The Hangover appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While the picture had some positives, it was more erratic than I’d like.
Sharpness was inconsistent. Close-ups and two-shots looked fine, but anything wider tended to be rough and ill-defined. Some of the issues stemmed from digital artifacts; I noticed mild edge enhancement along with somewhat prominent mosquito noise. The movie came across as rather blocky on occasion, and I noticed shimmering and jagged edges at times. No source flaws appeared, however.
Colors were decent. The Vegas setting opened up some lively hues, and these often came across fairly well. They weren’t quite as vivid as I’d like, but I thought they were fine. Blacks were reasonably dark and tight, while shadows showed good delineation. I liked enough of the transfer to merit a “C”, but some parts of it didn’t work very well.
As for the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it was more consistent, but that wasn’t necessarily a positive. Like most comedies, this one went with a pretty restrained soundfield. During some of the wilder scenes, elements like cars and gunfire moved around the room in a decent manner, though they never became especially impressive. The surrounds offered moderate reinforcement and not much more. Even with all the opportunities for wacky adventures, the mix failed to deliver a lot of pizzazz.
At least audio quality satisfied. Speech was consistently crisp and tight, without edginess or other issues. Music fared best, as the score and songs provided nice vivacity and punch. Effects didn’t have much to do, but they seemed acceptably accurate and full. Nothing here impressed, but I thought the track deserved a “B-“.
For this two-DVD set, one big attraction stems from the inclusion of two versions of the film. Disc One includes an “Unrated Cut” of The Hangover (1:47:44), while Disc Two provides the film’s “Theatrical Edition” (1:39:38). If you want all the details about the differences, you’ll have to wait until someone super-analyzes it on the Internet. I saw Hangover theatrically but I couldn’t discern all the changes when I watched the unrated DVD.
I did notice a few, though. During the pre-party rooftop toast, Phil delivers a little proposal for a pact among the guys. Also, when the protagonists sneak the tiger out of the hotel, they interact with some other guests. At the end, Doug meets with Sid to talk about the car. None of these changes are substantial, but fans will enjoy them.
A few ads open Disc One. We get promos for Blu-ray Disc, Terminator Salvation, Four Christmases, and the Batman: Arkham Asylum videogame. No trailer for Hangover pops up anywhere here.
Not counting those previews and the unrated cut, all the set’s extras appear on Disc Two. The big attraction comes from an audio commentary with director Todd Phillips and actors Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, story areas and the flick’s tone, and the development of various gags.
I listened to two prior Phillips commentaries; he did a solo piece for Starsky and Hutch and a group track for Old School. Both were pretty darned dull.
The commentary for Hangover works better than those two, but don’t expect much from it. The four guys interact fairly well, but they never build a real head of steam, and the details on display tend to be pretty rudimentary. We do learn a moderate amount of info about Hangover, but the track never turns into anything especially memorable or entertaining.
For something interactive, we go to the Map of Destruction. This presents links to 13 of the film’s locations. When you click on them, you find various tidbits related to the spots. Some of these simply offer soundbites from the flick, but most provide short featurettes about the locations.
We find these clips for “Caesar’s Palace” (1:36), “Strip Club” (1:07), “Jail” (1:33), “Caesar’s Palace Suite” (1:12), “Best Little Wedding Chapel” (1:10), “Mike Tyson’s House” (1:44), “Hospital” (0:52), “Hard Rock Hotel and Casino” (1:02), “Desert Lot” (2:01) and “Riviera Casino” (1:53). These include remarks from Phillips, Helms, Cooper, Galifianakis, producer Dan Goldberg, production designer Bill Brzeski, property master Russell Bobbitt and actors Ken Jeong and Heather Graham. Jeong, Galifianakis and Rob Riggleman also give us notes in character.
The quality of the soundbites varies a lot. Some offer good thoughts about production design, while others just throw out dull general character tidbits. At least the pieces go by quickly, so even the less interesting ones don’t bore us for too long. Overall, these are nice additions.
Called The Dan Band, a one-minute and eight-second clip shows the band from the film’s wedding. This is a better look at the band’s performance. It doesn’t really show us anything new, but we get to see their version of “Fame” on its own. If you like the scene, give it a look.
Something similar arrives via Three Best Friends Song. It goes for one minute, 23 seconds and shows an extended version of the “impromptu” tune. Like “Dan Band”, this is fun if you like the original scene; it definitely goes considerably longer than the movie’s sequence.
We look at one of the movie’s supporting actors via The Madness of Ken Jeong. In this seven-minute, 56-second piece, we get a collection of outtakes from Jeong. His “Mr. Chow” character is one of the movie’s more amusing components, so it’s interesting to check out his improv moments.
A Gag Reel runs eight minutes, 16 seconds. I hoped this would include some good alternate lines, but that’s not the case. We find a few, but mostly it gives us the standard allotment of goofs and giggles. That makes it forgettable.
Under Action Mashup, we get a 35-second clip. This simply takes a bunch of the film’s violent moments and packages them together. I can’t say it does anything for me.
Finally, we discover More Pictures from the Missing Camera. The still gallery includes 100 shots; some of these reprise elements already found in the film. This is a nice bonus for fans who want to get a better look at the images.
Probably the biggest sleeper hit of 2009, The Hangover turned into a monster smash and the biggest-grossing “R”-rated comedy of all-time. That doesn’t make it the funniest, though. The film boasts sporadic laughs but never becomes especially amusing. The DVD provides mediocre visuals, fairly good audio, and a decent roster of supplements. Neither the movie nor the DVD stand out as memorable.