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October 2, 2012
American Pie: Reunion Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
5/4/201222/8/2012Universal SonyJon Hurwitz
Hayden Schlossberg
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Jason Biggs

THE MOVIE
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Jason Biggs is back as Jim in American Reunion.

Jim, Stifler, Finch, Oz, Kevin. If you know that group of names then you're probably a fan of the American Pie films, and you'll be glad to hear that American Pie: Reunion sees the original cast back, as well pretty much all the secondary characters as well. With a gap of almost a decade since the previous film (excluding the direct-to-DVD releases which had none of the principal cast except Eugine Levy as Jim's dad), the question remained. Would filmgoers want to return to East Great Falls High for a reunion?

East Great Falls High is having a thirteen year reunion and that sees everyone coming back together for the party. But times have changes, Jim and Michelle are married with a child and their sex lives are on the decline, Stifler is apparently doing well in a large corporation, Finch has been travelling the world and experiencing all it has to offer, Oz hosts a sports show and has the perfect wife and house while Kevin is living the perfect married couple dream. But having them all get back together brings out some truths, and trouble...

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Despite the passing of time, the boys have one focus!
Written and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (who also create the Harold & Kumar films), there is no doubt that these filmmakers know the subject matter, the characters and the American Pie series. Not only do the characters have their own reunion, but it's a rekindling of the characters we know and have loved many years ago. The reunion storyline isn't anything out of the ordinary but the way the characters are introduced, and the way in which he reflects on the passing of time is decent enough. Funnily enough it's the foul-mouthed Stifler (Seann William Scott) that provide much of the heart in this film, and reflection on opportunities lost and dreams unfulfilled.

Despite my love for this film, there are certainly some aspects which could have been better. Jim's premature ejaculation scene from the first film has been plastered on Youtube - we're pretty sure "Red Tube" may be more appropriate. The film also lacked some "crudeness" which is surprising given the writers and directors created the very inappropriate and crude Harold and Kumar franchise, and that there were more shocks in the first two films - sure you do see a male body part and boobs in one scene in particular - but there's nothing like the aforementioned "ejaculation" scene or the lesbians from the second film. Also disappointing is the fact that while all the main actors have pretty decent parts other secondary characters such as Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), Jessica (Natasha Lyonne), Sherman (Chris Owen) are barely given a minute of screen time each - if that. Given that Natasha Lyonne is featured on the films poster and Blu-Ray/DVD cover, it's disappointing.

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Jim and his dad have another awkward conversation.
This Blu-Ray release includes the original Theatrical version of the film which runs for 113 minutes, and the Unrated version which adds less than a minute of extra footage although there are some alternate, more explicit shots.

Just like the characters in American Pie: Reunion, it doesn't take long to reignite your love for these characters. While this film may lack some of the extreme situations of previous films, it's nice to see what the characters are up to a decade on, be it for better or worse. If you're a fan of this franchise then this latest outing is well worth watching, newcomers may want to start with the originals though.

VIDEO
American Pie: Reunion is presented on Blu-Ray in the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. The Blu-Ray format shows plenty of fine detail however this isn't what one would call a "reference quality" transfer and in fact it is quite disappointing in parts. Be it due to the "budget" nature of the filming, or perhaps the encoding there are issues with contrast and black levels.

Of particular note is the scene at 40:40 when Jim and Kara are in the car together and the black levels, are all over the place, and in particular when Kara is reaching into the back (and yes, you get an extremely risqué shot of her rear end) to get the drink at 40:58 to 41:03. Looking at the video bitrate in this sequence it often hovers around the 17Mbps mark which may offer some insight into the issue, but it's more likely a source material issue (we just don't recall it like this in cinemas). There are other moments throughout the film too. Don't get me wrong, the Blu-Ray far exceeds DVD quality, and should be the format of choice.

