How High (2001)

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Released 17-Jan-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Audio Commentary-Method Man & Redman
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Easter Egg-Hide The Stash
Music Video
Theatrical Trailer
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Ali G Indahouse
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 89:37
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:31) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jesse Dylan
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Method Man
Redman
Mike Epps
Jeffrey Jones
Fred Willard
Obba Babatundé
Case ?
RPI ? Music Rockwilder


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles 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

     If you didn’t already know what you were in for when putting How High into your DVD player, the bubbling sounds of Cypress Hill’s Hits from the bong before the intro credits should make you realise you are not about to watch a film on extreme sports. The surprisingly Danny DeVito-produced film tells the story of two layabout stoners, Silas P. Silas (Method Man) and Jamal King (Redman) from New Jersey, about to sit their school SATs. After their friend Ivory (Chuck Davis) dies in a fire caused by falling asleep with a joint, Silas and Jamal decide to smoke his ashes, which results in a visit from Ivory’s ghost. Ivory tells them all the correct answers for their SATs, which results in an offering of a scholarship at any school of their choice. After meeting up with Chancellor Huntley (Fred Willard), the boys decide to go to Harvard. Upon arrival, they immediately cause a stir, especially when they notice a couple of ladies, who at first appear to be out of their league.

    This is basically a Cheech And Chong take on a traditional ‘fish out of water’ story that is very formulaic and predictable, with a few gags thrown in along the way for good measure. But does it work?

    Well, it took me about half an hour to even conjure up a face movement that even remotely resembled a smile, let alone laugh at the lame unoriginal and unimaginative comedy in the film, leaving me almost bored at one stage. While I admit that it definitely got better as it went on, and there were maybe half a dozen times I laughed throughout, it just wasn’t very funny at all. Not only that, but it was also not a very good film. So void of originality and inspiration, I almost feel embarrassed for its stars, who should probably stick to their day jobs. That’s not to say they are no good in movies, but they are definitely not comedians. Joining Method Man and Redman are a decent cast for such a poor film including Mike Epps, Jeffrey Jones, Fred Willard, and Obba Babatundé. And if there is any moral to the film’s outcome, it is that if you can get your teachers high, and hook them up with chicks, you’re sure to get top marks! Great one for the kids.

    As the two main protagonists state in their audio commentary, and you might enjoy the film more by doing so (not that I condone it), they recommend that you should turn the lights down and kick back and enjoy, and smoke a fat one wit’ ya boyz…

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Well, if there is any reason to revisit this film, it is the A/V presentation. The video transfer is excellent, and is close to reference quality. Only a few slight problems kept the score down, none of which are extreme, but which must be mentioned.

    How High is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness was not perfect, given the age of the film, resulting in a slightly soft image at times which is never distracting. Shadow detail was fairly strong, and the blacks were almost as black as can be, but perhaps not as perfect as other recent transfers. Grain and low level noise were non-existent, which was one of the better aspects of the transfer.

    Colours seemed a tad muted, which could be due to the original intent of the filmmakers, or the quality of the print, but the colours were not as vibrant as I have seen in recent PAL transfers.

    MPEG artefacts were non existent, but I did notice some slight aliasing at 16.16 and 66.01, but that is just nitpicking, and is hardly worth marking the transfer down for. The print was also free from any film or video artefacts, which is to be expected for a recent film, although not always the case.

    The layer change occurs at 68.31, and is unfortunately in the middle of a song, making it bleedingly obvious.

    Overall, this is an excellent transfer that is only marred by a few problems that are only very slight.

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

Audio

    To go along with that nice video transfer we get what is one of the better comedy soundtracks I’ve heard in a while. While again not reference quality, this transfer is very good, and helps make the film worth watching.

    We are given a few options for listening to How High, which include English dts 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0. The better of the three is the louder dts track, which is as is to be expected. More bass and slightly clearer sound tip it over the edge, ahead of the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

    Dialogue was clear on all three audio tracks, never becoming unintelligible or distorted. Audio sync was spot-on throughout on the dts track, and there were no problems on the other two tracks when I switched over.

