Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: Warner Bros. Pictures
Blu-ray: Warner Home Video
Runtime: 120 min
Size: 25 GB
Case: Standard Amaray Blu-ray case
Release date: November 18, 2008
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Video codec: VC-1
Dolby True HD English 5.1; Dolby Digital English, French,
Spanish & Portuguese 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish & Portuguese
• Featurette: Go Jump Off A Cliff (4:22)
• Additional Scenes with Director Commentary (8:39)
• Gag Reel (3:19)
• Digital Copy Disc
Four women of different backgrounds (and shapes, near as I
can tell) met in college in the first movie and now they are
about to head off into their separate odysseys. A single
pair of well worn jeans that all of them can fit into is
shipped from one to the other to be worn as good luck and a
reminder of their sisterhood, something that being caught up
in their various dramas can get in
the way of.
Lena (Alexis Bledel) is now in Greece where she is attending
a funeral, where she sees Kostas (Michael Rady) and learns
that he has married. Returning to the States she sleepwalks
her way into a drawing glass where she meets a handsome
model, Leo (Jesse Williams), while thoughts of Kostas dance
in her head. Bridget (Blake Lively) is still reeling from
the suicide of her mother. Her relationship with her father
is strained further when she finds a fistful of letters from
her grandmother that her father hid from her. Bridget flies
off to join an archeological dig in Turkey where the real
lives behind the skeletons she unearths demands she rethink
her family history. Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) works in a video
store while connecting with the worshipful Brian (Leonardo
Lam). After a "malfunction" she worries about the
possibility she is pregnant – either way, it stresses their
relationship to the breaking point. Carmen (America Ferrara)
finds her way to Vermont to crew for a play that another
college friend is trying out for – the stuff that jealousies
are made of.
It is only right that adolescence be a time where we begin
to experiment with independence – college being an extension
of that experiment and a place where we learn skills to
prepare us to go out into the world. That's the idea,
anyhow. Oftentimes, once our dragons are slain and
perspective is recalibrated, our going out is ultimately
followed by a return. Sometime not. The jeans are a
fascinating symbol, as they are expected to be worn and thus
make the sisterhood connection all the more viable.
The focus of the current story, taken from the series of
novels of the same name by Ann Brashares, is about turning
one's back on one's self and finding the way back –
something like Odysseus. While the resolutions may be
facile, the journeys are not. And while the four principal
actresses are up to their respective tasks, they get
considerable boosts – two or three of them anyway – by their
elders (Blythe Danner, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Rachel Ticotin).
It's not accidental that the scenes with mentors and mothers
have the most weight, since what these young women are in
most need of is reconnection to their pasts in order to move
ahead to their futures.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence
compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.
The second number places this image along the full range of
DVD and Blu-ray discs.
The image is pleasant enough – filmlike, rather than crisp.
Sharpness seems to be mostly a matter of filtration in the
original photography. I was not distracted by artifacts or
blemishes. The photography in the Grecian coastal town of
Santorini is worth the wait. Bit rates are in the high
Audio & Music:
While there isn't all that much to the surround track - we
do get the occasional discrete effect – the thunder and
lightning storm that frightens Bridget is powerful,
gripping, yet natural. The Dolby True HD mix definitely
helps the dialog along.
While not taking advantage of any motion possibilities
within the menu proper, navigation is readily understood.
The Features page is less so since it's not easy to see what
is being highlighted – a common fault for designers who try
to reinvent the wheel with every disc.
The Extra Features for the Blu-ray edition are all in HD,
which is nice, especially for both the Go Jump Off A Cliff
featurette and the Additional Scenes. Director Sanaa Hamri
tells us that these scenes were deleted only to keep the
movie to within a reasonable length, yet they do add some
substance to the goings-on. It's nice to see them in HD so
that we can better imagine them in context. The
cliff-jumping extra is a cute little diary about how that
episode came to be. Lots of girl-bonding, and the scenery
can't be beat. There's no commentary, but Warner did supply
a Digital Copy Disc for portability.
Growing up as a post-graduate is the theme here – that, and
the sisterhood of four friends now separated across the
globe. Even though there is a journey in common, each story
is almost necessarily thinned out, especially their
resolutions. At one point Brian tells Tibby, unknowingly
quoting Mariel Hemingway in Manhattan: "You need to have a
little faith. Not everyone you love is going to leave you."
(Woody wrote for a 30+ audience: "Not everyone gets
corrupted.") The movie is well-meaning, right thinking and,
while thin, the target audience should love it. The
difference in list price is small, thus arguing for the
Blu-ray, especially with a clearer dialogue track and extra
features in HD.
November 15th, 2008