Forgetting Sarah Marshall appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray. The movie came with an unexceptional image.
Sharpness usually appeared acceptably accurate and detailed. At times, however, I found the image to come across as a little fuzzy and soft, with lesser definition seen in some of the wide shots. Nonetheless, most of the movie appeared reasonably clear and appropriately focused. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, and I saw no edge haloes. No print flaws materialized; the film remained clean and fresh.
In terms of colors, the flick went with a moderately subdued set of tones. Hues stayed on the natural side, with a mild golden feel to things that fit the Hawaiian setting. Within those parameters, the tones looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows appeared clear and well-developed. This wasn’t a bad presentation, but it came across as a bit spotty.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a functional effort and that was all. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of comedy, and I got exactly what I anticipated. In terms of effects, general ambience ruled the day. Surround usage stayed limited; the back speakers gently fleshed out various settings but did no more than that.
In those forward channels, the music provided nice stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but the effects conveyed a passable sense of space and place. The track functioned appropriately for the story.
Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and speech displayed no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate; there wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. The music came across as acceptably distinctive. This was a standard “comedy mix” and became a decent reproduction of the material.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio was a bit warmer, and visuals seemed somewhat smoother and better defined. Don’t expect a revelation, though – the Blu—ray topped the DVD but not by a huge margin.
The Blu-ray offers the DVD’s extras and adds some as well. We open with an audio commentary from director Nicholas Stoller, writer/actor Jason Segel, producer Shauna Robertson, executive producer Rodney Rothman, and actors Mila Kunis, Jack McBrayer and Russell Brand. (Actor Kristen Bell also briefly shows up via phone.) The track looks at cast, characters and performances, story issues and influences, shooting in Hawaii and other spots, editing and changes made for the extended cut, and a mix of production anecdotes.
With so many participants, we expect a rollicking affair, and that’s largely what we get here. The commentary includes a lot of jokes and looseness, but it never becomes chaotic or disjointed. This isn’t the most informative affair, but it gives us a good look at the movie and entertains.
The Blu-ray allows viewers the option to examine this piece as a visual commentary as well. This simply shows the participants as they record the track. It’s a mostly boring way to experience the discussion.
Like all discs for Apatow-produced flicks, we get plenty of cut footage. We find 11 Deleted/Extended Scenes that fill a total of 19 minutes, 24 seconds. None are particularly valuable, though some amusement results. In particular, I like a long, bizarre sequence in which Sarah gets stuck on a very slow “runaway horse” – it never would’ve fit the final film, but it’s funny.
Essentially another deleted scene, Puppet Breakup lasts two minutes, 29 seconds. It shows a vampire puppet version of the Peter/Sarah break-up scene. It’s moderately entertaining.
More cut material comes from Line-O-Rama. It offers a seven-minute, 49-second collection of alternate lines. These mostly come from scenes that made the flick but provide different takes. They’re a lot of fun and often more amusing than the bits that ended up in the final cut.
In the same vein, Sex-O-Rama (2:42) and Drunk-O-Rama (2:29). Those offer additional alternate dialogue for scenes related to Peter’s sexual and alcoholic escapades. They provide some amusement.
After this we find a five-minute, 44-second Gag Reel. Some of these provide alternate lines, but they’re usually the standard goofs and giggles. Still, enough nutty moments emerge to make them moderately enjoyable.
Briefly seen in the movie, the disc includes the entire music video (3:47) for “We’ve Got to Do Something”. I like it as a curiosity, but it probably amuses more in its edited format since its gags wear thin before long. Still, I’m glad the disc put it here.
Next we get a view of a short Table Read. This three-minute, 12-second clip shows a rendition of “Dracula’s Lament”, the song Peter performs at the Hawaiian club. This means the scene focuses almost exclusively on Segal and Kunis; we see other actors but don’t from them. It provides a mildly interesting glimpse behind the scenes but isn’t anything special.
The Making of A Taste for Love runs six minutes, 17 seconds gives us info about the Dracula musical featured in the film. We hear from Segel, Stoller, Rothman, Robertson, producer Judd Apatow, music supervisor Jonathan Karp, Peter Brooke and Muchael Oosterom of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, executive producer Richard Vane, and actor Bill Hader. It delivers a few details about A Taste for Love and its creation. Don’t expect a lot of depth, though; we hear a smattering of interesting thoughts but that’s about it.
For a look at a supporting character, we go to Russell Brand: Aldous Snow. The five-minute, 55-second piece involves Robertson, Stoller, Segel, Brand and Karp. We learn about how Brand’s casting changed the character as well as aspects of his performance. This turns into a tight little piece.
Next we find seven minutes, 13 seconds of Raw Footage. This shows the “video chat” between Peter and his stepbrother as they discuss Peter’s time in Hawaii. It’s fun to see both sides of the scene at the same time, so this becomes a cool extra.
With The Letter “U”, we find a three-minute, 45-second clip. It shows Aldous Snow on a Sesame Street style show; he chats with a five-year-old about the letter “U”. It becomes goofy fun.
Two bits pop up under Crime Scene. “Alt Scenes” (2:17) gives us more outtakes from Sarah’s TV series, while “Hunter Rush Line-O-Rama” (1:53) offers alternate dialogue from the Billy Baldwin character. Both seem amusing enough.
After this we get Sarah’s New Show Alts. The two-minute, 15-second reel provides other possibilities for the new series on which Sarah starred after Crime Scene. This turns into an enjoyable collection.
21 Video Diaries occupy a total of 35 minutes, 16 seconds. In these, we hear from Segel, Stoller, Brand, Bell, McBrayer, Rothman, Kunis, and actors Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill and Maria Thayer. These offer glimpses of the shoot and work fairly well. They give us nothing especially significant, but they're fun.
U-Control offers two options. “Karaoke” pops up three times, as we get it during “We’ve Got to Do Something” (chapter 1), “Hula Medley”, “Home on the Range”, “Inside of You” (all three in chapter 8), “Dracula’s Lament” (chapter 10) and “A Taste for Love” (chapter 19). These clips let us hear the songs without vocals so we can sing them ourselves. If that works for you, have a party!
“Picture-in-Picture” offers shots from the set, rehearsals and comments from Apatow, Stoller, Segel, Robertson, Vane, Kunis, and Brand. They discuss the project’s origins and development, story/character areas, cast and performances, and locations. The rehearsal clips prove to be the most interesting, and they help make this an interesting collection.
At no point does Forgetting Sarah Marshall become a bad movie, but it seems like a mediocre one. Indeed, it always feels like something that I should enjoy more than I do; its entertainment value just doesn’t hit the expected levels given the folks involved. The Blu-ray offers decent picture and audio along with a strong set of supplements. This turns into a pretty good release for a sporadically enjoyable film.
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