Prince Avalanche Blu-ray Review
What would you say if I told you there was a new movie starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch? If you were a movie buff, a fan of solid acting and funny moments, wouldn’t you be interested? PRINCE AVALANCHE is the new movie from director David Gordon Green, the director of PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and YOUR HIGHNESS. While I didn’t care a great deal for either of those films, I figured Green had refined his genius in the art of bromance and found myself intrigued with this remake of the Swedish film EITHER WAY (2011).
In PRINCE AVALANCHE we are given a quick introduction to destruction, a forest fire has destroyed a large area and people are needed to help get the roads back in order. We get to join Alvin (Rudd), contemplative and firm, as he has been solitarily working throughout the summer. He is joined by insecure ladies’ man Lance, his girlfriend’s brother. By all appearances the two are polar opposites and their time together is tenuous. But of course, since this is a movie without any original thought, the two slowly realize they are more alike than they ever wanted to admit.
It probably sounds like I’m being hard on PRINCE AVALANCHE. It is kind of confusing… none of the issues in and of themselves make this a singularly bad film. My primary concern in this case is that the overall movie suffers evermore greatly for each problem, and there are a TON of little problems plaguing every frame of PRINCE AVALANCHE. In addition to a fairly contrived and unequivocally cliché plot the film seems to believe everyone who lives in or works in a rural area are some sort of hillbilly monstrosity. Every single character encountered by our protagonists (and at times them) passes beyond ‘quirky’ into the realm of offensive. I guess I can be happy that few will see this film to be so insulted.
I spent a lot of time trying to decide just what to say about PRINCE AVALANCHE. It is a movie that wants desperately to be sweet and quirky but skirts and too frequently crosses the line to creepy and offensive. The few sweet moments, I suspect, were simply the innate abilities of Rudd and Hirsch shining through. The two have chemistry together though as little as I understand this movie I find Hirsch’s portrayal of Lance completely out of left field… I have no idea why he made the choices he made in developing this character (or if they were made for him) but to say they don’t work is a massive understatement.
I suppose I shouldn’t have expected too much from this movie. It was shot in 16 days, conceived and developed in just a few short months with only about 2/3 of a script ever fully developed. But you know what? I’ve seen independent films, REALLY independent films, with far better story, original thought, and acting than in this flick. My advice is to avoid this one at all costs and hope the next bit of work from David Gordon Green is of much higher quality, regardless of the casting. In the meantime, if you want to see some interesting (even great) independent films I suggest looking for work by Morgan Nichols (check out www.hillportmaine.com) or James Choi (check out http://vimeo.com/jcpov).
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) The video presentation of PRINCE AVALANCHE is clear and immersive.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio is equally well done, immersing the audience into the wilderness surrounding our protagonists.
Audio Commentary with writer/director David Gordon Green, set production assistant Hugo Garza, and Talent Driver Paul Logan (01:33:21) Green has guests, including his talent driver for the movie and a gentleman who did craft services. Interestingly the deepest insights into the film come from these young newbies to the film industry rather than Green. Green actually appears during most of the commentary to not really want to get into the details, which is pretty disappointing. Some of the logistics discussions are interesting but the commentary as a whole isn’t worth it.
Deleted Scene: Do The Dance (00:30) A very short dance sequence of Emile Hirsch dancing to some terrible 80’s music that was cut from PRINCE AVALANCHE is presented here.
Paul & Emile (06:55) Director David Gordon Green, along with Rudd and Hirsch, talk about their roles and making PRINCE AVALANCHE, interspersed with film and behind the scenes footage. Honestly this is far more interesting than the movie.
From the Ashes (09:29) This featurette focuses on the area in which PRINCE AVALANCHE was shot and how they did it, which includes discussion about the terrible wildfire that had just occurred there. Green discusses why he wanted to make a small film.
Lance LeGault (04:41) Rudd, Hirsch, and Green discuss working with this interesting individual during filming of PRINCE AVALANCHE. LeGault is one of the few colorful characters who inhabits the wilderness and could have been a standout performance (PRINCE AVALANCHE was shot right before this journeyman actor passed) but his role is written so poorly it is difficult to connect with him.
Interview with Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch (06:47) This interview was obviously shot at a very different time. Both actors talk about why they wanted to be involved with PRINCE AVALANCHE and their experience.
Interview with Writer/Director David Gordon Green (05:02) A new and expanded interview, different than the ones presented in the other special features, which is appreciated. Green continues to discuss why he wanted to be involved in PRINCE AVALANCHE.
AXS TV: A Look at PRINCE AVALANCHE (03:32) A short feature about PRINCE AVALANCHE for AXS TV. A simple and short summary of the film with interviews and footage.
The PRINCE AVALANCHE Blu-ray also features the Theatrical Trailer (02:20) and previews of additional movies from Magnolia Home Entertainment.