Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are a writing and acting duo who in recent years had considerable success with Shaun of the Dead and then Hot Fuzz. Now, in 2011, we have their third feature film, Paul which sees the English pair travelling across America, and picking up a very interesting friend.
Two sci-fi geeks are on a pilgrimage taking them to America's UFO heartland. While there, they accidentally meet an alien who brings them on an insane road trip that alters their universe forever. For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. When he discovers he's been taken prisoner, the space-traveling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town-a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost). Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. And as two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes...
The Blu-Ray release of Paul also includes two versions of the film. First up is the Theatrical Cut which runs for 104 minutes or, if you don't mind a little more profanity and a couple of extra bits, the Extended Cut which adds in an additional 5 minutes of footage for a 109 minute runtime.
Paul is a pretty entertaining movie which has certainly continued the rising success of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as writers and actors. Be wary if you don't like profanity laden films, but if you can deal with swearing then we highly recommend this release!
Being such a recent theatrical release it came as no surprise that Universal don't disappoint with the transfer to Blu-Ray. Using the AVC MPEG-4 codec, and with the film being presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, this is technically very accomplished with no signs of compression artifacts, and a clean print most likely taken from a digital source being such a recent films. Colours are consistent and natural throughout while the image retains plenty of fine detail due to skillful encoding and a high bitrate.
There is only one other audio track on this disc, an English Descriptive Video Service, which provides a description of what's taking place on-screen. This audio track is encoded in a rather disappointing Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192kbps which gets the job done, but why is it the blind miss out on the glorious surround sound effort? There is only a single English subtitle track and it seems to get the job done nicely enough.
As with all recent Universal discs before you get to the main menu trailers will load from the internet. That's nice in theory, and they are skippable, but it is an annoyance to have five trailers to skip, and the fact that they are chewing up downloads (which, for some, may be an issue). There's plenty more extra content on the disc though.
Filmmakers Commentary: We almost missed this as it's hidden away on the second page of Extras, but it's a gem of an audio commentary for the theatrical version of the film which includes director Greg Mottola, actors Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Hader and producer Nira Park. Not only is it lighthearted, but the participants have plenty of interesting stories to share about the creation of this film.
Bloopers (10:51/HD): It's a blooper reel which has some amusing moments but is also a lot of goofing around.
Between The Lightning Strikes: The Making of Paul (40:04/HD): Now this is a great documentary which looks at the making of Paul from an idea during filming Shaun of the Dead to creating Paul, to filming on location, exploding the house and using Seth Rogan's voice, and his head in test sequences. This is definitely worth a look.
The Evolution Of Paul (15:05/HD): This 15-minute featurette looks at the creation of Paul - a completely CG character in the film.
Simon's Silly Faces (1:20/HD): Simon Pegg pulls plenty of silly faces in this short compilation.
Theatrical Trailer (11:53/HD): So here we have Domestic (US) Trailer, UK Trailer, Red Band Internet Trailer and TV Spots US including Legend, Trouble, Two Grown Men Alternate, Who is Paul?, Evolved and TV Spots UK including Extra, Pedigree, Aliens and Americas Most Wanted. The Trailers and US Spots are in HD, the UK TV Spots are only SD, but still decent quality.
Galleries (HD): Here are hundreds of Photos, Storyboards and Posters for your viewing pleasure.
Review By: Dave Warner