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Thursday, 05 November 2009 15:33

Jack Black and Michael Cera star in the new movie from the Director of “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day” – the Director in question is Harold Ramis, the film in question is “Year One”, out now on Blu-ray™ High-Def and DVD.

Billed as allowing us to play witness to the evolution of comedy, “Year One” stars Jack Black (“Nacho Libre”, “Tropic Thunder”) and Michael Cera (Arrested Development, “Superbad”) as an unlikely duo of primitive men who, after being exiled from their tribe, set out on a road-trip-style journey through the ancient world. Along the way, they encounter a host of famous historical figures played by a tribe of comedy icons, including Hank Azaria (Homer in The Simpsons), David Cross (another star of Arrested Development), Oliver Platt (the irascible Russell Tupper in Huff – which also starred Azaria), Paul Rudd (Mike Hannigan in Friends), and would you believe, the legendary Brit tough Brit Vinnie Jones!

Year One comes to DVDProviding the eye candy for the guys are Juno Temple as Eema (Celia in the 21st Century “St Trinian’s” movies), Olivia Wilde as Princess Inanna (Dr Hadley in House), June Diane Raphael (Barb in Players) and Gia Carides as the Queen (Melanie in East of Everything).

As its premise, the movie suggests that history was made by a pair of bumbling oafs. Taking centre stage are Zed (Black) and Oh (Cera), playing cavemen who stumble out of the mountains (following being of no use whatsoever to their tribe) into a biblical journey. One’s a bumbling hunter, the other’s a gentle gatherer; guess which one eats from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”, a sin enough to make the shaman banish him from the tribe?

So, Zed begs Oh to join him as they become unlikely participants in history’s most pivotal moments. The Garden of Eden, Sodom and Gomorrah, even Cain and Abel are given the historic ‘retooling’.  Is there a homage to Monty Python’s “Life Of Brian” trying to burst out of the underbelly of this tale?  Well, yes, probably, and there may be a case that such an attempt will split devout Python fans – some will love it, more will absolutely hate it.

It has to be said that this is a movie which knows squarely who its audience is – the 18-25 age demographic (and younger), after a night of sledgehammer amusement, where subtle wit and craft is not on the agenda. Jokes about bodily functions abound, and Black is particularly uncouth, allowing Cera a sense of bewilderment at the escapades he gets caught up in. My fear of these sorts of movies is that the young who watch them actually think the content of such ventures is historically accurate, rather than a pastiche from those who know what they are talking about.  Regrettably, recent research actually backs up this contention!

For a movie with such a broad canvas, it is surprising how slow it seems to chug along. The jokes contain an above average set of misfires, and there’s few laugh-out loud moments.  There is a hint of this being someone’s ‘pet project’. Indeed, the prolific comedy producer Judd Apatow is one of the names behind it, and he brought us the iconic TV series Freaks and Geeks, as well as Undeclared, so it’s a mystery as to how things went so amiss here.

However, I have to be honest and state I am definitely not eligible to be a member of the target audience, and I am certain Jack Black’s entourage fans will ‘dig it’, or somesuch other hip phrase.

For its home viewing release “Year One” includes both the original theatrical version of the film and an all-new Extended Version; this was going to be called an ‘Uncut’ version but it appears the producers applied cuts to their original intentions before submitting it to the BBFC for classification.  Suffice to say there are plenty of places in the movie where you suspect that what was onscreen could have been even more graphic than what we have in what remains!

Bonus features common to both release formats include the obligatory deleted scenes, extended and alternate scenes, an alternate ending, a gag reel (as in jokes, rather than retching), audio commentary with director Harold Ramis, Jack Black and Micheal Cera, and the making-of featurettes “Year One: The Journey Begins,” “Sodom’s Got’em” and “Leeroy Jenkins: The Gates of Sodom”.

For those wanting to use the very latest in technology, then there are some items to cheer about and commend the disc producers for including - exclusive to the Blu-ray Disc™ of “Year One” are the highly evolved special features “Year One Cutting Room”, which lets viewers create their own video using clips and music from the film, and share it on BD-Live™.

“Year One” also includes the newest BD-Live feature from Sony Pictures: movieIQ, which lets viewers access real-time trivia information about the “Year One” cast, crew, musicians and producers, all while watching the movie (a feat made possible by Gracenote). The Blu-ray version also features cinechat, which allows movie watchers to send on-screen instant messages to friends around the world while watching the movie and, finally, a Digital Copy for playback on PC, PSP®, Mac or iPod.

“Year One” is priced at £24.99 RRP (Blu-ray), £19.99 (DVD) and £12.99 (PSP), or less from www.culttvstore.com


Bonus material included on all versions:

  • Both Theatrical and Extended Versions of the Film
  • Two Deleted Scenes
  • Commentary with Director Harold Ramis, Jack Black and Michael Cera
  • Ten Extended and Alternate Scenes
  • Line-o-Rama
  • Gag Reel
  • “Year One: The Journey Begins” Featurette


Blu-ray exclusive bonus material:

  • Alternate Ending: Sodom’s Destruction
  • Sodom's Got 'em” Featurette
  • “Leeroy Jenkins: The Gates of Sodom” Featurette
  • Year One Cutting Room: Create your own video and share it via BD-Live! (A Blu-ray first)
  • Cinechat: Send on-screen instant messages to your friends around the world while you watch the movie together
  • Movie IQ: Real-time in-movie information about the cast, crew, music and production via BD-Live (Domestic Only)
  • A Digital Copy of the film for PC, PSP®, Mac or iPod

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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