American Pie 2: Collector's Edition (2001)

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Released 18-Jun-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-The Baking Of American Pie 2
Audio Commentary-J.B. Rogers (Director)
Audio Commentary-Adam Herz (Writer)
Audio Commentary-J Biggs (Act), M Suvari (Act) & T Ian Nicholas (Act)
Audio Commentary-Eddie Kaye Thomas (Actor)
Outtakes
Deleted Scenes
Music Video-Be Like That-3 Doors Down
Featurette-Your Favorite Piece Of Pie (10)
Featurette-Classic Quotes (15)
Music Highlights
Theatrical Trailer-with Jason Biggs intro
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
DVD-ROM Extras
dts Trailer-Piano
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 106:10
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By J.B. Rogers
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jason Biggs
Shannon Elizabeth
Alyson Hannigan
Chris Klein
Natasha Lyonne
Thomas Ian Nicholas
Tara Reid
Seann William Scott
Mena Suvari
Eddie Kaye Thomas
Eugene Levy
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music David Lawrence


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes, Mrs. Stiffler of course.
Annoying Product Placement Yes, everyone drinks Pepsico drinks.
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Hollywood sequel is an interesting beast. There are some that are genuine stories in themselves and stand separate from the first - such as Aliens to Alien - while there are others that are made to have sequels - such as the fantasy series of Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings. Then there are the movies that simply demand sequels through their own success. There have been a few recent examples of these, such as The Matrix and The Mummy, but none was more obvious, nor cheaper for the studio than American Pie. All they had to do was throw a few of the original cast members back on the screen together, and the audiences would come pouring in. It was not as if the original movie was renowned for its brilliant story or great script, it simply did what no one had done for a long time - fill a movie full of p**** and fart gags, add a dash of nudity (courtesy of the rather well-endowed Shannon Elizabeth), and mix it all together with enough gross-out elements to make most people squeamish at least at one point, and voila - a brainless teen comedy. The original of course spawned a number of copycats - from the very good Road Trip to the very bad Tomcats - and most of these starred at least one of the original Pie cast, and most had at least moderate success.

    Fortunately, for what could have been a very lame effort at simply getting bums on seats for minimal effort, American Pie 2 goes all out to give its audience exactly what they want. It has been criticised for being unoriginal and a watered down clone of the original - but that is what the audience wanted the first time, so why not give it to them again? Certainly, the comedy is slightly more mature this time around, relying a lot more heavily on slapstick (Jason Biggs it seems is a fairly accomplished physical comedian) than on gross-out elements, but then the audience for the original Pie have grown up a bit since then, too. There is certainly still enough here to keep the pre-to-mid teens interested as well (the "lesbian" scene being an obvious hook), but the story has moved on from "get laid" to deeper themes like finding the meaning of friendship, and working out what you truly want.

    In a movie like this there is no real reason to do a plot synopsis - it is as predictable as a train on a track, and any slight deviations to what could be considered a certainty are flagged so far out as to be completely unsurprising when they eventuate, but for the sake of completeness, here it is. The time is a year after the events of the first American Pie, and this time the guys have all just finished their first year of college. They return home to find that while everything looks the same, things are somehow not the same. So, thanks to some advice from Kevin's brother, they all decide to head off to the lake (Lake Michigan) for the summer. There are a few complications of course. Oz (Chris Klein) and Heather (Mena Suvari) are still together, but Heather is off to Europe for the summer. Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) is back in America and is coming to see Jim (Jason Biggs) at the end of the summer - which of course has Jim terrified that he will repeat the performance of their previous sexual encounter. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Vicky (Tara Reid) meet again for the first time since the prom of the previous year, and must deal with what their relationship is. All this drama of course simply sets the scene for some very funny moments, with the highlight being Jim's trip to Band Camp to find Michelle (Alyson Hannigan). The guys also take a summer job as painters, but that is not really explored except for the two occupants of the house they are painting.

    The simple fact is that the obvious crafting of movie to exactly match expectations works. American Pie 2 is a far more watchable movie than the first (and that is not solely because Alyson Hannigan has a larger part), and it does not pale with multiple viewings, unlike the first that was really a one-trick wonder. The reason it works is that Universal did something that is almost unprecedented for a sequel - managed to reassemble the entire primary cast from the first movie - that's 11 members. On top of that, there are a number of more minor characters from the first film, such as The Shermin-ator (Chris Owen), the MILF guys (John Cho and Justin Isfeld), and Stiffler's little brother (Eli Marienthal). This really helps to give the movie a feel that it is a continuation of the first movie, and just as the actors have been able to go back to characters they created the first time around, the audience has been able to journey along with them again without first having to get to know them.

