guide to marriage - 1080i - 4:12
A mock instructional/self help video to aid couples in the keeping of a happy and healthy relationship - the Red Green way!
Injury report - 1080i - 4:56
Cut hand, bruise on knee, fractured finger and a mosquito bite are all among the injuries Rogen parades as if he were Jackie Chan. The only injury of any real note is Franco running head first into a tree, requiring him to have stitches and leading to him looking pretty concussed.
Stuntmaster Ken - 1080i - 3:12
A short skit with one of the actors claiming he did all the stunt coordination for this film as well as “Amelie” and “Nicholas Nickleby”.
Rehearsal 3/6/07 - police liaison - 1080i - 5:40
A rehearsal of the scene where Dale is handcuffed and fondled by a police liaison officer after selling drugs to her students.
Table read 3/4/06 - 1080i - 8:36
Two scenes with Franco and Rogen giving a seated run through of the script.
Comic-con panel - 480p - 7:33
Apatow and cast discussing the film at the huge San Diego based comic convention.
Red Band trailer - 1080p - 2:47
A trailer for the film to the tune of “Paper planes” by MIA
Overall, a healthy set of extras that perhaps contains an amount of filler but more is surely preferable than less?
VerdictI came to “Pineapple Express” fully expecting to like it and I wasn't disappointed. As a fan of the Apatow and Rogen comedies of recent years this was always likely to be to my tastes. The acting is performed by a veritable host of under rated comedic personalities and manages to virtually never put a foot wrong. This is less a hit and miss laugh a minute ride whereby if one joke misses its target another will be along in a second. Instead it falls closer to a surreal road movie, with an endearing populace and the added bonus of laughs along the way. The central protagonists learn something about themselves and there is real warmth to their relationship by the end.
Ultimately though, this stands as a film that aimed for many targets and risked being a” jack of all trades, master of none”. Luckily, under the astute direction of David Gordon Green, not only have they assembled a cornucopia of comic talent that is capable of absurd turns of hilarity, the action is also adeptly orchestrated. Head shots, wire work, explosions and car jumps all add to the comedy of nipple twists and bum punching to a remarkable degree. It can be considered a fine triumph that Green has managed to meld these elements, as well as that of the classic stoner movie to such effect that their cohesion seems never in doubt. Yes it can be dumb, vulgar and childish, but it is hard to fault a film for being exactly what it set out to be. If you're unaware of the stable of comedy that this feature comes from, then you may be disappointed, but for the rest of us, this is an unreserved success. A dumb, high, action comedy buddy movie with a soft centre.
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