17 Again (Blu-ray)
SRP $35.99 2.40:1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 NEW LINE/WARNER BROS
 

"17 AGAIN" could've been ruined if it depended entirely upon Zac Efron's performance in the starring role. Thankfully, Efron is saddled up with a cast of great supporting actors, and the direction is tight.  When a major basketball game is all that lies between graduating High Schooler, Mike O'Donnell and his scholarship, he finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant. Doing the right thing, he marries her and "throws" away his dreams. How many college basketball players on scholarship reach NBA success??? The film jumps twenty years into the future, and Mike is now in the middle of divorcing his wife and miserable with his career, while feeling increasingly distant from his two kids.  In a preposterous, totally unoriginal twist, Mike makes a wish, while being observed by a strange man, and soon enough he's thrown into some kind of wormhole, making him change back into the 17 year old kid he used to be, (Zac Efron). Fortunately, for adult Mike, his best friend, Ned, is extremely rich and bored. So, he enrolls his "son" into Mike's old high school, where his own kids attend. His life experience helps him sway kids into doing the better things(?), take on bullies, help inspire his own son to pursue the beauty he's enamored with, and more. In one troubling scene, his speech about what it's like to hold a little child, convinces high school girls to throw out the condoms they have, opting for pregnancy!

While these moments are cringe-inducing, Thomas Lennon as Ned, is fantastic, stealing the film. It's a shame he's not in it even more than he is. Efron is a good looking kid, but, even though the script is uneven, sometimes funny, sometimes dreadful, Efron is consistently mediocre! He really feels like he's "trying" unsuccessfully in every single scene. Not good!

NEW LINE/WARNER BROS has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this VC1 encoded 1080p blu-ray.  Colors are vibrant throughout and detail is flawless. "17 AGAIN" is one of the most impressive looking blu-rays to be released in the past three months.  Scene after scene offers jump-off-the-screen type of depth. Fantastic! Contrast is excellent, with even the darkest scenes conveying fine detail due to inky blacks.  The 16:9 enhanced dvd sports a solid transfer, with deep colors. But, as good as the detail may be, it's almost soft when compared to the depth of the blu-ray resolution!

NEW LINE/WARNER BROS has provided an immersive Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix.  While it offers plenty of immersive effects, there are problems popping up sporadically with balance, wherein dialogue is drowned out by music and ambient effects. When it's good, it's great! But, the lack of stability in its use of volume leveling can prove frustrating, necessitating the center channel to be increased and lowered at various times. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix found on dvd, offers better volume balance, but the dynamic range is limited in comparison to the best mix points of the lossy mix.

The blu-ray of "17 AGAIN" offers plenty of extras,(the dvd doesn't) but few really worth checking out. A trivia track is a waste, deleted scenes?(two of them are worth watching), two featurettes(so-so). But, BD-LIVE should offer plenty more that may prove worthwhile.