DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Paul, Blu-ray + DVD (2010/11)
Published on August 4, 2011
Paul, Blu-ray + DVD (2011/2011)
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Sigourney Weaver
Director: Gregg Mottola
Studio: Universal Pictures 61118963 [8/9/11]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DVS DD 2.0, French or Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Extras: Choice of Theatrical or Unrated Versions, Commentary track, “Between the Lightning Strikes: The Making of Paul,” Behind-the-Scenes featurettes, Bloopers, “The Evolution of Paul,” Simon’s Silly Faces, Who the Hell is Adam Shadowshild?, Galleries, BD Live, Pocket BLU, Digital Copy available online for download with special code, more
Length: Theatrical – 1 hr. 44 mins.; Unrated – 1 hr. 50 mins.
What a kick! Even if you’re not into sci-fi or the hilarious British comedy duo of Pegg and Frost, you’ll probably still be rolling on the floor with some of the bits in this wild and wooly (but still endearing) parody of sci-fi nerds that’s somewhat like 1999’s Galaxy Quest but much funnier. The few crude modern comedies I’ve seen which appeal to younger generations leave me cold, and I walked out of Pegg’s Shaun of the Dead, but Paul is a masterpiece take on the ultimate sci-fi-themed road trip. (Their route includes Area 51, Roswell, NM, and “The Black Mailbox” – which, amazingly, isn’t black.)
Seth Rogen as the voice of the mostly-cgi alien Paul is absolutely spot on, and the vulgarities seem to fit right in for him. Also coming out of the mouth of the wonderful Kirsten Wiig, playing a repressed Christian fundamentalist who is “freed” by Paul. (Her T-shirt shows Jesus shooting Darwin.) She decides she can now use any swear words she wants to without shame, but she hasn’t yet learned the appropriate ones or even the quantity to use. I’ve never enjoyed swearing so much! I assume there’s a bit more of it in the Unrated version than the Theatrical.
The Making of… extra reveals that Pegg and Frost just wanted to see more of the U.S. with someone else paying for it. They got a big honking RV and toured the Far West for some time. As a result of their road trip, they were able to write the script for Paul, and it’s a douzey – with references not only to the various strange people they ran into, but also to many of the top sci-fi movies of the past. There’s even a scene were the feds keep Paul in a warehouse with a desk and intercom, and he is providing Steven Spielberg various ideas for his movies.
The film starts out at the San Diego ComicCon. Then on their sci-fi tour in their RV, the pair are passed by a car which spins out of control and crashes. From it comes little ET-looking Paul the alien, who has escaped from the feds because now that they have secured a lot of ideas from him they want to remove his brain. (He couldn’t reach the pedals.) He smokes, swears, loves Reese’s Pieces and eats live birds after resurrecting them, and he desperately needs the help of the two Brits to get somewhere he can’t reveal to them. They at first have a hard time accepting that their dreamt-of meeting with a real alien is not exactly what they had expected. The plot soon falls into the expected chase sequence, but with plenty of twists and turns in it.
Not only are the feds after them, but also some country tough guys whose truck they backed their RV into, plus the irate father of the fundamentalist girl. One of my favorite scenes is their visit to a biker bar, where the country band onstage is playing the alien bar music from Star Wars! The ending reverts to an ET tribute, and finally brings up the feds “Mr. Big” — parts of whose body we have seen previously, but not the face. It is an amazingly appropriate actor choice.
I think any broadminded viewer will dig this hilarious close encounter with Pegg, Nick and Rogen.
– John Sunier