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ADVENTURELAND ($45) is more of a comic coming of age drama, than the out and out comedy one is be lead to believe it is from advertising materials. That said; ADVENTURELAND is also a far superior film than its advertising materials might lead one to believe. Set in the summer of 1987, ADVENTURELAND tells the story of James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) is a new college graduate with a degree in comparative literature and plans to tour Europe before continuing his post grad education at Columbia University. Of course, just as James begins packing his bags to go abroad, his parents announce the bad news that his father has been has been forced to take a job with a significantly lower salary- therefore, they can no longer afford his trip to EuropeÖ and if James wants to continue his education he will need to get a summer job.

Since summer jobs for comparative literature majors are non-existent, James is force to accept a job as a "carny" at a crumbling Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania amusement park called Adventureland. While the job is mind numbing, it does have the virtue of not requiring too much effort from JamesÖ or the odd assemblage of teens and young adults also employed at the park for the summer season. While working at the park James makes a number of new friends that include the somewhat geeky Joel (Martin Starr), the parkís flirtatious but married, repair man Mike Connell (Ryan Reynolds) and Em Lewin (Kristen Stewart), to whom he is instantly attracted. Eventually, James and Em begin seeing one another, but they encounter a number of bumps in he road, ones that seem destined to derail their new relationship. The cast of ADVENTURELAND also features Matt Bush, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Margarita Levieva, Mark Miller, Mary Birdsong, Dan Bittner, Paige Howard, Jack Gilpin and Wendie Malick.

Miramax Home Entertainment has made ADVENTURELAND available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. I found the 1080p presentation to be very film like, as well as completely meeting my expectations for how a smaller, independent feature should look in high definition. The image is crisp and nicely defined, in addition to demonstrating good levels of texturing and fine detail. Colors take on a slightly nostalgic glow, but are otherwise fairly attractive and come across in a nicely saturated manner. Blacks appear accurate, as do the whites. Contrast is just fine, and while the level of shadow detail isnít exemplary, it doesnít detract from the presentation either. The elements from which ADVENTURELAND has been mastered donít demonstrate any significant flaws. Grain is always present and sometimes quite abundant, and I applaud the restraint taken to not process it all away.

ADVENTURELAND is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. As the material doesnít lend itself to overwrought sound, one should be unsurprised by this is a fairly typical talky comedy mix that keep things pretty much front and center. As expected, ambience and fill are the primary components fed to surround channels, while the music is given a nice spread across the front. Fidelity is just fine; with the lossless encode enhancing the vintage eighties music. The bass channel keeps things grounded. Dialogue is crisp and always easy to understand. A French 5.1 Dolby Digital channel track is also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the discís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with writer/director Greg Mottola and actor Jesse Eisenberg. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Just My Life (seventeen minutes), Welcome To Adventureland (five minutes), Frigo's Ball Taps (three minutes) and Lisa P's Guide To Style (two minutes). Two minutes of Deleted Scenes and a Song Selection feature closeout the standard extras. A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

Donít let the advertising materials fool you; ADVENTURELAND is a truly nice little surprise that delivers a whole lot more than what one might be expecting. The Blu-ray presentation is very film like, which makes it a winner in my book. Recommended.


Adventureland [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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