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Mixing drinks on an ice sculpture of... well...
AUDIO
Universal have delivered this film on Blu-Ray with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track which is indeed a major step up from the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio on the DVD release. Naturally being a comedy the focus on this audio is dialogue which is crystal clear at all times while the surround sound channels get a bit of a workout and the sub-woofer will kick in at times, primarily with the music. Unfortunately this isn't an overly exciting sound mix and at times the audio feels a little flat and just needed that additional kick. Still, the audio on this disc is certainly superior to the lossy DVD release.

Other audio tracks on the disc include Spanish and French DTS 5.1 tracks encoded at 768kbps. The Theatrical version of the film also has a DVS track (Descriptive Video Service) which is encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192kbps. Subtitles are provided in English SDH, Spanish and French. The English subtitles are placed on the screen near the actor talking which makes it easier to follow conversations, while the text is accurate to the dialogue.

EXTRAS
The Blu-Ray for American Pie: Reunion comes pretty loaded with extras many of which are well worth checking out. So let's get to it...

Deleted Scenes (7:51/HD): Here we have seven deleted scenes including "Jim Comes Home Drunk", "Heather and Mia", "Oz Asks Heather Out", "Stifler Preps for Party", "Finch and Jess", "Vicky's New Guy" and "Finch and Selena in Bathroom Stall". There's some pretty good stuff here, but also a few lameish ones and it's clear to see why they got the chop. Still they are worth checking out.

Deleted Scenes (26:25/HD): Next up are 13 extended scenes from the film. Some of the extensions are pretty minor, but there are a few decent ones which could have been included in the film - or at least the unrated one.

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Everyone is back in American Pie: Reunion.
Alternate Takes (3:53/HD): Alternate takes of scenes, but including Jason having problems with the "placement", Jim's dad meeting MILF guy and plenty more.

Gag Reel (3:42/HD): Of course there had to be a gag reel, and being a comedy film full there are some pretty funny moments.

The "Out of Control" Track (HD): This is a Picture-in- Picture commentary track where the actors in the film pop up at various points with different bits of information about characters and scenes, or just mucking around. It's a little sparce and lacking in details, but OK to put on for another casual movie viewing.

The "Reunion" Reunion: Re-Launching the Series (10:32/HD): This is the "Making of" featurette for the film. It's certainly promotional and shows key plot points from the film, but with many of the main cast and crew interviewed, and some behind the scenes footage, it's worth a look.

The Best of Biggs: Hanging with Jason B. (3:37/HD): A fluff piece with everyone sprouting their love for Jason Biggs.

Lake Bake (4:31/HD): This featurette looks at filming on the lake in the searing heat.

Dancing With The Oz (2:50/HD): Chris Klein's character Oz has a dance sequence in the film, and this featurette looks at preparing for that sequence.

American Gonad-iators: The Fight Scene (4:13/HD): This section focuses on the fight sequence at the Stifler Party.

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Stifler and Jim's Dad having shots!
Jims Dad (2:47/HD): One of the most loved characters in the franchise, and the only to have appeared in all 8 movies (includes the direct-to-DVD releases), this focuses on Jim's dad.

Ouch! My Balls! (1:47/HD): Yes, the actors, and not just the guys, spent a lot of time punching each other in the balls.

American Reunion Yearbook (HD): This interactive Yearbook is pretty cool and includes trivia, photos and video clips (from all the movies in the series) for each of the main characters. It's not only the class of 1999, but also other characters including Jim's Dad and Stifler's Mum.

Feature Commentary with Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg: This Audio Commentary with the writers and directors of the film have a tonne of information about the films production, and storyline elements. It's a great listen and one of the better audio commentaries we've heard in a while.

OVERALL
The American Pie franchise is one of the favourite comedies in recent times and this fourth theatrical outing is a blast with the return of the entire primary cast. The reunion storyline is good and while the film lacks some of the memorable moments from the earlier films, there's enough here to entertain. This is a Blu-Ray fans if the franchise should pick up.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
8/10
THE VIDEO
7/10
THE AUDIO
8/10
THE EXTRAS
6/10
OVERALL
7.5/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Sony Universal. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.