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17 AGAIN on iTunes



I have to give credit to actor Zac Efron; his performance in 17 AGAIN ($36) certainly gives some emotional weight to a film, which by every right, should be considered exceedingly lightweight material. 17 AGAIN is the kind of movie we have seen countless times before; there isnít a twist or turn in the story that isnít unexpected, and we know right from the beginning, exactly where it is all going to lead. Still, 17 AGAIN is an enjoyable and funny charmer that succeeds, in spite of all of the familiarity, thanks to a charismatic young star, who makes you believe in his character having wisdom beyond his years. As 17 AGAIN opens, it is 1989 and Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) is a star basketball player on the verge of getting a sportís scholarship to the university of .his dreams. At the big game, Mikeís girlfriend drops the bombshell that she is pregnant. In an instant, Mike makes the decision to walk away from his basketball dreams and marry the girl of his dreams.

Flash forward twenty years; thirty-seven-year-old Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry) is facing the usual midlife crisis- he quits his job after being passed over for promotion, his teenage children would prefer if he were invisible, and his wife Scarlet (Leslie Mann) is divorcing him after twenty years of listening to him whine about the road not taken. Reminiscing about his glory days, Mike returns to his old high school and converses with an oddball janitor (Brian Doyle-Murray) to whom he wishes he had his life to live over again. Shockingly, Mike finds his wish granted and looks in the mirror to see the face of his seventeen-year-old self- staring back at him. With the help of his geeky, but rich, lifelong best friend Ned Gold (Thomas Lennon), Mike takes a second stab at things, enrolling in high school and trying out for the basketball team. However, Mike soon discovers that his second chance at being seventeen, places him in a better position to help his children figure out their own lives, and also to allow him to see that the life he had was a rich and rewarding one. The cast of 17 AGAIN also includes Melora Hardin, Sterling Knight, Michelle Trachtenberg, Hunter Parrish, Tyler Steelman and Allison Miller.

New Line Home Entertainment has made 17 AGAIN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. This is a pretty sweet 1080p presentation that renders attractive looking visuals. The image appears quite sharp and produces a terrific sense of depth. Additionally, fine detail and texturing are quite good. Colors are generally warm, vibrant and reproduced without flaws and very pleasing flesh tones. Blacks are suitably inky and the whites appear stable. Contrast is very smooth, and the level of shadow detail is good, even though the material doesnít make excessive demands in this area. The elements from which 17 AGAIN are transferred appear virtually pristine. A modest grain is noticeable throughout, which gives the presentation a nice organic quality.

17 AGAIN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Coming as a slight surprise, 17 AGAIN features a better than expected comedy mix, with the outlying channels engaging nicely during a few key sequences. Of course, much of the time, 17 AGAIN reverts to the standard sound design of a dialogue driven comedy, with much of the sound being localized to the forward soundstage. However, the talky passages do feature the requisite amount of ambient sounds and musical fill being fed to the outlying channels. Fidelity is quite strong where the music is concerned, but key sound effects are also convincingly rendered. A fully weighted bass channel also helps pump up the sound. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable. An English Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track has also been provided. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. First up, is a Way Cool Tell-All Trivia Track (actual coolness may vary), which offers pop up tidbits of info. Featurettes include: Zac Goes Back (thirteen minutes), Going Back To 17 (three minutes) and Zac's Dance Flashback (two minutes). Additional Scenes and Breakin' Character Outtakes close the standard extras. 17 AGAIN is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). A DVD copy and Digital Copy of the film are also provided, with both being housed on the second disc of this set.

17 AGAIN is a lightweight comedy that is bolstered by capable performances, especially that of young leading man Zac Efron. The Blu-ray presentation is also quite capable. If you are interested in 17 AGAIN, the Blu-ray is definitely the way to go.



17 Again (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 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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