Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blu-ray Reviews: ‘My Girl’ and ‘Troop Beverly Hills’ Mastered in 4K

'TBH' - The Movie: **** out of 5
'TBH' Video: **** 1/2
'TBH' Audio: ****
'TBH' Extras: *** 1/2
'My Girl' - The Movie: ****
'My Girl' Video: ****
'My Girl' Audio: ****
'My Girl' Extras: **

Article first published as Blu-ray Reviews: ‘My Girl’ and ‘Troop Beverly Hills’ Mastered in 4K on Blogcritics.

If there’s one studio hellbent on cornering the 4K market, it’s Sony. Having already released a slew of titles — both new and old — there seems to be no end to what they’ll remaster. Some titles make more sense than others — all five Spider-Mans, Men in Black, both Ghostbusters, and Lawrence of Arabia. It’s a little surprising to see some of their other choices, like My Girl and Troop Beverly Hills, both available now, as part of their “Mastered in 4K” selections. The only logical reason being families need new Blu-rays too, and these are probably two of their top-selling video titles. That’s the only explanation, right??


My Girl, Anna Chlumsky, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sony Pictures, Mastered in 4KMy Girl is the classic coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of 1972 Pennsylvania. Twelve-year-old Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) is your everyday hypochondriac, growing up in a funeral parlor run by her father Harry (Dan Aykroyd). Over the summer, Vada learns she has a lot of growing up to do as she deals with her first crush, on her teacher Mr. Bixler (Griffin Dunne), her father moving on to new love with make-up artist Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis), and being best friends with a boy, Thomas J. (Macaulay Culkin).

Troop Beverly Hills brings us one of Shelley Long’s most loveable performances as the bright and bubbly Phyllis Neffler. Going through a divorce from auto shop chain owner Freddy (Craig T. Nelson), Phyllis decides the best way to prove she’s not just another rich shopaholic is to become a Wilderness Girls leader. This will also help her get in better touch with their daughter Hannah (Jenny Lewis). Now, Phyllis faces the wrath of militant troop leader Velda (Betty Thomas), who sends in meek spy Annie (Mary Gross), to take down the titular troop and have them finally disbanded once and for all.

My Girl and Troop Beverly Hills both get the 4K treatment with spectacular results. TBH gets the better end of the deal with a dazzling picture that’s as bright and sunny as Phyllis herself. Colors pop, and thanks to the extra resolution, every texture of Theadora Van Runkle’s costumes come to life better than ever. Grain is nice and present with no noise reduction in sight, don’t let the inherited softness fool you, this is a product of the ’80s after all. My Girl on the other hand offers the same amount of qualities, but the image seems to have been dimmed at some point. The included theatrical trailer just makes that more obvious. No aliasing or banding are in sight, the only problem with either transfer is the slightest amount of crush in My Girl.

Troop Beverly Hills, Shelley Long, Sony Pictures, Mastered in 4KBoth features come with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks and sound pretty good. While not big blockbuster films, the dialogue is what’s important and it comes through crystal clear. Surrounds never really get used, but do help give both films a wider range of sound than either have ever had on home video. Troop Beverly Hills only includes an additional French 2.0 Dolby Digital Track with English subtitles. My Girl comes with an additional Portuguese DTS-HD and the following 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks: French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, with subtitles available in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, and Turkish.

For being as random as they are to get the 4K treatment, they come with a surprising amount of extras. Troop Beverly Hills comes out on top including: “Shelley Long Remembers Troop Beverly Hills” (14:25) where she reminisces about the production and how much fun she had working with all the girls and how much she loved all the outfits. We also learn how the Girl Scouts of America didn’t want to be associated with the film, which is why the troops belong to the fictional Wilderness Girls. “The ‘Real’ Phyllis Neffler: Ava Ostern Fries” (9:31) is a sit down with Fries talking about how her daughter died five years before the interview and what a tribute the film is to herself and daughter. She also points out how much fun it was to have the young Tori Spelling on set, who is one of the members of Velda’s “Red Feathers.”

Deleted Scenes run a whopping seven minutes and include: “Gone Shopping” (:49), “Introductions” (1:02), “Wilderness Dogs” (:25), “Velda’s Speech” (1:01), “I Loosened It” (:28), “Marshmallows, Wieners & Champagne” (:55), “Beverage Break” (:37), “Velda’s Neck Grab” (:46), “Father and Daughter Bonding” (:59), and “Freddy Helps Phyllis Decide” (1:15). The theatrical trailer (1:49) rounds things out.

My Girl on the other hand comes nearly barebones, but does include: “A Day on Set” which is split into “First Kiss” (1:18) and “Bingo!” (3:24). Both are behind-the-scenes footage that’s really boring to watch if you’ve just finished the film itself. An “Original Behind the Scenes Featurette” (6:01) comes circa 1991, and probably originally aired on HBO. The film’s “Theatrical Trailer” (2:20) and a “Commentary with Writer Laurice Elehwany” offers various insights as to how she came up with the story, character names, the setting, and ultimately feels like listening to your grandma recount a story from her childhood.

Both Troop Beverly Hills and My Girl feature better-than-deserved transfers and prove worth a look for families interested in checking out the new technology. While not the most obvious picks for a 4K restoration, at least both films are highly enjoyable and harmless entertainment. With special features on Troop surprisingly overflowing, it really makes the purchase worth it, but My Girl is definitely the better of the two films, making both great additions to any family’s Blu-ray library.

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