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National Lampoon's Van Wilder

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • 4K Van Wilder improves visuals/audio but lacks new extras; for fans, worth it despite its flaws.

    National Lampoon's Van Wilder 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • 4K UHD release of Van Wilder offers marked improvements in clarity, color, and grain texture over the 1080p version, despite minor issues with black levels and occasional technical glitches.

  • Audio
  • Van Wilder's Dolby Atmos mix enhances audio but has mixed reviews; noticeable surrounds and fidelity are praised, yet its full Atmos potential seems underutilized, lacking constant engagement.

  • Extra
  • Most supplements from the 1080p Blu-ray are in the 4K release, with missing features noted. Upscaled content and key bonuses detailed, but some confusion over Blu Book Exam's presence.

  • Movie
  • Despite its dumb humor, 'Van Wilder' in 4K UHD offers laughs and showcases Ryan Reynolds' growth from college comedy to Deadpool stardom.

    Video: 77

    National Lampoon's Van Wilder 4K UHD presents a significant upgrade in video quality over its 1080p Blu-ray counterpart, courtesy of Lionsgate Films with a HEVC encoded 2160p transfer in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Incorporating Dolby Vision HDR, this release showcases an impressive leap in clarity and color fidelity, somewhat quelling the dissatisfaction stemming from earlier releases. The film, sourced from a 35mm negative, benefits from an unrestricted resolution increase, allowing for an expansive display of fine details and a more stable presence of film grain. Contrary to the flatness and texture smoothing criticized in the 1080p version, which leaned towards a video-like appearance, the 4K UHD edition retains a palpable grain structure that contributes to a cinematic feel despite its occasional heaviness.

    The inclusion of Dolby Vision enriches the palette with deeply saturated colors, where reds and blues shine with newfound intensity, breathing life into scenes and objects with previously muted vibrancy. Noteworthy improvements can be seen in minute aspects such as stitch patterns on clothing and furniture textures, marking a commendable upgrade for enthusiasts. However, the rendition of flesh tones occasionally strays towards unnatural hues, manifesting a pinkish tinge in some instances. Moreover, while the overall darker presentation aids in achieving a more film-like gradience, it sometimes exacerbates shadow detail loss and introduces mild crush in darker sequences.

    Contrast and black levels exhibit a mix of advancements and shortcomings. The pursuit of deeper blacks results in a predominance of brownish tones during nocturnal scenes, slightly deviating from the ideal inky depth. Additionally, occasional blooms and a rare instance of banding are observed but do not significantly detract from the viewing experience. Despite these variances, the 4K UHD rendition stands as a marked improvement over preceding formats, offering fans a compelling reason to upgrade for a superior visual presentation of National Lampoon's Van Wilder, albeit with room for minor refinements.

    Audio: 67

    Lionsgate's release of "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" on 4K UHD Blu-Ray has been accentuated with a new Dolby Atmos audio mix, replacing the LPCM 7.1 mix found on its Blu-ray counterpart. This mix has garnered reactions ranging from modest enthusiasm to slight disappointment, primarily due to its underwhelming use of the Atmos capabilities. While the mix does boast clean fidelity and noticeable surround activity, such as effective placement of sound effects and some ambient presence in larger scenes, it fails to consistently leverage the overhead Atmos channels to create a fully immersive audio experience. The source cues and crowd scenes, including parties and other gatherings, bring a certain vivacity to the mix, with Van's voiceover maintaining clarity at the center stage. Dialogue and scoring benefit from this new audio treatment, presenting with more resonance and a robust presence without overshadowing other elements.

    However, despite these improvements, the Dolby Atmos mix appears to be an ambitious choice for a film that doesn't inherently require such sonic depth. The audio often feels anchored to the front, with sporadic side surround activity and minimal vertical engagement, raising questions about the necessity of this advanced audio format for this particular release. Although sound effects and scoring see an uplift, adding dimension to certain scenes, the overall experience does not showcase the full potential of Dolby Atmos technology. Even with improved dialogue clarity and stronger scoring presence, the mix does not stand out significantly when compared to other Atmos tracks, with little to no instances effectively utilizing the vertical sound space. Thus, while the upgrade marks a notable improvement over its LPCM predecessor, it delivers a mixed performance that may leave audiophiles wanting for more dynamic utilization of Atmos capabilities.

