American Pie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, Pie offered a mediocre transfer.
Sharpness seemed adequate most of the time, but some fairly prominent edge haloes created distractions. Still, the image usually brought reasonably good accuracy despite these haloes.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, but Pie appeared to demonstrate some use of noise reduction. While the film came with a bit of grain, but it felt fairly “smoothed out” at times due to the de-noise techniques.
Print flaws remained minor. An occasional speck or mark appeared, but these failed to create many distractions.
Colors felt decent. While the hues didn’t show much range, they looked fairly concise and didn’t come with prominent issues, though skin tones could appear inconsistent and on the pink side at times.
While blacks were usually fine, they looked crushed on occasion. Shadows appeared acceptable, though this was an oddly dark movie on more than a few instances. Ultimately, this seemed like a wholly mediocre image.
Don’t expect much from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Pie. The very definition of a “comedy mix”, the soundtrack stayed largely located in the front.
The music showed good stereo imaging, and various environmental effects spread well across the channels. Don’t expect much life or activity, though, and the surrounds remained fairly passive during most of the movies.
Audio quality was acceptable. Dialogue appeared fairly natural, without edginess or other concerns.
Effects felt clean and accurate, though they did little to push the system. The music was reasonably bright and lively. Nothing excelled here, but the mix felt adequate for a comedy.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD? The lossless audio offered improvements, as the DTS-HD mix felt clearer and less distorted than the DVD’s track.
Visuals became a different matter, as the Blu-ray’s problems limited its improvements. The BD looked cleaner, and the superior capabilities of the format allowed it to bring a modest step up, but the BD came with too many issues for it to be an obvious upgrade.
This Blu-ray includes both the film’s “R”-rated theatrical version (1:35:32) as well as an Unrated Cut (1:35:37). What's the difference between the two?
Not much - in fact, the additional footage in the unrated cut is so minimal that I might not have noticed much of it had I not been aware of it. We see slightly more explicit shots for a few scenes, including those of Jim and the titular pie, Nadia and her hand, Vicky's first orgasm, and a sex manual.
The pie scene differs the most from the theatrical version. In that one, Jim dabbles with the pie while standing, but in the unrated cut he mounts it on a kitchen counter. That instance doesn't show additional footage, as instead, it substitutes the alternate version.
Don't take that "more explicit" statement to mean much. The unrated cut seems a bit raunchier but it doesn’t create a substantially different experience.
The disc provides an audio commentary with director Paul Weitz, producer Chris Weitz, writer Adam Herz and actors Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott and Eddie Kaye Harris. All six sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of story/characters, cast and performances, editing and cut scenes, sets and production design, music, and related areas.
With so many participants, I feared the commentary would become a raucous mess, but it remains orderly and easy to follow. Not surprisingly, Herz and Paul Weitz dominate, but everyone gets a chance to toss in some good comments. This ends up as an enjoyable and informative chat.
10 Deleted Scenes span a total of five minutes, 52 seconds. Despite their brevity, there’s some good stuff here. Most of them are extended versions of existing scenes, but a few are totally new material.
These add some minor character depth - especially to Kevin, as we see more of his relationship with his brother - and at least one of them is hilarious. There’s a few seconds of post-coital Jim and Michelle that really should have made the film.
Outtakes span two minutes, 46 seconds and mainly provide the usual bloopers, though some true unused material appears as well. The compilation comes in terrible shape but it offers value.
Next we move on to From the Set: Photograph Montage With Director and Producer Comments. As stated in the title, this seven-minute, 10-second program displays production photos while we hear a short interview with the Weitz boys. Their remarks feel fairly uninteresting, and the photos don’t seem too fascinating either.
When you open the music video for Tonic’s “You Wanted More”, you’ll encounter the same program provided in the original DVD’s "Soundtrack Presentation". After a 30-second ad for that album, "You Wanted More" starts.
This is mainly a conceptual piece that shows a rather lovesick high school, and these scenes get intercut with movie snippets and some semi-straight performance shots of the band. It's a decent little clip and is more interesting than most music videos, especially those that accompany movies.
In addition, we find a Live Performance from Tonic. After a brief interview snippet, we see them perform “Future Says Run”.
Another interview clip then pops up before we watch “Mean to Me”. All in all, the piece lasts for 10 minutes, 52 seconds, and although the music does little for me, this becomes a nice addition to the package.
