American Pie: Collector's Edition (1999)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Spotlight On Location (10:05)
Audio Commentary-P Weitz (Dir), C Weitz (Prod), A Herz (Writ),et al
Biographies-Cast & Crew
DVD-ROM Extras-Web Site
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Paul Weitz|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Thomas Ian Nicholas
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
However, this is probably the biggest problem with the film, as the vast majority of the characters are never quite fleshed out enough for the viewer to feel any particular sympathy for them as they go through their inevitable humiliations and struggles. I also found it difficult to relate to these characters, as there was no real detail to their portraitures, which makes the changes and developments in each character that are meant to advance the story seem more like a change in hair colour than any genuine change in character. However, Jim (Jason Biggs), the character that much of the story is told from the perspective of, does manage to carry the story because of the way we see him change as a human being from the beginning of the film to its end. His father (Eugene Levy) also manages to inject a dose of welcome humour into the proceedings. Other characters, such as Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), Oz (Chris Klein) and Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) help to flesh out the story of the film enough to sustain interest. As entertaining as the film was, however, American Pie seems little more than an updated clone of such direct-to-video B-grade releases from the 1980s as Porky's or Hot Chili. Sometimes things from the past are better off remaining there, if you know what I mean.
In any case, if you after a quick, brainless laugh, then American Pie is a film designed with you in mind. It is crude, it is ugly, and it is shallow, but the comedic factor of the film makes it a reasonable way to spend ninety minutes. It is worthy of a rental, at least.
The gamma level also appears to have been set too low during the first twenty minutes of the film, resulting in a noticeably overly dark picture for this part of the presentation. Thankfully, the gamma returns to a satisfactory level after twenty minutes, although this variation can be seen as being more annoying than having the brightness level set too low consistently throughout the film. Shadow detail is very good, although this is to be expected from a film that is less than a year old. No low-level noise made its way into the transfer, although this is also nothing to be too impressed about when you consider the very recent vintage of the film. The colours seemed to be a little muted during the first twenty minutes of the film, but this corrected itself shortly after the brightness level returned to normal. There was a mild amount of MPEG artefacting during the credits as a result of the edge enhancement, but thankfully none during the film itself. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some moderate aliasing from the usual culprits. Film artefacts were absent from the picture until just before the ending credits.
The packaging claims that this disc is in the RSDL format, which it isn't. Given how many extras this disc has jammed onto it, this is simply not acceptable, and quite probably the source of the image quality problems during the film, except for that edge enhancement. Sadly, there is also a CSS key problem with this particular title. If you have a Xing DVD player, then this DVD will not function with your hardware, which has to be one of the most appalling things about this disc. If there's one thing that the early days of home computer software taught me, it is that when you take such ridiculous measures to prevent the casual copying of software, all the glory belongs to the hacker who defeats you. The time to unite, hack, strive, and conquer this menace who wants to tell you what you can and cannot watch your legitimately purchased discs on is here!
I was warned that audio sync would be problematic for the first quarter-hour of the film by a friend of mine, but I did not notice any serious problems on either of my players. I always enjoy an audio sync problem on films that I am not particularly fond of, since they add a slight comedic factor to an otherwise very dull film. In any case, I guess that Columbia were determined to torture me as hard as they possibly could because of my propensity for bagging their price point, and they didn't give me any audio sync relief. The slightest threat of sync problems occurred from time to time during the first twenty minutes of the film, but overall the audio sync seems to be spot on. Owners of Pioneer players may have a problem with this disc, but that's perfectly okay since I am not one of them. It would have made this film a little more interesting if some of the dialogue was about half a second or more out of sync, since it would have made the damned thing funny and given the appearance that the sound engineers put as much effort into their work as the script writers.
The score music by David Lawrence was fairly ordinary, with little of it really coming out to assert its presence. Personally, if I were making a film of this tired, stale genre, I would have commissioned more satirical artists such as The Residents to make music that truly sends up or summarizes the actions and thoughts of the on-screen characters. Nonetheless, the music, which features a fair amount of skilful guitar work, was quite pleasant to listen to when it was noticeable. In this respect, it was probably the best thing about the movie.
The surround channels were used in moderate amounts to support the music and ambient sounds, and they did a reasonable job of helping to draw the listener into the movie. I could just feel them clutching me by the limbs and pulling me towards the picture on the screen, with me screaming and crying all the way. In that manner, they were doing a much better job than most of the actors. The subwoofer was used in moderation to support the music, and it remained subtle rather than omnipresent with its integration into the overall mix.
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NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The video quality is good, but it should have been much better.
The audio quality is good as far as films of this kind go.
The extras are comprehensive.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|