Suddenly 30: Collector's Edition (13 Going on 30) (2004)

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Released 4-Jan-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Director's
Audio Commentary-Producers
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of-Making of A Teen Dream
Featurette-Making Of-Making Of A Teen Dream: Another Take
Featurette-I Was A Teenage Geek!
Outtakes
Music Video-Pat Benatar: "Love is a Battlefield"
Music Video-Rick Springfield: "Jessie's Girl"
Gallery-Photo
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Maid in Manhattan, Mona Lisa Smile, Radio, You Got Served
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 93:47
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:51) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gary Winick
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jennifer Garner
Mark Ruffalo
Judy Greer
Christa B. Allen
Andy Serkis
Kathy Baker
Phil Reeves
Alex Black
Alexandra Kyle
Renee Olstead
Joe Grifasi
Mary Pat Gleason
Courtney Chase
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Theodore Shapiro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    80s nostalgia. You have got to love it. As one of those who battled through their teenage years during the 1980s, I always like seeing films that use the unfashionable decade as the context of their story. I'm a hopeless nostalgic romantic at heart and I just love to look back at a time that I have very fond memories of, despite the fact that I did wear an obscene amount of stone-washed denim, did some strange things with my hair, and listened to some really silly music.

    Suddenly 30 (interestingly released under that name only in Australia - elsewhere in the world it is known as 13 Going On 30) stars Jennifer Garner as Jenna Rink. The film opens in 1987 and it is Jenna's 13th birthday. The young Jenna (played with wide-eyed wonder by Christa B. Allen) wants nothing more in the world than to be popular. Jenna has a close friend in next door neighbour Matt (Jack Salvatore) who is worried about Jenna's desire to be cool and her need to belong to the most cliquey of the clique groups - the famous six chicks. Matt warns her about following the crowd and to stand out on her own, just like he does. "I don't want to be original. I want to be cool!" she exclaims in the funny opening scenes. I'm sure most kids in their early high school years have thought exactly the same thing as they battled their way up the social hierarchy of the playground. Fitting in with the 'in' crowd was about all that mattered. Somehow I was also lumped with the dorks - funny that: some may consider I still am!

    But Jenna's desire to be cool hits a snag when her co-ed 13th birthday party is a major disaster. With all her so-called friends having left her embarrassed and Matt's friendship in tatters after Jenna insults him, the birthday girl retreats to her own thoughts, wishing like nothing else that she could be 30. "Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving is the catch line of a magazine article she had read, and now she has decided she wants to be like that. Surely it is more fun than being 13.

    Thanks to a little movie magic (and some magic dust suddenly sprinkled on her head) Jenna wakes up the next morning to find she has been transformed into a 30-year-old woman, who not surprisingly looks a lot like Jennifer Garner. The suddenly older Jenna Rink discovers she not only has a swank apartment in Manhattan, a fantastic job as the editor of Poise magazine, but also lives with her star hockey playing boyfriend and enjoys all the benefits those three things can bring.

    Of course the usual wide-eyed discovery of finding yourself in a strange place and time strikes just like it did to Tom Hanks in Big. Some of the same type of gags are played out as Jenna discovers the intricacies of work, sex, and alcohol. She also learns she is still friends with one of the original six chicks from school, with co-editor Lucy (Judy Greer) now considered a close friend as well as workmate. Jenna does try to fit into her new life as a 30-year-old, but can not help but feel she has made some bad choices in her past, even though she is not sure what they may have been. One of the first things she does is track down her old best friend Matt (now all grown up of course and bearing a striking resemblance to the wonderful Mark Ruffalo). Matt is surprised to see Jenna after so many years of no contact, while Jenna is shocked to learn that their friendship ended more than 15 years before, not long after her 13th birthday.

    Jenna tries to learn more about why their close friendship ended while at the same time getting into some funny situations at the office. The magazine's editor-in-chief is played with literal gay abandon by Andy 'Gollum' Serkis, and it is great to see him freed of the clutches of his CGI creation. As Jenna slowly comes to the realisation that she probably hasn't grown up to be the nicest of people, she also finds herself falling for the charms of the loveable and slightly unhappy Matt. Matt of course is completely unsettled by the appearance of Jenna, the girl he had the fondest of feelings for when he was 13. This situation is all the more difficult because Matt is due to be married to his fiancé Wendy in a few weeks.

    It is not original. This story has been told before many times, with offerings like Big. But the freshness of this effort, with its dash of comedy, some truly wonderful 80s songs that play more of a part in the film than most soundtrack offerings do, and a message about the importance of making the right choices at the right time in our lives makes for a solidly entertaining film.

    An excellent package of extras makes this just the perfect DVD for that 80s nostalgia geek (surely I am not the only one out there).

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a lovely looking video transfer with no faults to identify. It is bright, colourful, sharp and clean - just about everything you can ask for.

    The video is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is also 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a very sharp and detailed transfer throughout, with no evidence of any edge enhancement. Shadow detail is handled very well and grain is virtually non-existent. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are certainly the highlight with splendidly deep and brightly saturated tones capturing the 80s era in the early part of the film to a tee. Skin tones are spot-on and black levels are perfect. There are no problems with bleeding or oversaturation.

    Compression artefacts are absent. Being a new film, it was hoped there would be few, if any film artefacts. Thankfully, this is the case with a clean and near-pristine transfer in that regard.

    There are several subtitle options, all in English. They are mostly accurate and well positioned on screen. I watched the film completely with them on during the director's commentary and found them to be adequate for the job, though the odd word or phrase was abridged enough that the full meaning of the sentence may occasionally be lost.

    This is a dual layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change is at 62:51.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio soundtracks on this disc. The only film soundtrack is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track in English. This is joined by a choice of two Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary tracks also in English.

