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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Branden Chambers, Eric D. Chambers
Cast:
Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin
Writing Credits:
Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin

Synopsis:
You're not hallucinating. It's the legendary toker jokers Cheech & Chong as you've never seen them before - in their very first Animated Movie. Catch the buzz as their most outrageous routines and laugh-out-loud lines from their Grammy Award-winning albums come to life, including "Dave's Not Here," "Let's Make A Dope Deal" and more. With help from a bud-lovin' body crab named Buster, Cheech & Chong deliver the ultimate comedy high and give you the munchies for more!

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Quebecois Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 83 min
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 4/23/2013

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writers/Actors Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong
• Audio Commentary with Directors Branden Chambers and Eric D. Chambers and Producer Lou Adler
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Actor Tommy Chong and Paris Chong
• “4.20 Listening Mode”
• “Medical Marijuana Blues” Session with Blind Melon Chitlin’
• Cheech and Chong Slideshow
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Cheech & Chong's Animated Movie [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 16, 2013)

After much success as a comedy duo in the 1970s, Cheech and Chong broke up in the mid-80s. However, they’ve occasionally reunited in the 21st century, and 2013’s Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie marks another modern effort from the pair.

Sort of, as it really just reuses old routines for the most part. Animated Movie lacks any plot. We meet cartoon Cheech as he picks up cartoon Chong as a hitchhiker and follow as they go to the movies, watch TV and have other interactions. We also see a body crab named Buster who smells Chong’s weed and craves the stoner’s blood so he can get a hit.

All of this acts as nothing more than an excuse to repackage material from the old C&C comedy albums. Given the construction of the earlier C&C live-action flicks, the absence of plot in Animated Movie doesn’t create a change. As I noted when I reviewed 1978’s Up in Smoke and 1981’s Nice Dreams, neither of those gave us more than a collection of comedic episodes tied together with a vague theme. Animated Movie seems a bit looser, but not much.

When asked to account for the popularity of C&C’s routines, I’m tempted to say “you had to be there”. Actually, I was there – “there” meaning the 1970s – but I was too young for C&C. I did see some of their flicks theatrically - Nice Dreams and 1979’s Next Movie - and I think I liked them, though I can’t tell you what I appreciated about them at the time.

I was an adolescent then, and as a middle-aged adult, I can’t figure out what’s supposed to be funny in the C&C routines. Oh, they occasionally toss out a vaguely amusing bit, and I think both have talent. I’m not surprised Cheech enjoyed a decent “solo career” as an actor after C&C split, and I’m impressed with his ability to mimic other voices; I’m so used to Cheech’s extreme Chicano character that it comes almost as a shock to hear how much range he displays.

Too bad the material itself offers so little amusement. The vast majority revolves around drugs and bodily functions, with little else on display. Gags tend to go on too long; even if they have potential, they use it up via their unending nature.

Don’t expect the visuals to bring these audio recordings to life. The animation itself is fine – essentially on a par with TV shows – but the material doesn’t benefit from this added dimension. If anything, the gags might fare worse when combined with the often disgusting cartoons. We start with a shot of a woman’s hairy crotch that zooms into body crabs and the film gets no less unpleasant from there.

Maybe this would’ve been hilarious 35 years ago; clearly a lot of people loved Cheech and Chong back in the day. I find it hard to imagine this stuff ever boasted much comedy value, but even if it did, it doesn’t amuse today.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie displayed excellent visuals.

Sharpness seemed terrific. From start to finish, the flick offered solid delineation, with a consistently concise and tight presentation. I noticed no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws also failed to materialize in this clean transfer.

Animated Movie used a bright palette that came across well. The colors were always lively and dynamic, with no issues on display. Blacks seemed deep and firm, while shadows were smooth and clear. I found a lot to like about this positive presentation.

While not particularly impressive, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Animated Movie was perfectly adequate. The film offered a good sense of environment and used a few action scenes to open up matters in a decent way. Not a lot of these moments occurred, but they worked well when they did, and the general sense of setting satisfied.

Audio quality was fine. Speech usually sounded natural and warm, with good intelligibility; some of the source material could be distorted – especially during the shouted moments of “Sister Mary Elephant” – but overall clarity remained positive. Music was lively and dynamic, and effects fell into the same realm. Those elements appeared concise and accurate through the flick. Nothing here dazzled, but the track seemed solid.

We get a bunch of extras here, mostly via the disc’s three audio commentaries. The first comes from writers/actors Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific discussion of the sketches featured in the film and other aspects of their career.

This tends to be nostalgic and interesting, if not scintillating. The track probably sounds better on paper than it ends up in reality, but it still offers a fun collection of notes. Heck, it’s just cool to hear the old partners hang out together and look back on their work together. Nothing here dazzles, but it entertains.

For the second commentary, we find directors Branden Chambers and Eric D. Chambers and producer Lou Adler. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at the project’s origins and development, animation, adapting the original sketches, and some related notes.

Adler occasionally contributes his memories of working with Cheech and Chong, but the Chambers boys dominate this track. While they give us decent nuts and bolts info about the film, I can’t say that I feel like I learned much other than the fact they love C&C. There’s a useful commentary buried in this fairly dull one.

Finally, we hear from writer/actor Tommy Chong and son Paris Chong. They offer another running, screen-specific piece that covers the same territory as the C&C commentary; Paris essentially acts to prompt his dad on topics, while the elder Chong gives us his memories.

Even though this Chong/Chong chat reiterates a fair amount of material from the Cheech/Chong one, it works better. Tommy seems more lucid and invested here, so we get better info about his career. It’s not quite as fun as the Cheech/Chong discussion, but it’s more illuminating.

With the 4.20 Listening Mode, we fail to locate anything unique. It’s just an option that lets you play all three commentaries back to back to back.

The ”Medical Marijuana Blues” Session with Blind Melon Chitlin’ gives us a five-minute, seven-second clip with modern-day Cheech and Chong. We see them in character as musician Blind Melon Chitlin’ (Chong) and his manager (Cheech) as Chitlin’ goes into the studio. It’s a minor curiosity that fans might like.

Within the Cheech and Chong Slideshow, we see a three-minute 25-second reel. It compares shots of C&C in the 70s with their animated versions. The format’s a little annoying – it won’t let you fast-forward or rewind – but it gives us some nice images.

The disc opens with ads for The Heat and Movie 43. No other promos pop up here.

Maybe if I’d been of stoner age in the 1970s I’d better understand the appeal of Cheech and Chong. Alas, I was born too late and find myself perplexed by their continued popularity. Cheech and Chong’s Animated Movie packages a lot of their old routines into cartoon form with generally unfunny results. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals as well as good sound and a bevy of commentaries. The Blu-ray is a quality product but the movie itself leaves me cold.

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