Paper Towns Blu-ray Review
“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle…If you consider all the unlikely things that happen in all the world, you gotta think at least one of them will happen to each of us.”
These words are spoken by Quentin Jacobsen (Nat Wolff, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), whose miracle comes in the form of Margo Roth Spiegelman (Cara Delevingne, who is set to appear as Enchantress in the upcoming SUICIDE SQUAD). When Quentin (or Q) moves into the neighborhood, he quickly becomes pals with Margo. The pair spends their days hanging out and riding bikes, forming a bond that doesn’t seem like it would end. And then it did.
By the time high school rolled around, Q and Margo grew apart, with Margo leading a more rebellious lifestyle and Q going as an iPod for Halloween. But through it all, Q has maintained his crush on his childhood next-door neighbor—and so imagine his delight when she comes knocking on his window one night looking for a partner in crime to humiliate her cheating ex and others. It’s a night of fun revenge and an opportunity for Q to spend time with Margo. Unfortunately for the potential romance (that is, some sort of awkward kiss), Margo skips town soon after, leaving clues for Q and his friends, Ben (Austin Abrams, who currently appears on AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD) and Radar (Justice Smith, 2012’s TRIGGER FINGER), to track her down. And hey, he just might learn a thing or two about himself on the journey…
PAPER TOWNS (based on the book by John Green, who has proven tremendously popular in the young adult fiction scene) is about love, life and seeing your potential…more or less because it insists it wants to be. There are no subtleties to be found in the script (by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who wrote THE SPECTACULOR NOW and helped bring THE FAULT IN OUR STARS to the screen) and it’s the bluntness of it all that makes the production seem so phony, like it’s its own paper movie.
Directed by Jake Schreier (2012’s ROBOT & FRANK), PAPER TOWNS certainly has good intentions, but it’s hard to care if you’re outside of the target audience, who are the only ones (hopefully) who will lap up all of the unintellectual and safe material found within the story. This is a movie cluttered with the sort of hokey lines that will undoubtedly be used as a Facebook status updates (see: “You have to get lost before you find yourself.”) and characters that it’s a challenge to care about, like Q, who seems hell-bent on being a hero to swoon for, walking around in slow-motion while providing a voiceover so the teenage crowd can connect to him in some pseudo-emotional way.
PAPER TOWNS hits all of the right marks for those it was made for. In that sense, it’s a success and on par with THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t skirt dangerously close to being manipulative and offering a false hope about finding love next door.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The high-definition presentation offers a nice, natural look that features fine details and accurate colors.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1; French Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitles in English, Spanish and French. Dialogue is clean and the soundtrack (featuring Santigold, The War on Drugs and more) comes through nicely.
Audio commentary by Jake Schreier and John Green: Fans will enjoy this nicely paced commentary.
PAPER TOWNS: The Making Of (21:09): There are three featurettes here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Playing Out the String,” “Building a Paper Town” and “John Green on Set.” Topics include the concept of paper towns (particularly Agloe, New York), bringing the novel to the screen, the studio/cast/crew and more.
John and Nat: Lightning Round (8:04): Green throws questions at Wolff; John and Cara: Lightning Round (5:15) is similar, but with Delevingne in the hot seat.
Van Chats: There are four here, which feature Green hosting a Q&A with various cast members in the van from the movie: Memorable Moments (1:04), Coming of Age (1:15), Road Trips (1:15) and Lurlene (1:02).
Deleted Scenes (3:54) with optional commentary by Jake Schreier and John Green: There are four here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Minivan,” “Margo Leaves Clues,” “Be Yourself” and “Teenage Rebellion.” There is also an Alternate Scene: “Shake It Off” (1:57).
Gag Reel (3:08)