Region Free | U.K. Triple Play
Clive (Nick Frost) and Graeme (Simon Pegg) are British science fiction geeks. As such, they make a pilgrimage to Comic-Con in San Diego. Not content to simply revel in nerdom, the guys take to the road in a rented RV to tour UFO holy sites scattered around the Southwestern U.S. They haven’t gotten far when they have a close encounter of a weird kind. A profane alien who calls himself “Paul” (and whose voice is provided by Seth Rogan) introduces himself. Graeme is thrilled, but Clive passes out. Paul, having escaped imprisonment at Area 51, is on the run from U.S. government agents. He’s decided the best way to the best way to get home is to join these two geeks.
While the two pals adapt nicely to traveling with an alien—they’re true believers—he does put a bit of a wedge between the two buddies, in the way any new, cool guy might upset a longtime friendship. Things get more complicated when they pick up a conservative Christian woman (Kristen Wiig) used to a secluded life at a trailer park. She is shown the entire universe’s secrets thanks to Paul’s neat mind-meld trick. Meanwhile, the three government agents on his tail, the ruthless competent one played by Jason Bateman, the knucklehead wannabes played by Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio, are given their commands by a female boss back at headquarters, who isn’t seen until the end but whose voice is unmistakably Sigourney Weaver’s.
Though the filmmakers go to great pains to disguise Weaver’s identity, at the same time they court an audience that would recognize her voice immediately, filled with references to virtually every geek-tested film of the late 70s and 80s. As any fans of Frost and Pegg undoubtedly know, this style is standard for them, as they lovingly skewered other genres in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Lines from Star Wars and Aliens show up (with the Aliens one brilliantly incorporated). References to other science fiction staples abound, with Star Trek, and E.T. warranting mention and a big nod being given to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In fact, Steven Spielberg impressed enough by story that he leant his voice to a scene.
Though directed by an American (Greg Mottola) and set in the United States, the humor is decidedly British. Written by Pegg and Frost, the film provides plenty of funny sequences, but few of them are of the fall down laughing variety. It’s the kind of movie that sets out to give its audience an enjoyable story experience, rather than assaulting them with one obvious joke after another. Paul is a fun experience for science fiction fans and others. This one comes highly recommended.
Shown in a theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this 1080p transfer is extremely accurate. There’s a light sheen of film grain and a warm color palette, which limits the image depth. However, fine detail is consistent and exceptional at all times. Textures are also remarkable.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is mostly used on David Arnold’s orchestral score, which is nicely spread across the soundfield. The track has no problem spreading the larger booms of explosions, helicopters, gunshots and more. The mix accurately reproduces the filmmakers’ intentions.
An English Audio Descriptive 2.0 track and English captions for the deaf and hard of hearing are also included.
We get the following special features:
- The Unrated Cut: This adds about five minutes to the film, and essentially extends a few scenes. Fans of the film will want to check this out.
- The theatrical cut features an audio commentary by Greg Mottola, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Hader, and producer Nira Park. As is to be expected with this group of commentators, it is a funny, light overview of the film, without significant repetition or carry-over from the documentary and featurettes. The group chats about the development of specific scenes and gags, unused jokes, egg on Nira to make more comments, and do several silly voices.
- Between the Lightning Strikes: The Making of Paul (40:05) It’s interesting to see the movie’s zig-zagging journey from idea to screen.
- Bloopers (10:52) - The usual collection of flubs, corpsing and prop problems.
- Eight Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes (total running time 1:02:49) flesh out individual aspects of the production, including the movie’s excellent ensemble cast, Mottola’s style as a director, the filming of the farmhouse explosion, and other behind-the-scenes silliness.
- The Evolution of Paul (15:06) discusses the CG evolution and creation of Paul.
- Simon’s Silly Faces (1:20)) - A montage of outtakes showing Simon Pegg pulling faces before and after a take.
- Who the Hell is Adam Shadowchild(2:09) The mythical writer, Adam Shadowchild, is presented using a compilation of clips from the movie.
- Trailers (13 mins total) An exhaustive collection of every trailer produced for the movie including American and UK Theatrical, Internet, TV Spots and teasers.
- Galleries: A collection of Stills taken by Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Wilson Webb behind the scenes and at rehearsals together with Storyboards and Posters for the movie.
- Standard DVD
- Digital Copy