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January 21, 2008
Superbad: 2-disc Badass Extended Edition
Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
20/9/200723/1/2008Sony PicturesGreg Mottola
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Dolby TrueHDMA15+Jonah Hill

THE MOVIE
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Remember this from the trailer?
Superbad was one of the surprise hits of 2007. The movie cost a pretty paltry $US20 million to make but managed to gross a mammoth $US168 million at the box office around the globe. Perhaps part of the appeal of the movie was that it was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg during their teenage years - with many events in the movie inspired by their real-life experiences. The movie was produced by Judd Apatow who you may know as the director of The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up - two of the best comedies of the last decade or so.

Superbad is a coming-of-age tale about two socially inept teenage boys about to graduate high school. Theirs is a ridiculously dependent friendship - but now they've gotten into different colleges and are forced to contemplate life apart. Evan (Michael Cera) is sweet, smart and generally terrified. Seth (Jonah Hill) is foul-mouthed, volatile, and all-consumed with the topic of human sexuality. This is the story of their misguided attempts to reverse a lifelong losing streak with the ladies in one panic-driven night... that awful, humiliating night you cherish for the rest of your life.

It must be said that if you've ever seen any teenage 'coming-of-age' movies such as American Pie, Porky's, Animal House or Fast Times at Ridgemont High then you should have a good idea what to expect from this comedy. It's crude (especially a scene with some bodily fluid after a dance - which I won't detail here!), has a tonne of swearing - probably more then I have heard in any other movie - and has a plot which fits pretty much any teenage comedy, but it has very heartfelt performances from the entire cast as well as a believable storyline.

While I walked out of the cinemas with some mixed feelings about Superbad, I actually enjoyed quite a bit more on the second and third viewings. It's certainly very laid back, but not one for people who don't appreciate a bit of swearing and sexual innuendo. The three lead characters are likable - even the vulgar Seth - however it's first time actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fogell/McLovin that really manages to steal the show. Some of the events he gets caught up in with the two cops, Officer Slater (Bill Hader) and Officer Michaels (Seth Rogan), are hilarious. Who can ever forget about the squad car at the end of the movie? Or taking out the drunk at the bar and ignoring the calls for help over the radio?

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Christopher Mintz-Plasse shows us his moves!
What did surprise me is that for all the swearing, and talk about sex, I don't think you even see any naked women in the movie besides a very brief porn clip (which stars Jenna Haze and Aurora Snow!). They certainly could have pushed the envelope here a little more - when you're going to an MA15+ rated teen-sex comedy you expect to see something don't you? Or is that just me?

While Superbad certainly isn't a movie to sit down and watch with your grandparents, it is a great teen comedy which offers quite a few chuckles, and was certainly one of the funniest movies of 2007. As an older person I personally prefer The 40 Year Old Virgin over this movie due to a stronger storyline, but this effort is certainly close.

VIDEO
Presented in the films original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 using the AVC MPEG-4 video codec this is a decent transfer although not the sparkling quality we expect from Blu-Ray. That could be put down to the source material as even in the cinema this wasn't the best looking feature movie - and filming in digital may not have assisted that fact. The opening sequence is intentionally grainy and given a 1970's type look and feel, but when the main feature starts that grain is removed and the image quality is much improved. With much of the movie taking place at night the darker scenes do lack quite a bit of detail in the shadows. Still, Superbad didn't look to great in the cinemas either so the transfer to this Blu-Ray disc (which we must point out is vastly superior to the DVD release with a sharper image and more vibrant colours) is probably as good as we could expect it to look.

AUDIO
The primary audio format on this disc is English Dolby TrueHD and it provides a clear audio experience from start to finish. Being primarily dialogue driven there isn't much here to excite your sub woofer or surround sound speakers, but they are used on occasion. One of the unfortunate things about this disc is that we don't have the PCM audio track which is available on the American version - quite obviously to make way for the many other languages. Fortunately the PS3 will decode the Dolby TrueHD to PCM so there is no loss in quality, but people with dedicated Blu-Ray players may want to keep this in mind.

Other audio formats include Italian Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Czech 5.1, Hungarian 5.1, Polish 5.1 and Russian 5.1. Each seems to be of a solid enough audio quality so as to not warrant complaint.

EXTRAS
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The three friends in discussion.
Superbad was a pretty big hit at the cinemas despite being a rather low budget movie but it is nice to see there are plenty of extras to keep you chuckling well after the feature movie is over. Not only do we get a host of extras, but almost all of them are presented in High Definition. If there is one gripe about the extras it's that there is a lack of 'behind the scenes' footage from on the set which, we can only assume, would have been a blast. So what do we get then?

