Loosely based on writer/director Greg Mottola's own work experience as a carnie, Adventureland takes us back to 1987 (the year I graduated from high school). The script has its moments, but it's a little too melodramatic and full of clichs. The amusement-park owners (Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig) are hilarious, but the rest of the characters aren't very interesting with the exception of James, whose sincere honesty and innocence are refreshing.
The AVC encode is decent, but it doesn't arouse much praise. Details are soft and fuzzy, especially on long shots, but close ups are marginally better. The color palette looks dull and depressing, which is probably intentional to capture the mood. Black levels aren't very deep, and the picture lacks depth during nighttime scenes.
Sonically, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is very front-loaded and collapsed toward the center. Dialog isn't always intelligible, and the soundstage is very narrow through most of the film. The surround speakers are rarely used even for ambience, but occasionally the '80s soundtrack adds some presence to the mix.
The bonus features are a lot like the feature filmdull and uninteresting. They include some deleted scenes, a "making-of" featurette, and a commentary from writer/director Greg Mottola and actor Jesse Eisenberg. Blu-ray-exclusive supplements include some mock commercials for the Adventureland amusement park and a couple of forgettable tidbits from cast members. Rounding things out is a digital copy of the film for use on portable players.
It's not a bad film, but Adventureland didn't do it for me. I liked Eisenberg's portrayal of the main character, but I couldn't see why he was attracted to Emshe's not that likable. The lackluster presentation probably didn't help matters either. If you're interested, I would suggest a rental because the replay value is minimal.
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector
Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics