Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

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Released 20-Jan-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Outtakes-Ray Galton & Alan Simpson
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Cellular, The Grudge, Blade:Trinity, Exorcist: The Beginning
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 83:58
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (52:11) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Danny Leiner
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring John Cho
Ethan Embry
Robert Tinkler
Fred Willard
Kal Penn
Steve Braun
Dan Bochart
Paula Garcés
Mike Sheer
Christopher Thompson
David Krumholtz
Eddie Kaye Thomas
Angelo Tsarouchas
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music David Kitay
Eric Speier
Ali Theodore


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, weed
Annoying Product Placement Yes, White Castle hamburgers, KFC
Action In or After Credits Yes, Action during opening and closing credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Try this...take two pot smoking housemates, put them in a Toyota Camry, and send them on a drive to get hamburgers. Not very amusing? Well, what if one guy was of Indian origin, whose parents want him to do medicine (though he actually just wants to smoke pot) and the other is a Korean American who works in a financial company, who seems to work hard, but who also wants to smoke pot?

    Harold and Kumar are the two housemates, who one evening whilst smoking a bit of weed in their apartment are entranced by a TV ad for White Castle hamburgers. They then decide that nothing else could fill their stomachs (and senses) like a White Castle hamburger (or 10).

    Harold, played by John Cho (from American Pie 2), is the 'straighter' of the two housemates, and tends to get led along by Kumar (played by Kal Penn, from Van Wilder). The story is basically about these guys' one night of misadventure after misadventure in their obsessive quest to reach the holy grail of their nearest White Castle store, which unexpectedly turns out to be some distance away.

    This film, directed by Danny Leiner (Dude, Where's my Car?), is really a collection of sometimes very funny situations linked together in this relatively short road trip. The two guys run into some of the strangest people, including a couple of farting frat sisters, a boil and pus ridden man who 'offers' them his wife, racist police (a scene which actually covers some sensitive topics quite nicely), and even Doogie Howser MD himself, all grown up.

    I didn't have high expectations before I first saw this film. However, it turned out to be one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time, even on repeat viewings. The unusual pairing of two 'ethnics' who are reasonably un-stereotypical, placed in a variety of funny (though not terribly high-brow) situations, seems to work very well. Perhaps it's the charm of the two straight-faced leads, especially that of the laid-back persona of Kumar, that helps to move this film along.

    Harold and Kumar go to White Castle might not appeal to everyone, but is one that would definitely be enjoyed more in a group. Prepare to have some of your senses offended (or at least tickled), especially as it does have some real toilet humour.

    By the way, White Castle is a real company that does have hamburger outlets in the US, but also produces and exports frozen food. According to the Internet Movie Database, the company became aware that they were being featured in this film, and then printed drink cups advertising the film in-store, almost a form of reverse product placement...

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is close to its theatrical ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer is 16x9 enhanced. The cover confusingly states that it is "Widescreen 16:9, 1.78:1 Fullframe".

    Overall the picture is crisp and clear, as one would expect from a very recently made film.

    The sharpness, black level and shadow detail are all of a good standard.

    Colour is realistic without having any richness to it. Skin tones are realistic.

    There was slight grain visible at 53:00. There were no positive or negative film artefacts visible. No visible edge enhancement was noticed.

    The only subtitles available were in English for the Hearing Impaired. These were accurate to the words spoken on screen.

    This is a dual layer disc, with the layer change occurring at 52:11. It is well placed at the end of a scene and results in just a very brief pause on my player.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks available on this disc; English Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Dialogue is clear at all times with no problems with sync.

    The music, primarily by David Kitay, consists of contemporary hip-hop and street music, but also has some instrumental sections, and even a hard rock version of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra.

    The rear surround speakers are used quite effectively throughout this film to carry music and ambient effects. There are also many directional effects, such as the subtle music cues at 17:30, the thunder at 36:44, and the truck engine that roars in from the left rear surround at 65:00.

    The subwoofer is used often to support the music, as well as some sound effects, such as at 64:30.

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

Extras

Outtakes (runtime 2:35)

    A number of mistakes made during filming. Some were obviously deliberate 'mistakes'! Presented in 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced.

Deleted Scenes

   A fairly extensive collection of 10 separate scenes deleted from the final cut of the film. Each scene can be selected individually, or using a "play all" feature.

Theatrical Trailer (runtime 2:09)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced.

    It is interesting that a couple of scenes involving the display of cleavage and more in the actual film were obviously re-shot for the trailer a little more modestly. I guess this was to make the trailer freely available to show during family films or TV timeslots.

Trailers

    A collection of trailers which can be selected individually, or via a 'Play All' option. All are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

R4 vs R1

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

    There is an R1 version called the "Extreme Unrated" edition which contains a far larger number of extras than our current R4 release. Some of these extras include:

    In short, buckets more extras than our current R4 release, hence, the R1 Extreme Unrated version would be the one to recommend to fans of the film..

Summary

    Watch this film in a relaxed frame of mind, not expecting too much, and be prepared for some obnoxious toilet humour at times. It doesn't pretend to be anything more, or less, than a film about two somewhat unusual dope-heads who run into numerous problems, often with hilarious outcomes, during their drive to seek out White Castle hamburgers.

    There is a certain laid-back charm to the actors, especially Kal Penn, which contrasts nicely with some of the frenetic action. Just don't expect any high-brow comedy here, just plain and simple humour which seems to work, as a whole, far more effectively than in many recent US films.

    The video and audio are both presented well on this disc. The extras, at least on this R4 release, are rather limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Satish Rajah (don't read my bio!)
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplaySony KV-XA34M31 80cm. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMain: Mission 753; Centre: Mission m7c2; rear: Mission 77DS; Sub: JBL PB10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Wagner wrote "Also sprach Zarathustra"? - Ron Stevens REPLY POSTED
almost - but - Neil