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, very much|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
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.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
I would declare that the Region 1 and Region 4 DVDs are equivalent in this case.
The video quality is good, but excessive edge enhancement does mar the transfer somewhat.
The audio quality is good.
The extras are excellent.
|DVD||Start SD2010VNK, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe 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 Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||2 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|
|Speakers||Philips 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|