American Pie: Collector's Edition (1999)

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Released 14-Feb-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Spotlight On Location (10:05)
Audio Commentary-P Weitz (Dir), C Weitz (Prod), A Herz (Writ),et al
Outtakes-(2:33)
Music Highlights
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
DVD-ROM Extras-Web Site
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 91:25
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Paul Weitz
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jason Biggs
Chris Klein
Natasha Lyonne
Thomas Ian Nicholas
Tara Reid
Mena Suvari
Eugene Levy
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $36.95 Music David Lawrence


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, very much
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    American Pie falls squarely into the coming-of-age genre. These are all pretty much the same plot-wise, which is not necessarily a bad thing. A group of high school boys attempt to lose their virginity come hell or high water, encountering seemingly insurmountable obstacles along the way. American Pie is no different to the multitude of similarly-themed movies before it, such as Porky's, Risky Business and Can't Hardly Wait. Can't Hardly Wait, by the way, is actually my favourite movie of this genre, and pretty much a sleeper movie - it didn't exactly break box office records and isn't all that well known, but I loved it.

    I actually wonder about the target audience of these movies. I suspect the studio executives think that these movies appeal to a teen audience, which is why many of them are toned-down in content. My belief is that these movies actually appeal to the thirty-somethings, who aren't quite too old to remember the awkwardness of their "first time" and the rampant hormones of their youth, and who can relate to the misfortunes that the lead characters inevitably go through. Indeed, these movies are always ensemble pieces, allowing us to follow the trials and tribulations of a group of friends, usually with parallel story lines.

    Enough philosophizing! American Pie was deliberately made for an "R" rating in the US, rather than aiming for a "PG" rating. That means more bad language, and more explicit sex (or lack thereof) scenes. That can't be a bad thing. Rather than naming all of the ensemble cast members and describing their relationships with the other cast members, I will simply say that four very horny teenage virgin boys make a pact to lose their virginity by Prom night. Throw in a few peripheral male characters who help the story along, and a number of teenage girls of varying degrees of experience and horniness, cable TV, an (infamous) apple pie, stir, and you have American Pie.

    The mix works well once you get the main characters sorted out in your head, which takes some time, as they are introduced at a break-neck speed at the start of the movie. I felt that the start of the movie was a tad cruder than it needed to be, in a somewhat blatant attempt to shock its audience, but once we get into the movie proper, after the pact has been made, the movie picks up considerably and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Of particular note is Eugene Levy, Jim's father, who plays his role to perfection and had me in stitches every time he was on screen.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is very good, but I have seen better, and there are some negative aspects to this transfer.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of precisely 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. This is a trend that I have noticed more and more recently, and it is to be applauded - more and more movies on DVD are being presented in their precisely correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio rather than having their matte slightly opened to 1.78:1 which was the case earlier with DVD. It is still not happening nearly enough, but Fox certainly seem to frequently do it, and Universal appear to be following suit.

    The transfer was sharp and clear, but one of the problems with this transfer was the excessive use of edge enhancement. There was many a time when a clear white or black halo surrounded the actors' heads in quite a noticeable fashion. If you've never seen what edge enhancement looks like, or don't know exactly what it is, take a look at 33:08 - 33:29 and look at the white outline around Chris Klein's head. This is not the only example of edge enhancement in this movie - it is frequently present to an excessive degree. Whilst edge enhancement will make a DVD look better on small or mis-adjusted TV sets, it detracts from the image on larger and properly calibrated display equipment.

    Another problem with the early part of the transfer was that it was very dark, a little too dark in my opinion. The white level returns to a more satisfactory level about 20 minutes into the transfer.

    Shadow detail is good, as is to be expected from contemporary film stock and a contemporary DVD transfer.

    There is no low level noise.

    The colours were a tad muted in the early part of the film, which as mentioned previously appeared a little too dark, but picked up after this point and were perfect from there on in.

    There was some very minor MPEG artefacting during the end credits, most likely a direct result of the excessive use of edge enhancement. Film to video artefacts consisted of the odd segment of moderately severe aliasing, particular of the venetian blinds in Jim's room. Film artefacts were extremely rare, with the only significant one coming just before the end credits roll.

    The packaging for this DVD indicates that the disc is dual layered. It is not.

    Finally, in regards to the video transfer, conspiracy theorists will be intrigued to know that the Xing software DVD player cannot play this DVD, showing the typical visual signs of failure to decrypt the CSS encryption, so it seems as if the Xing DVD player key has been removed from this DVD. This is actually an appalling anti-consumer action on the part of the DVD authors - legitimate Xing DVD player owners are unable to play this DVD - I wonder about the outcry this should and will cause. Imagine the outcry that would occur if the DVD Copy Control Association were to remove the keys for other more popular players from the DVD specification. A player that you paid good money for is suddenly rendered useless for future DVD releases. The precedent that this sets is frightening.

Audio

    This is quite a nice soundtrack overall, without being exemplary.

    There is only a single audio track on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1. The overall level of this soundtrack was a little on the low side, and you will enjoy it more if you crank it up a notch.

    Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand. This was in fact a high point of the audio transfer, as dialogue was frequently competing with significant ambient sound, and was always mixed perfectly so as to be completely understandable at all times.

    Audio sync was ever so slightly out for the first 18 minutes or so, and then settled down to be perfectly in sync. I suspect that the average viewer of this DVD will not notice any audio sync problems, but I have become hypersensitive to the slightest hint of an audio sync problem as of late.

    The score by David Lawrence struck quite a chord with me, and I enjoyed it immensely. It is relatively laid back and features a goodly amount of guitar work which made for very pleasant listening. It was nicely tied in to the on-screen action, augmenting the emotions created by the actors.

    The surround channels were used moderately for music and ambience, and helped to involve you in the movie.

    The .1 channel was used moderately to support the music in the soundtrack and remained subtle and pleasing in its integration with the overall mix of the soundtrack. An appropriate (and MA-rated) main menu animation helps to maintain the overall tone of the movie.

Extras

    There is an excellent selection of extras on this DVD.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    American Pie is available in two versions in Region 1, one R-rated and one unrated. The unrated version adds a small amount of footage into the movie itself which did not make the theatrical cut. The Region 4 version of American Pie is the equivalent of the Region 1 rated version. For those that are interested, the Region 1 unrated version adds the following very brief scenes (warning spoilers ahead - highlight with your mouse to see them);     Comparing the R-rated Region 1 version to the Region 4 version of this DVD shows that the Region 4 DVD misses out on;     To be honest, the additional scenes added into the unrated Region 1 version seem trivial to me, and I can't see them adding anything significant into the movie. In fact, they smack more of a marketing ploy by Universal to sell more copies of this movie in Region 1 than anything else. Likewise, the missing other trailers and music video fail to impress me.

    I would declare that the Region 1 and Region 4 DVDs are equivalent in this case.

Summary

    I enjoyed American Pie, and would rank it quite highly within its genre, as a very pleasant and amusing way to spend 90 minutes.

    The video quality is good, but excessive edge enhancement does mar the transfer somewhat.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are excellent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Friday, February 04, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDStart SD2010VNK, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer

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impulsegamer.com - Tory Favro

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