Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)

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Released 22-Jan-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-Director Chadra and the Ace Gang Girls
Featurette-Double Cool With Knobs On
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Looking After Angus
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-First Kisses
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Woring with Gurinder
Featurette-Video DIaries
Featurette-Making Of-Technical Featurettes
Featurette-First Night Nerves
Outtakes
Gallery-Photo
Music Video-Stiff Dylans "Ultraviolet"
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 96:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gurinder Chadha
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Georgia Groome
Eleanor Tomlinson
Aaron Johnson
Alan Davies
Karen Taylor
Tommy Bastow
Sean Bourke
Liam Hess
Manjeeven Grewal
Georgia Henshaw
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   2008 offered much to the 12-15 year old boy set (Clone Wars, Eagle Eye, Indiana Jones) but very little to the early to mid-teens girls. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 got held up in customs, despite some good reviews, and still hasn't got a release date here. Wild Child dumbed its messages down for the target group and Hey, Hey It's Esther Blueberger became mired in controversy over a simulated sex scene.

Angus,Thongs and Perfect Snogging, based on the first two in the series of novels by Louise Rennison, is the only safe bet for the early teen sleep-overs, combining a quirky British sense of humour with some genuinely endearing performances. The parental warning meter is set pretty low with only kissing and cuddling and no real thought of S.E.X. . The messages of the piece - good wins out, friends and family are most important are delivered without too much treacle.

Georgia Nicholson (Georgia Groome) is 14 years old and more than a little hormonal. She lives in seaside Eastbourne. Her parents, played by Alan Davies (of Jonathan Creek fame) and comedienne Karen Taylor, drive her crazy (natch!) and her little sister insists on playing dress ups with her cat, the Angus of the title.

Georgia and her three best friends, the Ace Gang, think of little else but boys, boys and more boys. When dream-boat brothers Tom and Robbie come to town from London it is time for the Ace Gang to do some Boy Stalking!

Georgia's tall blonde friend Jaz (Eleanor Tomlinson) has little trouble attracting Tom and Robbie likes Georgia but there is a massive hitch, or should I say massive b****. The school "slag" Lyndsey with her cleavage and blonde good-looks has ensnared Robbie and Georgia doesn't know how to compete. Lyndsey wears the thongs of the title and Georgia doesn't have the "tools" to turn Robbie's head. Even lessons at snogging with the local Lothario doesn't give her the needed confidence to get her man. The other Ace Gang members, the "already has a boyfriend" Rosie (Georgia Henshaw) and the baby of the group Ellen (Manjeeven Grewal) are sympathetic but of no practical assistance.

Things are not all roses on the home front either. Georgia is turning 15 soon and wants to have a "grown-ups party" at a club. Her dad gets a big promotion and takes off for New Zealand. Georgia frets when she finds that Lyndsey is having her party at around the same time! She freaks too when her mum starts to pay just a little bit too much attention to a hunky builder Steve (played by British presenter and heart-throb Steve Jones).

Will Georgia get her boy, have the perfect party and stop her parents from breaking up or will it all dissolve into a mess of tears and hair-pulling?

Angus,Thongs and Perfect Snogging is directed by Bend it Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice helmer Gurinder Chadha. She has a deft touch for this material and keeps it fast, funny and more than a little fresh. Georgia Groome, who appeared in the Amazon Survival series is a natural unaffected actress. Her performance is large enough to entertain the target audience. The Ace gang are comprised of a mix of experience (in a strange twist Jaz and Robbie played the "young" parts of Jessica Biel and Edward Norton in the Illusionist. What they lack in serious acting chops they more than make up for in genuine brio.

Aside from the kids, Benny the cat puts in a great performance as Angus. How they get a cat to walk on a leash, sit in a fridge and chase a poodle is beyond me. Angus sure is one grumpy looking cat! The adults in the piece do their job admirably although they are really the wall against which teenage angst gets bounced.

Angus,Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a delightful film which is likely to interest the mother as well as the daughter. If it all gets wrapped up with one lipstick balm short of deus ex machina all is forgiven as the journey has been worth it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

   Angus,Thongs and Perfect Snogging was shot on 35mm film using the Super 35 process and was presented cinematically at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This aspect ratio has been preserved for the DVD release. The film is 16x9 enhanced.

Oscar nominated cinematographer Dick Pope (The Illusionist) describes in the extras to this DVD that he wanted to create a very vivid world, rich in colour. He has certainly achieved his aim as Angus,Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a bright and colourful film. Colour is used across the palate and the picture is quite stable with no bleeding. Getting that look can't have been easy as sunny Eastbourne provided plenty of rain throughout the shoot!

The picture quality is really good throughout. There are no technical defects with the film - no aliasing, grain is non-existent and compression presents no problem. The contrasts are excellent and flesh tones are pretty good throughout. There was a slight blotchiness of the actors faces during the swimming pool scenes but I couldn't tell if this was due to them sitting in a freezing pool pretending it was a hot summers day!

There are English subtitles which are clear and easy to read. It must have been a fun job putting all the English teen girl slang text into the subtitle stream!