Commentary with Filmmakers and Cast: This commentary is just about as entertaining as the movie with all the principal cast and crew including director Greg Mottola, producer Judd Apatow, screenwriter Evan Goldberg, and stars Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse all participating. It's clear they have a strong rapport and there are plenty of amusing stories told during this commentary.

Supermeter: Now this is an interesting addition which is exclusive to the Blu-Ray version. By turning on the Supermeter you will see a meter placed at the top left of screen which keeps count of 1) profanity and curse words 2) genital, sexual references and innuendo and c) how many times the name McLovin is said. For the record the final count on this Blu-Ray disc is (highlight to read) 403, 257 and 51. Not bad for a movie that runs for 1 hour 58 minutes!

Deleted and Extended Scenes (9.34/HD): Six deleted scenes that really could have been kept in the movie as they are pretty funny. All are presented in High Definition.

The Semen Conversation (3:42/HD): An extended scene talking about semen in detective work and how, in a dream, the world is covered in semen. Pretty entertaining.

Line-o-rama (4:15/HD): Yet more improvised lines which didn't make it into the final movie. Some are pretty funny.

Gag Reel (4:28/HD): A series of gags, bloopers and stuff-ups during the filming.

Theatrical Trailers (HD): Trailers for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Vantage Point, Resident Evil: Extinction, Life of Brian (DVD/Blu-Ray Promo), and Close Encounters of the Third Kind 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition.

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Emma Stone is hot, and has a big future.
So following these extras we head on to Disc 2 which contains even more extras to keep yourself entertained.

Cop Car Confessions (34:00/HD): Now this is weird. A series of set up conversations with Officer Slater and Officer Michaels in their cop car. It's actually pretty entertaining although the video quality alters quite a bit depending on the camera. Well worth a look.

The Making of Superbad (13:04/HD): An all-too-brief look at the making of the movie. Plenty of behind the scenes footage and cast and crew interviews about the production.

The Vag-Tastic Voyage (1:11/HD): Thank god, we can now see the full unedited porn movie with Jenna Haze and Aurora Snow - all one minute of it. Well at least we can now identify Aurora who can't be seen properly in the movie. Mmmmm....

The Original Table Read 2002 (5:22/HD): It was quite a few years before the movie was put into production but Seth Rogen reads with Jason Segal. Quite funny although we never find out why production never went ahead all those years ago.

Table Read 2006 (23:04/HD): Reading of three major sequences from the movie from the final cast. Very entertaining and a joy to see this kind of behind the scenes features on the Blu-Ray disc.

Auditions (13:21/HD): Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse's audition tapes. Another great addition to the extras on this disc.

Michael's Voicemail from Jonah (3:09/HD): A real 'what the fuck!' extra with four voice messages Jonah Hill left for Michael Cera. Not really worth your time actually.

Snakes on Jonah (4:45/HD): A prank played on the Jonah Hill given his fear of reptiles. Somewhat amusing, but little relevance to the movie.

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McLovin looks to be in some trouble!
Dancing Title Sequence (3:17/HD): Footage shot in front of a Green Screen for the opening sequence. It's nice to see how it was shot originally.

TV Safe Lines (3:01/HD): Showing how lines have to be changed get allow the movie onto TV in America. As you can imagine there were a lot of lines changed for the edited version.

Everyone Hates Michael Cera (6:43/HD): Goofing around with Michael Cera, entertaining but a little pointless.

On Set Diaries (17:45/HD): Some moderately lengthy and worthwhile footage of the cast and crew on the set for Superbad.

The Music of Superbad (13:07/HD): A nice look at the recording of music for Superbad. A bit of info here is worth looking at..

Press Junket Meltdown (3:30/HD): A rather pointless interview, obviously set up.

OVERALL
Superbad was a surprise hit at the cinemas and while there is more swearing then you can poke a stick at if that doesn't bother you then you'll discover one of the most delightful 'coming of age' movies in recent years. The cast all put in a heartfelt performance, and the dialogue is pretty quick. Sony Pictures have given this a fantastic transfer and crammed the two discs full of extras. This is one Blu-Ray set you should add to your collection immediately.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
8/10
THE VIDEO
8/10
THE AUDIO
8.5/10
THE EXTRAS
7/10
OVERALL
8/10

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