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Click above to purchase "American Pie 2 Collector's Edition (Widescreen, Unrated)" from DVDEmpire.com

 

American Pie 2
Collector's Edition
(Widescreen, Unrated)

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 111 minutes

Starring: Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mean Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eugene Levy

Screenplay by: Adam Herz
Story by: David H. Steinberg and Adam Herz

Directed by: J.B. Rogers

 

Studio: Universal

Retail Price: $26.98

Features: Audio Commentary with Director J.B. Rogers, Audio Commentary with Writer Adam Herz, Audio Commentary with Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari and Thomas Ian Nicholas, Audio Commentary with Eddie Kaye Thomas, The Baking Of American Pie 2, Good Times with Cast and Crew, Outtakes, Original Casting Tapes, 3 Doors Down "Be Like That" Music Video, Your Favorite Piece Of Pie, Classic Quotes, Production Notes, Cast and Filmmakers, Theatrical Trailer with Jason Biggs Intro, Universal Showcase, American Pie 2 Special Offers. DVD-ROM: Weblinks, Newsletter

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Scenes (20 Scenes)

Released: January 15th, 2002

 

 

Oh ho ho ho... "American Pie 2." The only movie to stay number one at the box office for more than one week during the summer of 2001 (besides "Pearl Harbor"), a sequel to the teen comedy hit seemed like something that could not be denied. Not only was the original a big and surprise sleeper during the summer of 1999, the sequel went on to become one of summer of 2001's biggest hits. I did enjoy the original, but like many, I wondered where they could go from there. I mean, the point of the first was all the guys to get laid, growing up, facing the real world, etc. but it was mostly about the sex. I believe it was Jason Biggs who always thought that the original should just be one movie, but a sequel was written and the whole original cast reunited for the next adventure. I wasn't sure how it would be or compare to the first, but I must say, it's a great continuation of the story, is funny and works quite nicely.

The sequel starts with the end of college for the guys: Jim, Oz, Kevin, Finch and Stifler. They decide to reunite for the summer by renting a place while coming to terms with their lives currently. Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), the foreign exchange student from the original, plans to visit Jim (Jason Biggs), so he wants to brush up on his sexual prowess. So this one time, at band camp, Jim visits Michele (Alyson Hannigan) for some "practice" and to get some skills. Oz (Chris Klein) is missing Heather (Mena Suvari) who's away, while Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is still nursing his "love" for Stifler's Mom. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is also still wondering about the past, namely Vicky (Tara Reid). And Stifler (Seann William Scott)... is still an ass.

The film, of course, has a lot of sex related laughs, but there are some slapstick moments and genuine funny dialogue parts. Still, what I really like about is the continuation of the story. I was wondering if it would fall flat on its face, but I was really surprised and glad how well it worked. Sure, it's not quite like the original as far as setting and how characters have to deal with the events of the past, but it does work while retaining the theme of sex. The film adds some more depth to the characters, but I guess how it ruins the first film is the simple fact that it's a continuation. I'm sure some will mind, because at the end of this film (which is pretty predictable) it actually ruins what the whole ending of the first was, naturally. I didn't mind, but I felt the ending to the first was somewhat poignant since the characters had to face moving on. Adam Herz, who wrote the original, delivers a sharp script and finely-tuned dialogue. Again, it's a fine sequel.

J.B. Rogers, who was an assistant director on the first and directed Say It Isn't So! directs the sequel. As you can see in my review of "Say It Isn't So!", I wasn't a big fan of that film, so I wondered how "American Pie 2" would turn out. Though they are both comedies, the two are like night and day to me. Rogers' direction here keeps the flow naturally and has a nice, smoothness to it. It's not murky, messy or uneven. It goes really nicely.

The ensemble, as in the first film, is great. They know their characters, who they are and play them as they face the year after college and the changes with it. Jason Biggs has some great comedic timing. My problem with the film, if any, is how Herz's script is a bit uneven. A good deal of the film focuses on Jim, and the guys' problems are more subplot stuff. But when you think about it, there is a lack of most of the ladies. I would have liked some more conflict between Kevin and Vicky, some more scenes between Oz and Heather and a lot more of Jessica (Natasha Lyonne). Still, this is a sequel that's fun and really enjoyable. It does succeed and lives up to the original. Entertaining fun for all. And the unrated version has a few more pieces sprinkled here and there that are quite enjoyable, which fans will certainly like.

 

 

"American Pie 2" is being presented in four different versions. Rated and unrated, and from there, widescreen and full screen. Take your picks. In anycase, the anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1 aspect ratio) on the unrated version is amazing. I barely given reference quality rating, and I've gone on before how Universal has been delivering impressive transfers this year, and perhaps, this is the most impressive. Well, this is coming out in 2002 and I'm reviewing this in 2001... so it's a great start to the year. There is some slight grain and I noticed a little noise in a scene, but other than that, it's perfection. Detail and black levels are solid, while color saturation is very good. Fleshtones and colors are really good as well that fit it all well. No blemishes, scratches and pieces of dirt either. The image is pretty sharp too. Incredible job here. No real complaints.

