Plot: What’s it about?
The overwhelming success of “Clerks” did a few things: first of all it put Kevin Smith on the map and it led to his second feature…”Mallrats”. I’m one of the few people who liked “Mallrats” and though it seems a bit immature some ten years later, I do still think it has some funny moments. Like any Director with a huge budget, major studio (Universal) and lots of time on his hands Smith’s “Mallrats” was pretty much ignored by audiences and bashed by the critics. I mean c’mon…it wasn’t that bad! The movie starred Jason Lee, Shannon Doherty and Ben Affleck (pre-“Armageddon”, of course) just to name a few. Naturally all of Smith’s buddies were in the movie and Smith and stoner pal Jason Mewes reprised their role of Jay and Silent Bob in a much more comedic format (something which was made fun of in other Smith movies). In the commentary track, Smith admits that “Mallrats” was his favorite movie most likely because he hadn’t seen it as much as the rest of his films. Ok, that makes sense – but it’s likely that this movie won’t really stand the test of time.
Nevertheless, “Mallrats” does have a plot, though a thin one at that. T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) is set to propose to his girlfriend Brandi (Claire Forlani) at the Universal theme park; however before that can happen he’s dumped. Best friend Brodie (Jason Lee) is also dumped by his (Shannon Doherty) and decides to head to the mall to deal with their problems. Rene (Doherty) is already dating someone else, an arrogant retail salesman (Ben Affleck) and the two play a cat and mouse game throughout the day. Luckily for us, Jay and Silent Bob are at the mall and are wreaking havoc for no apparent reason. The main thing going on, though, is a game show of sorts that sets up eligible bachelors on a dream date with…you guessed it – Rene. Quint figures that if he can get on the game show, he’ll be able to prove his love for Rene and they’ll live happily ever after. Naturally a lot of road blocks are in the way with a security guard, Stan Lee and plenty of physical comedy. If the plot sounds a bit mundane, it’s because it is…the movie really isn’t that bad, but watching is some years later I didn’t really see why I liked it so much. Still, Jason Lee is in rare form and to see where Ben Affleck has gone from here is proof in itself.
Video: How does it look?
Having seen this film on just about every format known to man (from VHS all the way up to Blu-ray), I can say that this is the best the movie has looked, even surpassing the previously-released HD-DVD from 2007 (why it took them 7 more years to get this on Blu-ray is beyond me). The 1.85:1 AVC HD image looks, by and large, pretty good. There are a few noticeable errors, mainly some scenes look a bit too sharp and there’s some grain on the exterior shots. This was expected in Clerks, but with Mallrats we were holding this to a higher standard. Contrast and black levels work well off one another, flesh tones look a bit on the overcooked side (in certain scenes) but by and large this is the definitive version of Kevin Smith’s sophomoric effort.
Audio: How does it sound?
Mallrats has benefitted from a new DTS HD Master Audio mix that’s not too bad, actually. Vocals take center stage here and with surrounds offering a bit of added support here and there, it’s a step up from the DVD and HD-DVD versions, for sure. This is one of the better mid 90’s soundtracks out there and one I’ve listened to a million times. The ending song by Weezer “Suzanne” resonates as Jay and Silent Bob walk into the sunset (holding the arm of a chimpanzee, no less). There are some ambient effects thrown in for good measure as well. While not the prime example uncompressed sound, it’s a step up from what’s been available in the past.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As is the case with most other Universal catalog titles, this really has nothing new to offer on this Blu-ray. Having said that, the previous DVD was pretty packed with supplements to begin with.
- Extended Cut – We do get the extended cut of the film which runs around 30 minutes longer than the theatrical release. There are some very notable differences contained in this cut and we get an introduction by Smith and Producer Scott Mosier.
- Audio Commentary – This is the same group commentary that was present on the original Mallrats disc released in 1999. The group is all there, complete with Ben Affleck. It’s a good track, but a little too many cooks in the kitchen make it a bit cumbersome.
- Deleted Scenes – Several are shown and if you watch the extended version, you’ll see them.
- Erection of an Epic: The Making of Mallrats – Taken from the 10th Anniversary DVD, this was a retrospective look at the film and its subsequent tumultuous journey into film lore.
- Cast Interviews from the Original Set – Pretty self-explanatory, the key actors are interviewed about the film, the shoot and working with a then fledgling director in Kevin Smith.
- Q & A – Smith fields some questions.
- The Reunion – Another feature taken from the 10th Anniversary DVD, this one is quite robust with the main players discussing the film.
- Build Me Up Buttercup – Starring Jay and Silent Bob, it’s the video that was later made famous by There’s Something About Mary.
- Pearls of Wisdom by Stan Lee – The legendary Marvel head honcho waxes philosophic about his cameo in the movie.
- Kevin’s Make-up – Running all of 45 seconds, Smith answers a question while being made beautiful.
- Jason Mewes’ Dance – Running all of 39 seconds, we see Jason dance dance dance.
- Jason Lee – Want to see Jason Lee in women’s underwear? Check it out.
- Lee & Mewes – Both Jason’s are featured (obviously) and Mewes interviews Lee.
- Theatrical Trailer