Plot: What’s it about?
Upon my viewing of “13 Going on 30”, I had the inevitable comparisons to “Big”. Let’s 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 Garner’s 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 that…this was Jennifer Garner’s 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 I’ve never been a 13 year old girl and I’ve no idea what they go through. I’m sure the pressure is a lot different for girls at that age than boys. The struggle for acceptance, the right clothes, friends, etc. – well let’s just say that I’m 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”, it’s 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 it’s just the two of them, she likes him. But on Jenna’s 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 that’s nice. She quickly learns that she’s 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 she’s dating a star hockey player and that she’s 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 doesn’t 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” aren’t exactly a dime a dozen and it’s 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 it’s because I’m at the age that Jenna wished to be and let me tell you, just because you’re 30 doesn’t mean you’ll have a corner office on Park Ave. in New York City. While obvious comparisons to “Big” are bound to occur (they have), this movie isn’t 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 80’s fall into…the authenticity of the music, styles. Some of the songs that are played throughout, namely “Jesse’s Girl” and “Love is a Battlefield” were at their peak four to five years before this was set (1987). Still, it’s a minor nit pick and something that can easily be overlooked.
Video: How does it look?
The 1.85:1 anamorphic image looks practically flawless. There were a few nighttime scenes that showed a bit of artifacting, but for the most part I was very impressed. Edge enhancement is kept at a minimum and the flesh tones were right on target. Many of the scenes during the day looked brilliant and most of Jenna’s outfits are very colorful that radiate on screen. There is a lot of supplemental information on the disc and I thought that the picture would suffer because of it. I was wrong. Columbia/Tristar has shown that they’re still living up to the high standards that they established so many years ago.
Audio: How does it sound?
Audio wise, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack isn’t one that will blow you away, but if you’re in the mood for some hits of the 80’s, they’ve never sounded better. It’s interesting to note that two music videos are included on the disc (“Love is a Battlefield” and “Jesse’s Girl”) and they sound great. Dialogue is very clean and consistent and though the surrounds weren’t 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. For those wanting “Thriller” in 5.1 sound – here you go.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Columbia/Tristar (or Sony as they’re now called) has really reached a low with this “new” edition. The audio commentaries were dropped that were included on the initial release, the outside is now bubble gum pink and, get this, is actually bubble gum scented. I’m sure the smell will disperse after a few months though, or at least I hope so. The deleted scenes are still intact for the most part and about the only thing “new” you’ll get are two featurettes. A cheesy 80’s Fashion Flashback is one of these and it’s about the best that the disc has to offer. Keep your old disc as it has more of what a DVD should offer not cheap gimmicks and pointless featurettes. While I’m on a rant, what was the reasoning behind this edition, anyway?