    Extra: 69

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" brings a substantial chunk of the original 1080p Blu-ray's extra features, showcasing a commendable effort by Lionsgate to enhance the package without creating new material. Notably, although the majority of the bonus content has been transitioned to the 4K disc, a couple of titles like "Testicles of the Animal Kingdom" and "Write That Down" were omitted. The included features, while listed as HD, are originally in 480p, which when upscaled to 4K, visibly suffers from quality degradation. This shortfall doesn't detract from the value added by these extras to fans looking for an enriched viewing experience, especially considering the inclusion of both fun and insightful behind-the-scenes content. However, it's a slight misstep that the "Blu Book Exam" appears to be missing despite packaging indications, highlighting a minor oversight in the transition from 1080p to 4K resolution.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Sweet Drunken Idiot Kommentary: Commentary track
    • Party Legends, Pledges and Bull-ies: A featurette exploring the film's characters
    • Ultimate College Party Guide: Tips and tricks for party planning
    • Gwen-ezuma's Revenge: Behind-the-scenes featurette
    • Deleted Scenes: Various scenes not included in the final cut
    • Outtakes: Collection of bloopers and fun moments
    • Burley Bear TV Specials: An extended special about the film
    • Comedy Central's Reel Comedy: National Lampoon's Van Wilder: A comedic look at the making of the film
    • Sugarcult Bouncing Off the Walls Music Video: Music video related to the movie

    Movie: 62

    National Lampoon's Van Wilder" in 4K UHD, courtesy of Lionsgate, presents a head-scratching but perhaps timely upgrade of the quintessential early 2000s college comedy. Framed around Ryan Reynolds’ charismatic if juvenile performance, the film capitalizes on gross-out humor and the kind of comedic elements that arguably marked a genre era. Despite its consistent dabbling in low-brow humor, certain moments manage to evoke genuine laughter, suggesting that the movie, while far from a masterpiece, holds a nostalgic if not cringe-worthy charm for its audience. This release appears to bank heavily on Reynolds' increased fame, particularly in light of his success with the "Deadpool" franchise, providing a retrospective lens through which to view his earlier work.

    The technical aspects of this 4K UHD release do not substantially diverge from its Blu-ray predecessors. The inclusion of both 1080p Blu-ray and the 4K disc suggests a repackaging effort rather than a significant upgrade in visual or auditory experience, with the older Lionsgate masthead and existing LPCM 7.1 audio support. While the re-release might not offer new insights into the film’s production quality or add significantly to its legacy, it does prompt a recollection of Ryan Reynolds' career trajectory from college comedy icon to global superstar. For fans of Reynolds or the film itself, this release might serve as an interesting, albeit superfluous, addition to their collection.

    Reflecting on "National Lampoon’s Van Wilder" from today’s standpoint illuminates a significant shift both in comedy sensibilities and Reynolds’ career path. The humor, once cutting-edge in its audacity, now feels somewhat dated in a post-"Hangover" landscape. Nonetheless, the film proves itself as a curious cultural artifact: a reminder of early 2000s cinematic indulgences and Reynolds' comedic roots. Whether this film was a beloved hit or a miss, its presence in 4K UHD poses a peculiar opportunity for reevaluation - not as a technological marvel but as a comedic milestone for its lead actor and the era it represents.

    Total: 64

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" garners a nuanced reception, marked by an appreciation for technical upgrades while also acknowledging the film's inherent limitations. Notably, this release sees a notable improvement in visual quality, thanks to the inclusion of Dolby Vision HDR, which provides a more organic and robust image transfer that is a significant step up from previous releases. The effort to enhance the audio experience with a Dolby Atmos mix, although not reaching reference quality, is commendable and represents Lionsgate's dedication to improving the film's home viewing experience. However, it's worth mentioning that the disc does not include any new supplemental features, with the omission of certain extras like the featurette on animal testicles, indicating that while improvements have been made, there are still areas where the release falls short.

    The overall film has received a marginally higher score than previous reviews, acknowledging both its strengths and its flaws. The consensus seems to be that while "Van Wilder" may not appeal to everyone, there is a specific audience that will find this release particularly satisfying, especially given Ryan Reynolds's charismatic performance and the film's cult status. This 4K UHD release is tailored for fans who are enthusiastic about the movie and are looking to experience it in the best possible quality, even if it means overlooking some of the film's content weaknesses and the absence of new bonus material.

    In conclusion, the 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" represents a solid effort by Lionsgate to cater to the film's fans, offering significant improvements in video and audio quality that enhance the overall viewing experience. While it may not convert new fans or impress with a plethora of new supplementary features, it undoubtedly serves as the definitive edition for enthusiasts eager to add this title to their 4K collection. This release underscores a balance between acknowledging past shortcomings and striving towards technical enhancement, making it an essential purchase for die-hard fans of the film.