    This is a fun and engaging soundtrack, filled with plenty of vibrant directional effects and laced with some truly wonderful 80s songs.

    The dialogue is easily understood, clear and in sync at all times.

    The score is credited to Teddy Shapiro and, while fairly typical of the romantic comedy style, is still entertaining. It is of course completely overshadowed by a really fun soundtrack of 80s songs. Ignore the fact that most of them are not from the year the early part of the film is set (1987) and just enjoy them. Songs such as Love Is A Battlefield by Pat Benatar, Michael Jackson's Thriller, Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl, Crazy For You by Madonna and Talking Heads Burning Down The House all feature heavily and are often crucial to the story. Overshadowing all of those marvellous efforts is a song not even originally from the 80s. In a moment that is reminiscent of a good Cameron Crowe film whereby a song controls a scene and no actor dialogue is required, watch the scene where Jenna travels home to the strains of Billy Joel's Vienna. This touching song, from his mega-selling 1977 album The Stranger (originally written about his dad), is used here to convey the always-in-a-hurry teenage angst to perfection. Thankfully for Joel fans, the song is played in its entirety. It is a magical movie moment and one that I have watched at least a dozen times in the last two weeks.

    There is not an overly significant amount of surround channel activity which is hardly surprising given the sort of film this is. They are mostly utilized for the various noises that emanate from the busy Manhattan streets and at the noisy bars and parties.

    The subwoofer is also fairly quiet, but it is really not missed.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Dolby Digital Trailer

Audio Commentary - Gary Winick (Director)

    A pretty entertaining and informative commentary from a director who is not afraid to criticise his work. Lots info about casting, locations, things he would do differently or the same if he gets the chance to shoot a big-budget film again (I think that is a given and he has recently been announced to head up the 2005 production of Charlotte's Web to be filmed in Australia).

Audio Commentary - Gina Matthews, Donna Arkoff-Roth and Susan Arnold (Producers)

    Most producer commentaries are truly awful. This is a rare one that is actually quite good. The three producers obviously had a lot of input and their love of the film and everyone involved shows. They have plenty of funny tales about casting and production. It is quite entertaining and highly informative.

Deleted Scenes

    18 deleted or extended scenes spanning virtually the entire film. They run from 0:25 snippets to the more lengthy extended versions of scenes at 4:07. Some are quite entertaining, others quite dull because the only audio present is the on set audio and a little bit of Foley effect. Still, as far as deleted scenes go this is among the most comprehensive set I have seen.

Featurette - The Making of a Teen Dream

    Alas this is pretty much your bog-standard making of fluff piece with everyone commenting how wonderful everyone else is and so on. It runs for 18:51 and as a saving grace does include some good behind the scenes footage, particularly of the Thriller dance scene.

Featurette - The Making of a Teen Dream - Another Take

    More of the same as the above, though in this shorter featurette (7:37), the two producers get a little more screen time.

Featurette - I Was A Teenage Geek

    This is probably the best of all the featurettes, even though it only runs for 8:00. Most of the cast discuss just what sort of geek they were when they attended high school. Lots of photos of Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, and some hilarious ones of Judy Greer are shown from a time when they were just dorky teenagers. The resemblance of Christa B. Allen (who played the young Jenna) to the 13-year-old Jennifer Garner is quite scary.

Outtakes

    The usual sort of bloopers and stuff ups from the cast. Some are quite funny. Runs for 3:17.

Music Video

    The first of two videos (neither are for the two signature songs in the film, Michael Jackson's Thriller or Billy Joel's Vienna). This is for Pat Benatar's Love Is A Battlefield. 80s glam in all its glory here. Runs for a lengthy 5:21 and like many a good early 1980s videos has the movie-like introduction where quite a bit happens before the song is actually sung.

Music Video - Jessie's Girl

    Australian heartthrob Rick Springfield released this mega-selling single in 1981. This is the original video with all its early 80s look still intact. Ghastly hair, ghastly wardrobe, ghastly sunglasses. Runs for 3:17 and will surely have you singing along.

Gallery-Photo

    An automatically running photo gallery with both behind-the-scenes and action shots. Runs for 2:04.

Theatrical Trailer

    A 1:50 trailer that highlights some of the great comedy moments in the film, without spoiling the lingering regret side of the story.

Bonus Trailers

    Trailers for Maid in Manhattan, Mona Lisa Smile, Radio and You Got Served.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 disc misses out on:

    The differences are not all that major, though the lack of similar product between Region 1 and 4 is disappointing. Call it a draw and pick it up wherever you can get it cheapest.

Summary

     Suddenly 30 is a fun romantic comedy, laced with an important message. Jennifer Garner proves she can handle comedy with ease and is gorgeous as the lead character. Mark Ruffalo will have guaranteed himself a whole new legion of fans with his thoughtful performance, and the support cast led by Judy Greer and Andy Serkis are perfect. 80s nostalgia is reaching new heights of late as those of us who were teens during that decade are now well into our thirties, and looking back at the music, the clothes, the video games, and the dorks at high school with a certain rose-coloured fondness. This film plays up on all that, but also offers something a little deeper. Themes of regret and of the ability to make a change in your life before it is too late are central to the story. I'm still no closer to working out why the name was changed for its Australian release, but at the end of the day it is the same film.

    The video quality is sensational, with not a trace of a problem.

    The audio is clean and crisp, with ample surround activity and some beautifully produced 80s songs in the soundtrack. It should surely please.

    The extras are quite comprehensive, especially the deleted scenes and funny retrospective featurettes that look at the stars growing up.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Friday, January 07, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Great Review - Trevor
4and half stars ? - bear13 REPLY POSTED
is the video transfer really ok? - sir_trancelot REPLY POSTED
Transfer isnt that flash - Bill T