The Hangover appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the flick looked great.
Sharpness was excellent. From start to finish, the flick presented crisp, concise images without any issues connected to softness. Jagged edges and shimmering didn’t occur, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to present any problems, as the movie offered a clean image.
Colors were solid. The Vegas setting opened up some lively hues, and these came across well. The movie actually favored a somewhat subdued palette, but the circumstances ensured that the tones would be vivid. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed good delineation. Nothing problematic emerged in this terrific transfer.
As for the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, it was consistently fine but not great. 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-“.
How did the picture and sound of this Blu-ray compare to the film’s DVD version? The audio was essentially a wash. The movie didn’t enjoy a dynamic soundtrack, so I didn’t think the lossless mix worked significantly better.
On the other hand, the Blu-ray’s visuals definitely exceeded those of the DVD. The latter had problems with sharpness, artifacts and general murkiness, but all those issues went goodbye with the Blu-ray. It provided significant visual improvements.
The Blu-ray includes essentially the same supplements as the DVD. One big attraction stems from the inclusion of two versions of the film. The set includes both an “Unrated Cut” of The Hangover (1:47:44) and 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 edition.
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.
Not counting those previews and the unrated cut, all the set’s extras appear on Disc Two. The big attraction comes from a video 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.
Note that the video commentary offers the only notable change in supplements between the DVD and the Blu-ray. However, both provide the same content. The two give us identical remarks; the Blu-ray simply allows you to watch the participants while they speak. I don’t think this adds much to the proceedings, but it’s nice to have the option.
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.
The disc opens with some ads. We get promos for Blu-ray Disc, digital copies, Terminator Salvation, Four Christmases and Sherlock Holmes. No trailer for The Hangover appears here.
A separate disc provides a Digital Copy of The Hangover. This lets you transfer the movie to your computer or portable viewing device. Good for you!
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 Blu-ray provides excellent visuals, reasonably good audio, and an average collection of supplements. It’s a bit disappointing that such a successful movie doesn’t include a more dynamic roster of extras, but at least the Blu-ray delivers this mediocre movie in a satisfying manner.
To rate this film, visit the Unrated Special Edition of THE HANGOVER