 

The film is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS tracks in English, and for a comedy, they're quite strong. Surrounds and strong dynamics come in form of music mostly, plus some slap stick comedy here and there. But you feel the presence of the tracks, which is a good thing. There is a good mix to the music that keeps things rocking, with pretty good .1 LFE extension. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear, nothing interferes with it. There are balances to the mixes. Fidelity is high and dynamic range is pretty good. As far as which is track is better... I really can't say. They're that close and neck and neck. So, which ever one you choose, you're treated to a fine listening experience. Also included are French and English subtitles.

 

Universal's collector's editions, to me, have been a bit light usually. But I feel that "American Pie 2" lives up to the banner, and may actually be ultimate edition worthy that is sure to please fans of the film. What I was shocked to find was four (!) audio commentaries. It's been a bit since I've seen so many on a disc, but all of these are rather strong and each one brings a good and different perspective to the film.

Our first is an Audio Commentary with Director J.B. Rogers. Despite some small gaps here and there, Rogers really does a solid job here and offers a lot about the film. He has a lot of praise for the cast and crew, and even talks about his own experiences in sex that inspired the first scene of the film. Rogers emphasizes a lot on returning characters, and how extras got some lucky breaks. Rogers also talks a bit about compromising shots, combining footage that takes place in some scenes whereas some parts of the scene were in different places and a lot of general, nice stuff on making the movie (not overdoing the pies for example). He also points the new "unrated" scenes. A fine track for sure (and a note to Rogers: "Timmy The Tooth" was released on home video years ago).

Next up we get a writer's perspective in the Audio Commentary with Writer Adam Herz. Herz is softt-spoken and seems to be a bit nervous and shy, but despite some pauses (that got a bit annoying), he delivers a good track here. He keeps things going which is always good. Herz talks about his own inspirations that inspired the movie and also offers a lot of praise to the cast. He talks about the first movie a bit and creating a sequel, as well as defending some controversies from the first and second film. Herz talks about the challenges he faced crafting the story, stuff he had to trim down and the like. Nicely done.

For the third time around, we have an Audio Commentary with Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari and Thomas Ian Nicholas. This is a fun lookback at making the film. The cast appear to be friends. They share a few laughs, tell some production stories that are fun, point out favorite moments and aren't always screen specific. Like the first two, they also have their fair share of pauses. I really wished there was a bit more to this track, stuff as far playing the characters and playing them in a sequel. Fun, but a bit disappointing.

Finally, we have a commentary with a sole cast member, that being with Eddie Kaye Thomas. Yes, he has some gaps here and there, but he should have been with the other three, because he does bring a good perspective here, and if with them maybe he could have gotten them to contribute some more (but who knows if there were scheduling conflicts and whatnot). Thomas shares a lot of interesting production stories, even stuff he's not involved in he knows about. He mentions his earthquake paranoia, talks about what he liked about the movie and offers some funny stuff actually. This is nice, but again, the gaps... I was wondering if both actor commentaries could have been edited to make one. Ah well, they're both here.

The Baking of American Pie 2 is a bit promotional, but decent enough. Film clips and a lot of behind the scenes footage is here, plus a load of interviews from on the set. Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy, J.B. Rogers, producer Chris Moore, Adam Herz and more. They talk about making the sequel, the themes of the sequel and so on. It's a bit fluffy, but nice. It lasts twenty-four minutes.

There are some funny Outtakes set to some music (lasting about five and a half minutes), while Good Times with Cast and Crew is a five minute, seventeen second behind the scenes of montage also set to music. We also have Original Casting Tapes from the first film, which are fun to watch. Enjoy auditions from Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Eddie Kaye Thomas (too bad the menu for the tapes state these tapes are from the sequel when they are NOT). The full frame footage is a bit rough though.

We have a series of seven non-anamorphic Deleted Scenes totaling a little more than ten minutes. These are fun, but not needed. While I liked some, they do sorta erupt the film's flow. There's also the 3 Doors Down "Be Like That" Music Video for you to enjoy.

Your Favorite Piece Of Pie was a contest done on the internet via MSN and Universal, where fans voted for their top ten favorite scenes from the films. There actually is an even mix as five are from the original and five are from the sequel. So what was the top first one? I won't say... but it is from the sequel (and has an intro). The scenes are in anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital from the sequel, while the original they're in non-anamorphic widescreen and 2.0 Dolby sound (I kinda figured that'd happen for some reason). Enjoy!

Classic Quotes basically has you picking a quote from the film, and then seeing a clip from the film of that. Music Highlights is a scene selection for the songs featured in the movie, so you can jump right to one of your thirty favorite tunes. Rounding the disc out are some Production Notes (also in the keep case insert), Cast and Filmmakers bios and the Theatrical Trailer with a fun intro from Jason Biggs. The trailer is in non-anamorphic widescreen. On the DVD-ROM side, we have the usual Universal DVD newsletter and materials. Oh yeah, there's some promotional stuff within American Pie 2 Special Offers and in the Universal Showcase, we have The Bourne Identity in non-anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1.

Oh yeah, there's a fun easter egg around... try not to get hit though!

 

 

"American Pie 2" is a strong sequel, while this disc brims with quality. An awesome presentation with really good supplements that are plentiful, this deserves a spot on your shelf if you're an "American Pie" fan. If you haven't seen the sequel, it's still worth picking up. Make sure to get the version you want... widescreen? full screen? rated? unrated? It's all up to you, so enjoy.