Mean Girls: Special Collector's Edition (2004)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Only The Strong Survive
Featurette-The Politics Of Girl World
Deleted Scenes-So Fetch, With Optional Commentary
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (73:34)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Mark S. Waters|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Mean Girls is surely not intended for 40 year old males. The target demographic is more likely to be young teen females. So what? My wife and I both really enjoyed this film - and needless to say, my young daughter absolutely loves it. It is rare for a Hollywood film to make me laugh out loud these days, but Mean Girls managed to just that - several times in fact.
Lindsay Lohan (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Freaky Friday, The Parent Trap) plays sixteen year old Cady Heron. This is her first day of school. Having been brought up in Africa and "home schooled" by her parents, her first exposure to the assorted geeks, b****es, jocks, dweebs, nerds, sluts and losers that make up the very fabric of modern American school system is sure to come as a culture shock. A girl who thinks that Ashton Kutcher might be a pop group is destined to have a pretty steep learning curve...
Cady soon realises that she has to find a guide to lead her through this blackboard jungle. Initially befriending a couple of "Art Freaks" the - possibly lesbian - Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and - certainly gay - Damian (Daniel Franzese), she is soon approached by the coolest, b****iest clique in town...the Plastics. These three young ladies are attractive, wealthy, vacuous, self-obsessed and arrogant beyond belief. Obviously they are the envy of everyone in the school.
Being deemed an official "hottie", Cady is tasked with infiltrating the Plastics and reporting back all the inside information to Damian and Janis. Inevitably, Cady finds that the Plastics are a weird bunch, but Regina (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen (Lacy Chabert) and Karen (Amanda Seyfried) are teen royalty so who better to ingratiate yourself with?
As Cady becomes further entrenched within the ranks of the Plastics, she realises that Regina - far from helping her as promised - is really going out of her way to spoil her chances of dating Aaron (Jonathan Bennett). Tired of the back-stabbing and sick of Regina's deception, Janis hatches a plan to exact her revenge on Regina - taking Aaron away from her, destroying her "hot body" image and finally removing her loyal band of followers...
What separates this movie from a number of others of its ilk is the quality of the writing and the acting. The script is witty with just the right balance between insight and cheap laughs. The young actors do a great job - every one of them - and Lohan is personable and totally credible in her role. The Plastics are perfectly cast and so are Cady's confidantes (Franzese and Caplan). The narration by Lohan leads you effortlessly through the film, and it is all too easy to begin to empathise with her plight - despite never having been a sixteen year old American female student myself. The occasional "fantasy" scenes (a la Ali McBeal) add another comedic layer. The "cool Mom" Mrs George (Amy Poehler) is an hilarious cameo and the screenwriter Tina Fey suits the part of the wise Ms Norbury to a tee. This is fluffy, feel good, frivolous fun.
Mean Girls is not wholly original. It brings to mind a number of other films such as Heathers, Clueless and Legally Blonde. If you enjoyed any or all of these films, it is highly likely that Mean Girls should be on your "must rent" list at the very least. It is a milder film than Heathers, but remains a funny, not overly patronising and wonderfully acted movie. With the array of extras presented (see below) here, there will be few households containing a teenage daughter that would regret a purchase of this DVD. This would make a great Christmas "stocking filler" for the Teenage Drama Queen in your life. Highly recommended - even for parents who "don't normally enjoy this kind of thing".
The video quality of this transfer is good.
The video transfer is presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1 which is close to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 The transfer is clean, clear, free from grain, and full of colour. Sharpness is fine without being reference quality - background shots sometimes lack a little detail.
There are few dark scenes in this film, but black levels and shadow detail are usually adequate where needed. Colours are solid enough with no evidence of bleeding and skin tones, whilst occasionally a little rich (on Chabert in particular), probably reflect the "made-up" nature of the Plastics well enough.
The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts. Edge enhancement does make an appearance occasionally but is never really distracting. Aliasing was not noticed as an issue on my system. Telecine wobble is not noticeable.
There are very few film artefacts present in what is overall a clean transfer.
The English subtitles are pretty good. They are easy to read, well timed and reflect the dialogue quite well although they do have some edits for the sake of brevity.
This disc is dual layered, but I did not detect the layer change. It crops up at 73:34 but it is virtually undetectable.
The overall audio transfer is perfectly fine for a teen comedy.
The sole English audio track is a Dolby Digital 5.1 affair encoded at 448 kbps. It is clean and clear with no defects in the way of dropouts, hiss or pops.
Dialogue is always crystal clear and the audio sync was perfect throughout.
Music is used quite frequently through the film and is credited to Rolfe Kent (Freaky Friday and Nurse Betty). I note that the multifaceted Tina Fey also receives a credit for the "Mathlete's Rap" number. The incidental music is well chosen and includes numbers from the likes of Pink, Missy Elliot and Kelis. The soundtrack fits the cool, young feel of the comedy very well.
The front speakers provide some satisfying stereo separation with noticeable panning across the front soundstage (for example when the buses go hurtling past). The rear surrounds are used to provide some occasional ambient effects, and to support the dance/rock soundtrack. There is nothing of note in the way of front to rear pans, or localised spot effects. Overall it is a pleasant soundstage for a teen comedy flick.
The subwoofer is used to support the music and the occasional more pronounced bass effects. It has little to carry in the way of sustained LFE however. I would say it is appropriately used for a film of this ilk.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras available on this disc are quite plentiful and are of a generally high quality.
The main menu is a funky animated affair showing video clips and photos of the various cliques at the school, accompanied by a loop of music. It provides the choice of playing the movie, choosing one of a nineteen chapter stops, audio and subtitle selection, or enjoying the following extras:
A really entertaining commentary from the producer (Lorne Michaels), director (Mark Waters) and screenwriter/actress Tina Fey. This doesn't take itself too seriously, and is worth a listen.
Thoughtfully presented with a "Play All" option you can select from the following featurettes, all presented at 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps:
Typically amusing bloopers running for 5:43 and presented letterboxed with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps.
A nice collection of deleted scenes, which are kindly supplied with a Play All feature. All are presented letterboxed at 1.78:1 and are therefore not 16x9 enhanced. They suffer from noticeable aliasing throughout. The audio track is encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 kbps, and each scenes is available with a director's commentary:
Presented in a ratio of 1.33:1 (therefore not 16x9 enhanced) with letterboxed inserts and a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps, there are three short, but hilarious, TV spots on offer:
Presented letterboxed (not 16x9 enhanced) with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track encoded at 448 kbps and running for 2:27.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 release appears to be essentially the same as ours, although it is reportedly presented at the OAR of 1.85:1 and contains some other movie trailers. To all intents and purposes, either version will do just fine so buy whichever you find for the lower price.
Mean Girls is a funny, wry and occasionally insightful look into the b****iness of the various insular cliques of American schools. It is a surprisingly enjoyable popcorn movie - whilst obviously targeted to a teenage (female) audience, it has more than enough funny moments to entertain parents too. Good audio and video and some nice extras make this a well rounded package which would delight most teenage girls as a stocking filler.
The video quality is very good.
The audio transfer is very good.
The extras are all quite funny and fairly extensive for a single disc.
|DVD||Momitsu V880 upconverting DVI player, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|