    What we have here is the "unrated" DVD. Of course, you can't actually have "unrated" content in Australia - that would be illegal - and this version in fact obtained the same rating as the theatrical version. Despite that, it does include extended scenes involving people in various stages of undress, but most are of the harmless variety, simply re-introducing some scenes that were taken out of the theatrical version for pacing reasons. As such, this is more of a "directors cut" than an extra-raunchy version a la the original and Road Trip.

    So the question becomes - should there be an American Pie 3? Personally I would have to say no (well, that is unless they decide to put Alyson Hannigan's character in every scene), but then again, I would not have recommended making a second. In the end, the enormous box office success that was American Pie 2 will pretty much guarantee a sequel of sorts is made - whether the feat of reassembling the entire cast can be achieved twice remains to be seen, but if they do we may all be sitting down in a couple of years to see what Jim, Kevin, Oz, Stiffler, Finch, and the girls are up to. Maybe American Pie 3 - Jim Gets a Job?

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    There is really only one word to describe the transfer presented for American Pie 2 - superb. It has easily the most consistent video transfer I have ever encountered. That is not to say that it is totally perfect - but this is about as near as it can come without actually being perfect.

    Presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio - cropped from the theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 - this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    This transfer is extremely sharp. There is not a single scene that could have benefited from a sharper transfer. There was a constant presence of background grain, but it never broke out sufficiently to become a problem, and was only noticeable if specifically looked for. Shadow detail was also very good, although the almost complete lack of dimly-lit scenes in this movie almost makes that a non-issue. There was no low-level noise detected.

    Colours were very good, displaying the vibrant sets and locations in vivid detail. While this film could never be accused of containing any set design or shot composition that could be described as detailed or intricate, what there is shows up more than nicely.

    There were no compression artefacts at all in this transfer. The only aliasing present consisted of a very few minor instances - and would most likely have gone unnoticed if not specifically looked for. The worst offender, and it is quite innocuous, is on Alyson Hannigan's flute at 93:54. Film artefacts were present, but very rare. When they did show up they were only momentary, and quite small. The largest occurs at 99:29, and is a vertical black line in the bottom left of frame. As this is the worst, the film artefacts cause no problems.

    The subtitles are very attractively rendered, very nicely paced, and are quite accurate. During the sample I checked, there were no instances where the impact of the dialogue was reduced by the difference between the subtitles and the spoken dialogue.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 66:42 during Chapter 13. While it is not the best placement possible for a layer change, it is not too bad as it breaks no dialogue.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer presented here is merely adequate, and is hampered by a few sequences of very bad audio sync on the DTS track.

    There are six audio tracks present on this disc. These consist of two English dialogue tracks, one a Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 384 Kbps, the other a half-bitrate DTS 5.1 track at 768 Kbps, and four commentary tracks, all in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround at 192 Kbps.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times. The mixing levels were spot on, as dialogue, score and general audio all combined very well to produce a natural sound.

    Audio sync is where the biggest problem with this transfer lies - and the problem is worst in the DTS track. On a number of occasions, the audio sync goes out by a fair margin. By far the worst example is the sequence between 20:31 and 21:50, but there are a number of other occurrences scattered throughout the film. What is strange is that while the Dolby Digital track only gives a slight impression of being out at these times, the DTS track is very obviously out.

    So to the music, and again we encounter the standard teen comedy fare - a combination of score music (provided in this instance by David Lawrence) and a collection of contemporary numbers. In this case the score is quite good, doing its job well and generally staying unnoticed - certainly David Lawrence is not going to win any Oscars with this one, but neither is he likely to be out of work. The contemporary numbers are more of a hit and miss affair - when they work the familiarity can quite easily lift a scene, but some really seem to jar with their placing, brining down the scene. Overall however, the music in American Pie 2 is very well done.

    As far as surround sound goes, this is another disappointing aspect of this transfer. For the most part, the soundfield is very frontal. Across the fronts, the separation is quite good, but I had to get up on a number of occasions and check my surround speakers simply to ensure that there was sound coming from the surrounds. Unfortunately, neither the DTS nor Dolby Digital tracks are better than the other in this regard, so we are saddled with an extremely front-heavy soundtrack. The only times the surround channels come to life are for the occasional ambient noise, and then they disappear after that scene only to reappear many minutes later for a short period of time. This uneven approach is quite disturbing, and makes for a very disappointing soundtrack.

    The subwoofer is not used extensively, but does a good job of adding punch to the score - and there really are no other opportunities for it than that.

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

Extras

    This disc is well-and-truly packed with extras, providing many more than a film of this nature deserves. In some instances it shows, as the content becomes stretched quite thin on the ground (whoever decided that this title absolutely needed four commentary tracks should have their head read).

Menu

    Animated, 16x9 enhanced, themed around the movie and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio backing, the menu is decent enough, although the locking of switching between audio tracks in the main feature means crawling through three levels of menu to switch between them.

