Blu-ray Review “Harold & Kumar Ultimate Collector’s Edition”

Actors: John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris
Directors: Jon Hurwitz, Danny Leiner, Todd Strauss-Schulson, Hayden Schlossberg
Number of discs: 3
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Run Time: 285 minutes

Ultimate Collector’s Edition: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Before we even get started, I am a huge fan of this series.  The first film is one of the most outrageous and funny comedies in the last then years. The second was good but didn’t really trump its predecessor, besides NPH.  “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas” is the latest and one of my favorites from 2011.  No it is not best film ever but it gets some amazing laughs, especially in 3D.  But it is not released in 3D on this release, so that is a big disappointing.  I think it would have been at least a half a star added on the score if it did. The package offers a total of four cuts of the three films, including the extended editions of each and also the theatrical cut of “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas”.

Besides the film, this Ultimate Collector’s Edition comes in a “collectible tin, ideal for stashing the movies and any other necessities a Harold and Kumar fan might have.” This includes fun extras like a White Castle-scented car fresheners and White Castle-scented drink coasters.  If you don’t already own any of these prior releases and don’t care of 3D, then this release is for you. Otherwise, the coasters and car fresheners aren’t worth the re-purchase.

Each film in this collection are delivered in their original aspect ratio – “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” and “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” are presented in 1.85:1 and “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas” is presented in 2.39:1. Like the previous releases they all looks nice in thei r 1080p transfers, though I still prefer “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas” in 3D over 2D.  They are also all accompanied with a sweet 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. Not going to complain for the original Blu-ray release of “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”, what happened to it’s DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track?

All of the previous special features from the prior releases are all included on this Ultimate Collector’s Edition. “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” includes three really fun commentary tracks with director Danny Leiner and actors John Cho and Kal Penn and also a commentary track with writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. There is also an “Extreme” commentary with Danny Bouchard, highly recommended. “John Cho and Kal Penn: The Back Seat Interview” chat about the their roles with co-star Bobby Lee. “Art of the Fart” focuses on the sound effects editing for the bathroom scene with the two Princeton girls. “A Trip to the Land of the Burgers” is a featurette on the animated sequence. “White Castle Cravers’ Hall of Fame” is a look into the annual awards ceremony the burger chain holds in Columbus, Ohio. “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay Sneak Peek” is a sneak peak into the sequel and well as the trailer. There is 20 minutes of interviews and commentary from the cast and crew along with another 15 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes. Lastly there is a music video for “Yeah (Dream of Me)” by All Too Much and two trailers included.

“Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” special features include 27 additional scenes and an interactive feature called “Dude Change the Movie” that puts you in control of Harold and Kumar’s trip and allows you to select from new and alternate scenes to change the course of the film! There is two commentary tracks with the Directors and Stars and also the real “Harold Lee”, and the guy who plays George W. Bush. Lastly there is a “The World of Harold and Kumar” featurette and a Bush PSA included.

Lastly we have “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas”, which has the least impressive of the special features. They include a few of EPK shorts hosted by Thomas Lennon called “Through the Haze with Tom Lennon”. They are hilarious and definitely worth checking out as Lennon was a great asset to the film. There is a look into the claymation sequence and includes picture-in-picture with its animated storyboard reel and the final scene. Lastly there are about four minutes of deleted scenes…funny but not hilarious. Again did I mention that this release doesn’t include the 3D version of the film?

“Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”: 3.5 out of 5 stars – Directed by Danny Leiner (“Dude Where’s My Car?,” TV’s “Backwash”), Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle follows John Cho (“American Pie” films, “Star Trek”) and Kal Penn (TV’s “House”, “The Namesake,” “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” films) as they set out on a journey to satisfy their craving for White Castle’s delicious burgers and find themselves on a hilarious all-night adventure as they run into one wacky obstacle after another.

“Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay”: 3 out of 5 stars – The second installment of the franchise marks the triumphant return of these two hilarious, slacker anti-heroes. The movie stars John Cho (“American Pie” films, “Star Trek”) as Harold and Kal Penn (TV’s “House”, “The Namesake,” “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” films) as Kumar, two stoners who can’t seem to get a break. Their last adventure found them traveling across country to find a White Castle hamburger in order to satisfy a weed-induced case of “the munchies.” This time, the boys get themselves in trouble trying to sneak a bong onboard a flight to Amsterdam. Now, being suspected of terrorism, they are forced to run from the law and try to find a way to prove their innocence. What follows is an irreverent and epic journey of deep thoughts, deeper inhaling and a wild trip around the world that is as “un-PC” as it gets.

“A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas”: 4 out of 5 stars Following years of growing apart, Harold Lee (Cho) and Kumar Patel (Penn) have replaced each other with new friends and are preparing for their respective Yuletide celebrations. But when a mysterious package mistakenly arrive at Kumar’s door on Christmas Eve, his attempts to redirect it to Harold’s house ends with the “high grade” contents – and Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree – going up in smoke. With his in-laws out of the house for the day, Harold decides to cover his tracks, rather than come clean. Reluctantly embarking on another ill-advised journey with Kumar, through New York City, their search for the perfect replacement tree takes them through party heaven – and almost blows Christmas Eve sky high.

The ‘highly flammable’ three-movie set, Harold & Kumar Blu-ray Ultimate Collector’s Edition, blazes into stores November 13!
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