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September 17, 2009
17 Again Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
27/11/200317/9/2009Village RoadshowBurr Steers
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1Dolby TrueHD 5.1PGZac Efron

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Zac Efron stars in 17 Again.
Movies about changing bodies or changin age magically aren't exactly new. In fact, over the years there have been some classics including the Tom Hanks starring Big and Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday. This latest movie stars teen heartthrob Zac Efron in 17 Again.

Class of 1989, Mike O'Donnell is a star on his high school basketball court with a college scout in the stands and a bright future in his grasp. But instead of pursuing this avenue, he decides to throw it all away to share his life with his girlfriend Scarlett and the baby he just learned they are expecting. Almost 20 years later, Mike's glory days are decidedly behind him. His marriage to Scarlett has fallen apart, he has been passed over for a promotion at work, his teenage kids think he is a loser, and he has been reduced to crashing with his high school nerd-turned-techno-billionaire best friend Ned. But Mike is given another chance when he is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17.

Now there are some great moments in this movie; when Mike meets Stan in the cafeteria at around the 38 minute mark and talks about the "reason" he acts as he does is priceless, the way in which Scarlett thinks the 17 year old Mike is cracking onto him is also amusing.

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Acting up in the classroom.
Including opening movie studio credits it takes a grand total of 44 seconds before we see Zac Efron with his shirt off in this movie. If that doesn't tell you the target audience in itself then you're obviously, well, living under a rock. Admittedly Zac Efron is a likable actor. He commands a presence on screen and is certainly an actor to keep watch on in future, I just don't think he's really been tested yet in the High School Musical movies, nor this one, although he was pretty good in Hairspray.

I also really enjoy Matthew Perry as an actor and the scenes he appears in at the start and end of the movie are pretty good. Stealing the show though is Leslie Mann who plays Scarlett, and who you may remember from Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin, is quite brilliant as the wife who has fallen out of love with Mike as an adult. She brings plenty of heart to her characters, and is pretty funny as well.

There's nothing here in 17 Again that you haven't seen before, and that you haven't seen done better. Still teenagers girls will love Zac Efron in this movie and that is certainly the target audience in any case. For myself, it was OK, nothing more, nothing less.

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Matthew Perry is impressive in 17 Again.
Encoded using the VC-1 codec in the films original aspect ratio of 2.40:1 this 1080p transfer is as pristine as it gets. The transfer is free of any dirt of film artifacts while the image is also free of video compression artifacts. Detail levels are impressive, and the contrast and black levels are also superb. It may not be the glossiest picture ever, and there are some scenes where the image appears a little softer.

17 Again comes to Blu-Ray with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track (16-bit/48khz). The movie isn't exactly one which demands a lively or aggressive audio track, and indeed you won't want to use it as your sample disc for friends, but there are some moments, such as the opening dance number with crowds cheering and Young MC's "Bust A Move" playing from 2:08-3:14, where the sound field comes alive. Still, this is for the most part a very dialogue driven movie and on that count it does sound quite sharp.

There is only one other audio track on this disc, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 640kbps. While it's not quite up to the Dolby TrueHD audio track it's not too bad either as this isn't the most aggressive or sonically demanding track.

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Leslie Mann is a brilliant, and amusing, actress.
There is only one option for subtitles on this disc, that being English SDH. This subtitle track sees the text shortened quite a bit from the spoken dialogue but allows for improved timing for reading the text.

17 Again has been released on Blu-Ray with quite a few extras, although their substance is a little questionable. Still, read on...

Zac Goes Back (12:32/HD): A slightly longer version of an EPK with a look at making this movie and the themes including interviews with Zac Efron.

Going Back To 17 (3:13/HD): Some of the cast talk about what it was like when they were 17 years old at high school. To short to have any real detail, but seeing the actors photos from that age was pretty amusing.

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17 Again Blu-Ray video quality impresses.
Way Cool Tell All Trivia Track: Despite the silly name this trivia track is actually quite interesting with details about the production, actors and other tidbits. There's even statistics about teenage sexual activity and fighting which is quite interesting.

Breakin' Character Outtakes (3:24/HD): A short series of fluffed lines and bloopers. Nothing new or too exciting here...

Zac's Dance Flashbacks (2:10/HD): A deleted scene from the movie with Zac Efron dancing. You never actually see the full scene sadly.

Additional Scenes (16:05): There are thirteen deleted scenes here with some being pretty amusing. Sadly these are only presented in standard definition and don't look too great even for that resolution.

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Zac Efron playing with his ball.
Theatrical Trailer (2:26/HD): The Theatrical Trailer for the movie.

Lacking the charm and 'fun factor' of a movie such as Big this latest Zac Efron movie comes as a bit of a disappointment although there are a few amusing moments. It's clear that this is being pushed as a Zac Efron starring movie and really offers little else. Still, he has a pretty big following with the girls, and we're sure they'll enjoy 17 Again to some extent.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.