Next we find a brief featurette called Spotlight on Location. This ten-minute, 30-second piece offers a perfunctory look behind the scenes of the film.
We get notes from Biggs, Scott, Chris and Paul Weitz, Nicholas, Thomas, and actors Natasha Lyonne, Alyson Hannigan, Mena Suvari, Chris Klein, and Tara Reid. They offer general notes about the production as well as their own high school experiences. It becomes a perfunctory promo piece.
In addition to the film’s trailer, Poster Concepts offers seven minutes, 32 seconds of advertising ideas. This brings 90 promo images, some of which use the alternate title Great Falls. It becomes a fine compilation.
From here, we go to materials new to the Blu-ray. A Look Inside American Reunion spans three minutes, 58 seconds and offers notes from Biggs, Scott, Thomas, Suvari, Klein, Nicholas, Reid, Reunion directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, and actor Eugene Levy. It offers a basic promo for the fourth movie.
100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters spans eight minutes, 18 seconds. It features a slew of movie snippets as a narrator tells us about different Universal roles. It’s mildly entertaining but it essentially exists as an advertisement.
Under Casting Tapes, we get reels for Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and Eddie Kaye Thomas. In all, these fill seven minutes, 40 seconds.
As expected, we find the actors’ tryouts. They’re a fun addition.
Last but not least, we get American Pie Revealed, a massive three-hour, 33-minute, 29-second program that covers the first three films. We find notes from Levy, Nicholas, Suvari, Hannigan, Lyonne, Thomas, Scott, Paul Weitz, Jason Biggs, Chris Weitz, Herz, Elizabeth, Reid, Klein, producers Craig Perry, Chris Bender, Warren Zide and Chris Moore, Herz’s father Adam, Herz’s former assistant principal Sheila Pantlind, Yesterdog owner Bill Lewis, Herz’s high school pals Jim DeBoer, Pat Conner, Parker Frost, John Zyskowski, and Chris Barnes, directors JB Rogers and Jesse Dylan, Elizabeth’s husband Joe Reitman, film critic John Douglas, prop makers “Dave and Scott”, associate producer Josh Shader, dog trainers Guin Hill and Sheri Apap, special effects director Ron Trost, and actors Fred Willard, Molly Cheek, Lawrence Pressman, Jennifer Coolidge, Justin Isfeld, John Cho, Chris Penn, January Jones, Nikki Ziering, Amanda Swisten, Eric Allan Kramer.
“Revealed” discusses Herz’s experiences and their influence on the films, the development of the first film, casting and performances, sets and locations, and the first movie’s release/reception.
From there we progress through the development of the sequels, deleted storylines/scenes, and various aspects of these films’ creation. We wind up with a five-year reunion dinner that brings together cast and crew and then a Herz Q&A where he touches on some of the movies’ burning questions.
In terms of a coherent look at a production, the portions related to the first Pie become the only ones to follow that path. We trace the flick pretty well from inspiration to release.
When we get to Pie 2, we find some production information, but most of those segments offer lots and lots of cut sequences and deleted story points.
The Wedding portions tend toward short nuts and bolts segments. These lean toward the logistics of elements like training humping dogs or creating various props.
Unsurprisingly, this makes the sections about the first movie the most satisfying, as they give us the most complete picture. However, the Pie 2 parts also work well, mainly because they delve into why those deleted scenes got the boot. These moments provide a nice discussion of the story choices at work.
The Wedding parts give us some fun notes, but they don’t seem as compelling as the preceding segments, and the reunion dinner turns into something of a mess. While we fins a few good anecdotes, the event seems somewhat disjointed and a letdown.
The format of “Revealed” allows the viewer easy access to the different sections. In truth, it doesn’t attempt to exist as one long, coherent documentary, so I can’t complain about the occasionally disjointed feel.
The disc presents plenty of chapter segments, so the viewer can select whatever they’d like or view as one long piece. In any case, we get a ton of good material in this extensive package.
While American Pie isn't a great movie and also definitely isn't for everybody, it provides a pretty enjoyable and funny little film. It offers a good number of laughs and stands up well to extra viewings. The Blu-ray brings mediocre picture and audio along with a long roster of bonus materials. Though the movie remains entertaining, the Blu-ray disappoints due to iffy visuals.