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

Audio

    Angus,Thongs and Perfect Snogging has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track running at 448Kb/s.

The dialogue is clear and easy to understand although the combination of young, high voices and oodles of slang can make it it bit hard for older ears. There are no technical problems with the sound mix.

Music is very important to the film. Not only is there a light and fun original score but the film is peppered with fun, boppy songs from a variety of artists including The Stiff Dylans whose Ultraviolet is something of the theme for the movie.

There isn't really a great deal of surround activity in the film and the sub-woofer mostly stays in its cave but the overall effect is of a perfectly serviceable soundtrack to the movie.

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

Extras

Paramount have provided a great set of extras with this movie. Most importantly, the extras are squarely aimed at the target audience without being patronising. The commentary track is something that teen girls would want to listen to and the video diaries and other extras are bright, breezy and don't overstay their welcome.

Commentary with Gurinder Chadra and the Ace Gang Girls

What a fun commentary! Chadra has a genuine rapport with the girls. They, in turn, are bubbly and unaffected. It can be tough at times to work out who is chatting but no matter : the effect is contagious. Chadra is able to provide a bit of technical structure and the girls are able to chat about their favourite bits. These details are exactly what I imagine the target audience would want and I can say that this is the first commentary track that my daughter has actually sat down and listened to!

Double Cool with Knobs On (27.26)

This is a lengthy featurette that never outstays its welcome. Narrated by Steve Jones it encompasses the whole production and is in the nature of a pre-release teaser show. It introduces each of the characters, chats to the actors and crew and generally breezes through its 27 minutes. Perhaps because I am so used to seeing Hollywood style "SEE THIS FILM IT IS THE BEST EVER" featurettes that I found this genuinely engaging and informative.

Mini Features

How they got a cat to chase a dog, get dressed up like a cowboy and sit in a fridge is beyond me even if the featurette Looking After Angus (3.40) has some inside information from the animal trainer who worked on the film. I was relieved to hear that Benny (the main Angus) was a good natured moggy who just looked perpetually grumpy!. In First Kisses (2.44) director Chadra relates how confident all the kids were at auditions when told they would have to kiss (some for the first time!) but once on set that confidence melted!. Finally, Working with Gurinder (2.46) is perhaps the only back-slapping extra as the cast relates how much fun it was working with the director.

Angus Video Diaries (8.29)

Georgia Groome takes up the video camera for this series of short video diaries: Marry , Kiss Ditch (1.36) Angus Cam (.48) The Snogging Scale (1.26) In Love with Steve Jones (1.29) Georgia and Robbie (1.46) Cool Times (1.24). All are light hearted Q&A's with cast members about hot boys, kissing and ... well that's about it really.

Technical Featurettes

This short series if technical featurettes are surprisingly good. In Thongs, Bras, Lippie and Other Life-Saving Essentials (3.16) we hear from the costume designer about the work that went into the costumes including the ways in which the costumes changed to reflect changes in the girls. In Getting the Angus Look (2.08) cinematographer Dick Pope relates how he went about achieving the director's aims of a bright, colourful film in the midst of some dreary weather. Interestingly he used a two camera shoot which is apparently "all the rage" in the US. Finally, in Step Inside the Nicholson Household (3.55) the production designer Nick Ellis takes us through the set for the Nicholson household which was erected on a soundstage at Ealing Studios.

All these features are excellent in the way that they convey the information in a way that teen girls would want to hear without patronising them.

First Night Nerves (2.03)

The cast pace nervously around the red carpet waiting for the show to begin!

Bloopers (5.59)

The bloopers, truth be told, aren't rollickingly funny. They are mainly line gaffes and giggle sessions with a few cat scenes thrown in. Still a nice enough watch though.

Music Video - Stiff Dylans "Ultraviolet" (3.37)

A video for the song, which features in the climax of the film, with inserts from the movie. A real toe-tapping number from this very young pop band.

Gallery

About 40 photos comprise this gallery.

Deleted Scenes (9.47)

There are 9 deleted scenes included on the DVD. The are:
Say Hello to the New Georgia (2.21), No Shame(.35), Cool Mum (.56), Next Appointment (.39), Georgia on the Phone with Jas (.43) , Never Ever Get a Boyfriend (.33), Extended Peter Call (1.57), Lindsay Arriving at Swimming Pool (.36), Spying at Salsa (1.28)

No explanation is given for their exclusion. If I was to hazard a guess the content seems repetitive (most consist of Georgia complaining about her parents and generally whining) making her a less sympathetic character. Ellen's brothers appear very briefly and no harm was done to the film by their exclusion from two scenes.

R4 vs R1

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

    The DVD is available in identical form in Region 2. It is not yet available in Region 1.

Summary

    Angus,Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a great film for the younger set. The pre-occupation with boys and the girl's undersized "bazoomas" probably means it will mystify pre-teens but any girl up to 18 will probably find something to like in the film.

The transfer is good both in sound and vision terms and the extras are pretty much the way they should be for all similarly targeted films. Finally, after sitting through a number of commentary tracks on kids films done by serious directors comes a track that kids can actually enjoy!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, February 23, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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