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HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY ($35) is the stoner comedy sequel that serves up a second helping of lowbrow misadventures. Sure, this second helping isnít as fresh or as funny as the first film, but it does offer a number of amusing moments. Picking up immediately after we left our heroes at the end of HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE, the duo decide to head off to Amsterdam, where they hope to catch up with Haroldís new girlfriend, as well as indulge in their favorite recreational herb. Unable to make the transatlantic flight without a smoke break, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are mistaken for terrorists, thanks Kumarís smokeless bong.

Quicker than you can say petty bureaucrat, the boys find themselves hauled off to Guantanamo BayÖ and even quicker, the two are able to make their escape. Coming ashore in Florida, the boys need to evade the authorities, while making their way to Texas, where they hope an old friend with political connections, will help them clear their names. For Harold and Kumar, the road to Texas proves to be fraught with as many problems, as was their short trek to White Castle through the wilds of New Jersey. Of course, along the way, the boys have another memorable encounter with a slightly deranged Neil Patrick Harris. The cast of HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY also includes Rob Corddry, Jack Conley, Roger Bart, Danneel Harris, Eric Winter, Paula Garcťs, Jon Reep, Missi Pyle, Mark Munoz, James Adomian, Beverly D'Angelo, Echo Valley, David Krumholtz, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Christopher Meloni.

New Line Home Entertainment has made HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is really quite nice and stands as a visual improvement over the first film. HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY appears a bit more film-like than the original movie; with the video lacking the homogenized, slightly over-processed look of HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE. Image sharpness and detail are quite good for a modestly budgeted comedy, but this isnít ever going to be considered demo material for the hi-def format. Colors are strongly rendered, with good saturation and pretty appealing flesh tones. The blacks and whites are just fine. Contrast and shadow detail are all they need to be for this type of non-demanding material. The elements from which HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY has been mastered are free from defects. There is some grain evident in the image, but is generally minimal.

HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Like the first film, having the sound mastered in a lossless format (with extra channels), doesnít negate the fact that this remains a fairly standard comedy mix. The outlying channels engage here and there for active effects, but for the most part, the material doesnít require much beyond good dialogue and music reproduction. Sound is generally localized to the forward soundstage; with the rear channels supplying the requisite complement of ambient sound and musical fill. Thanks to the lossless encoding, the musical component has very strong fidelity. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. No other language tracks have been included on the disc, but English and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the discís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a nice complement of supplements. The most interesting special feature included here is called Dude, Change The Movie, which allows the viewer to choose the course of Harold and Kumarís adventure at key intervals by deciding what the main characters should do next. Some very cool choices allow one to create an entirely different movie experience.

In the form of more standard supplements, one will find two separate running Audio Commentaries- the first is with writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and actors Kal Penn and John Cho, while the second features writers/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, actor James Adomian and "the real" Harold Lee. Inside The World Of Harold And Kumar is a twenty-one minute interview based Featurette. A promo clip entitled Bush PSA, Deleted Scenes, a Theatrical Trailer and a Red Band Theatrical Trailer close out the supplements.

If stoner comedies are your thing, you should get a kick out of HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY. New Lineís Blu-ray release looks really nice, even if this isnít the type of material that shows off the virtues of high definition.



Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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