    The score by Rockwilder was supported by a hip-hop soundtrack featuring artists such as DMX, Ludacris, Cypress Hill and of course Method Man and Redman. The film’s music is perhaps its main highlight, and the dts track outshone the Dolby Digital 5.1 track here due to its increased bass and clarity.

    Surround channel usage was strong for a comedy, with split directionality support for sound effects and ambience. Whether it's passing buses, classroom voices, or birds chirping in the background, the surrounds come into play whenever they're needed. In most comedies, the surrounds are subdued, but that is definitely not the case here. Whilst not as active as an action film, this is definitely one of the most active mixes for a comedy I’ve heard in a while. No major difference here between dts and Dolby Digital, apart from the increase in volume.

    The subwoofer was also very active, mainly to support the film’s hip-hop soundtrack, but also with a few sound effects here and there. The dts track wins hands down when it comes to bass, but the Dolby Digital mix is still quite good.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    This is just a static poster-type shot of the film, with ‘How High’ by Method Man and Redman playing.

Featurette-Making Of – (21.42)

    Presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0, this lengthy promotional featurette is the usual kind – interviews with the main players, intercut with clips from the film. It’s interesting to see an understandably uncomfortable looking Danny DeVito trying to sell the film to the viewer here. Overall, a decent piece of fluff, in that you get to see everyone speak about the film, even if it never goes into too much depth (which is probably a good thing).

Audio Commentary

    This relatively screen-specific track features none other than Method Man and Redman talking us through the film. Never getting technical, or particularly informative, fans will be satisfied to just listen to the boys ramble on a bit about the film. There are a few silent gaps here and there, but it was at least as enjoyable as the film – I don’t know whether that’s a compliment or a criticism.

Deleted Scenes – (21.59)

    Wow, if a sweet transfer, dts track, decent featurette and an audio commentary wasn’t already enough, twenty-two minutes of deleted scenes are included on the disc. It must have been hard for the editor, because these scenes were just as bad/good as the rest of the film, and were only cut due to the film’s running time. Anyway, they’re here, and they’re presented in non 16x9 enhanced 1.85:1 widescreen, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Outtakes – (2.54)

    Most of theses are shown during the film’s closing credits, and are not that funny at all – which fits the film I guess.

Hide The Stash – Easter Egg

    Highlight over the next few lines if you want to know what the egg is. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read)

    This is interesting, because there are actually a few scattered eggs on the disc, but only one of them is the correct one. After a thirty-three second intro from the two rappers telling us to search the DVD for the stash, I found a few scattered eggs. I found the correct one after only my third try. It’s only a nineteen second clip of the boys telling me to roll it, light it and smoke it now that I have found it. I felt like telling them what to do with it afterwards, as it was probably the most useless egg I have ever seen.

Music Video – Part II (4.12)

    By Method Man, Redman and featuring Toni Braxton, presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0.

Theatrical Trailer – (1.02)

    Presented in non 16x9 enhanced 1.85:1 widescreen.

Production Notes – Four pages

    Nothing really worth reading here, just four pages of text that is hardly informative.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Biographies for director Jesse Dylan and cast members Method Man, Redman, Mike Epps, Jeffrey Jones, Fred Willard, and Obba Babatundé.

Trailer – Ali G Indahouse (2.19)

    I don’t know why this trailer is included, and it runs for longer than the one for How High.

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 DVD misses out on

    I’d stick with the Region 4 disc, as I’d take a PAL transfer over those extras any day.

Summary

     How High is not a very good movie, and it’s not really that funny either. I laughed a few times, but was mainly bored with the film.

    The video transfer is excellent, and is close to reference quality.

    The audio transfer is also excellent, especially for a comedy, with the dts track being the clear winner.

    The extra features are also quite good, perhaps in quantity over quality, but there’s certainly nothing to complain about here, either.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayTeac 82cm 16x9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
Speakers5 Sony speakers; Sherwood 12" 100w Powered Subwoofer

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