Wet Hot American Summer appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a decent but somewhat erratic transfer.
Sharpness was mostly good. A smattering of wide shots could be a little off, but the majority of the flick looked accurate and well-defined. I saw no issues with shimmering or jaggies, but light edge haloes appeared.
Occasional specks popped up, and I wondered if these were intentional to fit the period feel. However, they occurred so sporadically that this didn’t make sense; if the filmmakers wanted “intentional flaws”, I would’ve expected them to be more prominent. As it stood, the specks created a mild distraction.
Colors tended toward a warm feel that fit the period’s releases. The hues were fill and rich. Blacks seemed full and dark, while low-light shots generally seemed concise; a few looked a bit dense but usually these scenes worked fine. This ended up as a generally positive presentation.
Don’t expect much from the film’s DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack, as it tended toward a restricted feel. Music showed gentle stereo spread, and effects blossomed to the sides in a minor manner. However, none of this added much to the experience, so the mix remained uninspiring.
Audio quality was mostly fine. Dialogue occasionally sounded a little rough, but the lines were intelligible and mostly natural. Music showed fairly nice breadth, and effects appeared accurate enough. Those elements had little to do but they suited the story. I felt the soundtrack remained mediocre.
We find a bunch of extras here, and these start with an audio commentary from director/co-writer David Wain, co-writer Michael Showalter and actor Janeane Garofalo. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, locations and shooting conditions, music, period details, cast and performances, editing and deleted scenes, and connected subjects.
At the start, I feared that the commentary would be little more than a glib joke-fest, and some of that occurs. However, mostly due to the efforts of Wain, we usually get a good look at the film’s creation. At times, the participants do little more than list the name of actors, but usually we find a pretty informative view of the production.
Another alternate audio element, we can watch the movie via a Soundtrack with Extra Farts. As implied, this adds the occasional toot for extra impact. If that sounds fun to you, go for it.
For a new look at the film, we go to 10th Anniversary Event Highlights. This piece lasts 31 minutes, 33 seconds and provides a stage performance with Wain, Showalter, and Michael Ian Black. They also bring in guest spots from actors Marguerite Moreau, Janeane Garofalo (in character), Nina Hellman (in character), Zak Orth (in character), Jake Fogelnest (in character), AD Miles, Gideon Jacobs (in character), Gabriel Millman (in character), Judah Friedlander (in character), Joe Lo Truglio (in character), Ken Marino (in character), Paul Rudd, and Ashlee Rose Gaughan (in character).
The “Event” opts for a heavily comedic flavor – or it attempts humor, at least. I found little amusement here, but I suspect fans of the movie will enjoy it.
With Live at SF Sketchfest, we locate a 44-minute, 17-second reading of the script. It mainly features actors from the film but some substitutes appear; for instance, we get David Cross as Henry and Busy Philipps as Beth. Something like this might be fun in person, but on TV, it seems boring, to be honest. Why watch actors read the script on a stage when we can view the actual movie instead?
27 Deleted Scenes run a total of 12 minutes, nine seconds. As implied by the length of the collection, we don’t get much here. We find a minor thread in which the Goth Girl stresses her vegan nature, and the longest scene comes from a couple whose motorbike gets stolen. Occasional minor amusement results, but these snippets are so brief that they lack much impact.
We can watch the scenes with or without commentary from David Wain and Michael Showalter. They tell us a little about the excised sequences, but the clips fly by so quickly that there’s not much they can contribute.
Under Cast Comments. we get a compilation of interviews that fills a total of eight minutes, two seconds. Shot during the film’s production, we hear from Wain, Garofalo, Moreau, Showalter, Rudd, and actors David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, and Christopher Meloni. They offer general character/story notes, and they don’t tell us much beyond basics.
Behind the Scenes goes for 15 minutes, 38 seconds and takes us to the set. This provides a montage of footage from the shoot, and most of it falls into the banal category. If you want to hear some nerdy little kid talk about who he wants to “French”, though, it’s awesome. Normally I like this kind of raw material, but the compilation falls flat. We do get a mildly fun look at the counselors 10 years later at the end, though.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find Songs with Production Stills. With a total running time of 11 minutes, nine seconds, we hear four tunes and check out the expected collection of photos from the shoot. These aren’t especially good quality and they don’t provide much of interest.
Apparently Wet Hot American Summer enjoys a good cult following, but I can’t figure out why. Despite the involvement of a lot of talent, the film seems flat, uninspired and devoid of laughs. The Blu-ray brings us decent picture, mediocre audio and an erratic selection of bonus materials. Chalk up Summer as a dull disappointment