13 Going on 30 (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 10 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Upon my viewing of 13 Going on 30, I had the inevitable comparisons to Big. Lets face it, the two are almost carbon copies of each other and each has their pros and cons. Big was the movie that really made Tom Hanks a star and whereas he wished he could be an adult. In 13 Going on 30, Jennifer Garners Jenna actually becomes big by going through time to the present. Either way you slice it, both are enjoyable movies. What Big was for boys, this is for girls. But enough about thatthis was Jennifer Garners departure from Science Fiction that she plays do adeptly on the television show Alias. She went onto play Elektra in Daredevil (and a spin-off is being filmed), but this showed that she could appeal to a wider audience. Or did it? Now Ive never been a 13 year old girl and Ive no idea what they go through. Im sure the pressure is a lot different for girls at that age than boys. The struggle for acceptance, the right clothes, friends, etc. – well lets just say that Im glad that the days of Jr. High are long behind me! Movies like this show how hard it is for kids and unlike the glossed over Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, its a bit harder to be yourself and succeed than it looks.

Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner, as a kid played by Christa Allen) is the typical 13 year old. She wants to hang out with the popular kids in school, known only as the six and her next door neighbor is the photography geek, Matt (Mark Ruffalo). Matt likes her and in times when its just the two of them, she likes him. But on Jennas 13th birthday, she crosses the line and wishes to avoid the pains of being a teenager. In short, she wishes to be 30 years old. Only in the movies can this actually happen and low and behold, she wakes up looking just like Jennifer Garner. Now thats nice. She quickly learns that shes an editor of a magazine that she read, Poise. The magazine is in some turmoil as the competition Sparkle finds its numbers rising. She also learns that shes dating a star hockey player and that shes not a very nice person. She was the prom queen, did end up being one of the six and manages to track down Matt. She tries to adjust to life in the corporate world while at the same time trying to make up for a past she doesnt remember. All the while her supposed best friend and co-worker, Lucy (Judy Greer) is plotting to get her job.

Movies like 13 Going on 30 arent exactly a dime a dozen and its a pretty particular niche that this falls into. Jennifer Garner is obviously a very talented (and might I add, attractive) actress who looks to have a bright career in Hollywood. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised by the movie and I ended up liking it a bit more than I thought I would. Maybe its because Im at the age that Jenna wished to be and let me tell you, just because youre 30 doesnt mean youll have a corner office on Park Ave. in New York City. While obvious comparisons to Big are bound to occur (they have), this movie isnt without its charm. I still consider to Big to be a superior movie, but this might be considered an updated version of that. For those who are looking for a good date movie, this might be it. And for those who might be looking for a snapshot of their Junior High School days, this might be it as well. Though I do have to admit that this falls into the same trap that some other movies set in the 80s fall intothe authenticity of the music, styles. Some of the songs that are played throughout, namely Jesses Girl and Love is a Battlefield were at their peak four to five years before this was set (1987). Still, its a minor nit pick and something that can easily be overlooked.

Video: How does it look?

Its been a few years since I first watched this film on standard DVD and when it came out on Blu-ray Id kind of forgotten that the film even existed. Its like that with movies sometimes. Still, I do remember the transfer for this movie being above average so I was excited to give it a spin in HD. As it turns out, the last four years have been good to the transfer and the colors pop on Blu-ray. Edge enhancement is non-existent and we do get a real feeling of 3-D which makes for a stellar transfer. Granted its not the best out there, some of the shots do look a bit dirty and a few of the indoor scenes do look a bit soft but by and large this looks great and certainly a step or two above the previous standard DVD. Viewers will be happy to see how good this looks.

Audio: How does it sound?

The previous Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack wasnt too great, it had its moments but if youre in the mood for some hits of the 80s, theyve never sounded better. Its interesting to note that two music videos are included on the disc (Love is a Battlefield and Jesses Girl) and they sound great. Dialogue is very clean and consistent and though the surrounds werent particularly active, I noticed them kick in a few times. While the majority of the sound took place in the front stage, I found this to be a pretty solid mix. This Dolby TrueHD track improves upon the previous 5.1 track, but only marginally. Still, its better to have improved sound over the same old thing, right?

Supplements: What are the extras?

Sony has issued and re-issued this disc on standard DVD format and sometimes its a jump ball as to what will appear on the Blu-ray. Thankfully, theyve got it right this time incorporating all the supplements from the previous two editions into the Blu-ray. They also went back to the original cover art which I felt was much better than the Fun and Flirty edition. That said, heres what to expect. 13 Going on 30 contains two commentary tracks, one by the Director and the other with the producers. Both are informative, though Im thinking they should have been edited together in one track. The director track tells about the shoot, the stars, etc. while the producers talk mainly of the story and the success of the movie. Essentially stuff we might expect them to talk about. Next up are 18 (yes, you read that right) deleted scenes. The movie, while not too short or too terribly long, could have benefited from a few of these. There are the usual ones that we just know should have been left out, but a nice inclusion nonetheless. Probably the most interesting is I Was a Teenage Geek in which three of the stars recount their days in Jr. High. We see photos of them and its clear to say that theyve all, well, blossomed. An interactive game, The 80s Outfit Challenge, is also included in which you have to reconstruct the outfits worn by the kids on the movie. Careful, one wrong move and you get scolded by the Production Designer! We also have the Fashion Flashback featurette and two music videos are included, Jessies Girl and Love is a Battlefield as are some outtakes. We still dont have the original trailer, but its not a necessity.

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