The Baking Of American Pie 2 (24:03)

    Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio this is a standard behind-the-scenes marketing documentary. There is little information of real value to be gleaned from this collection of interviews and clips from the movie, but it is still good fun to watch.

Audio Commentary - J.B. Rogers (Director)

    Director Rogers has a decent amount to say about the movie, but there are still a number of gaps in his commentary.

Audio Commentary - Adam Herz (Writer)

    The screenwriter goes into quite a bit of detail about the process of writing a script, both in general and in terms of a comedy, and the restrictions placed on writers by the studio system. While Herz has quite a bit to say, there are still a large number of gaps in his commentary, and I can't help but think that this commentary should have been combined with that of J.B. Rogers.

Audio Commentary - Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari, Thomas Ian Nicholas (Actors)

    This is the least worthwhile of all the commentaries, as it features almost no interesting information. It is simply the three actors laughing and giggling among themselves over memories. About the only interest here is the slight b****iness between the actors (Thomas Nicholas mentions that some of his lines were taken from him and given to Jason Biggs, while both the men hassle Mena Suvari about a bracelet that she breaks during the commentary), and getting to hear Mena Survari burp (the joys of taking three spoiled stars and throwing them together without control). This is also full of long gaps where all three sit back and admire their work. A wasted effort.

Audio Commentary - Eddie Kaye Thomas (Actor)

    A much better commentary by a lonely Eddie Kaye Thomas. The things he has to say are quite interesting, including dissing the major sponsor's product (I'm sure Pepsico are thrilled), and telling us of the kinds of establishments frequented by the male cast.

Outtakes (5:29)

    The title that runs as this starts is "Gag Reel", and from there we get to see around five minutes of fluffed lines, behind the scenes goofing off, and general production problems. Presented in letterboxed 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Deleted Scenes (10:47)

    These are a collection of scenes excised from the final print of the movie. Presented in letterboxed 1.85:1 (with timing information outside of the letterbox), not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Music Video: Be Like That - 3 Doors Down (4:13)

    This is, well, the music video for Be Like That from 3 Doors Down. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Your Favourite Piece of Pie

    This section presents the "Viewers' Top Ten Scenes" (the R1 includes an explanation and introduction from Sean William Scott for this) from both American Pie 2 and the original American Pie. The scenes are as follows:     The scenes from American Pie 2 are presented at 1.78:1, are 16x9 enhanced and feature Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The scenes from American Pie are presented in letterboxed 1.85:1, are not 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. The change of aspect ratio between the two is extremely annoying.

Classic Quotes

    This section presents (via branching, I presume), 15 of the more memorable quotes from American Pie 2. Since you can see these quite easily by just watching the movie, I don't really understand this inclusion. These are presented at 1.78:1, are 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Music Highlights

    As with the Classic Quotes section, this takes you to the section of the movie in which the listed song (there are 30 to choose from) is played, then brings you back to the menu when done. Again, I really have no idea why anyone would use this section (especially as the part of the movie you are taken to still includes all other audio - it is not isolated music). Presented at 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Theatrical Trailer (3:15)

    This is in two sections - the first is a humorous introduction by Jason Biggs, the second is the actual trailer. The introduction is presented in 1.33:1, is not 16x9 enhanced, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. The trailer itself is presented in letterboxed 1.85:1, is not 16x9 enhanced, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio.

Production Notes

    This is 10 pages of text giving some very brief background to the movie. The DVD-ROM production notes are far more extensive, and if you have access to them then forget about these.

Cast and Filmmakers

    This section presents very brief biographies for the principal cast and crew. The crew (or "filmmakers" as this disc calls them) biographies in the DVD-ROM section are far more extensive, but the cast biographies are quite limited both there and here.

DVD-ROM Content

    This is a section that includes bios for each character, the actor that plays them, stills from the movies, short interview clips, and some sound bites. Unfortunately, it is all very much fluff, so those without DVD-ROM drives need not be worried.

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 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     In terms of the video and audio, the two discs are identical, but the addition of the extra behind the scenes footage and screen tests on the R1 disc make it the narrow winner.

Summary

    American Pie 2 is a very funny movie that is a shining example of crafting a movie to be exactly what the audience wants. It is presented on a brilliant DVD.

    The video quality is superb, with only a very few minor blemishes keeping it from getting full marks.

    The audio quality is a little disappointing, being a very front-heavy soundtrack that is not without audio sync issues.

    There are an enormous quantity of extras present on this disc. While the quality and value of many are questionable, between them all there is certainly enough here for many hours of viewing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Monday, April 22, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))
Web Wombat - James A

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(No Heading Provided) - Chris (read my bio)
Very True Review - Big Al (Bore Yourself with my Bio)
Never as good as the first serving... - James (read my bio)
Out of sync? - Alex H (My biography...in 500 words or less!)
Didnt notice out of sync - Tsargrad (My Bio)
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