Mean Girls 2024 - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Mean Girls


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Movie: :3stars:
4K Video: :4stars:
Video:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3stars:
Final Score: :3.5stars:




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Movie

Yeah, yeah, I know. Remakes are the new it thing these days whether we agree that they’re good or not. I’m fully aware that many of our most popular films over the last 60 or 70 years have been remakes themselves, but it seems we’re living in a day where studio execs follow the “safe” pattern of remaking anything and everything that was popular 20 years ago these days. Some good, some bad, and some that are sort of in between. But whatever the reason, most of us who grew up on 2004’s Mean Girls will all agree on one thing. No one was asking for a remake of Mean Girls.

Not going to lie here, but I’ve always had a mild soft spot in my hear for the 2004 Lindsey Lohnan teen classic. It wasn’t exactly my cup of tea back in 2004 when I was graduating college, but it still captured the heart and tone of the early 2000s, so I’ve rewatched it over the years utilizing it as a bit of a time machine to my young adult days. It was fun, sparkly, had a great cast of up and coming actresses (well, except for poor Lindsey who infamously tanked her career a few years later) with great chemistry. Heck, the film even inspired a modern day Broadway musical production which actually has garnered some positive results over the years. This new version attempts to sort of bridge the gap between the two, taking Renee Rapp of the Broadway play and putting her in a feature film variant as the nasty Regina George, and using Tina Fey’s writing skills (who also co wrote and co starred in the 2004 film) to try and recapture that lightning in a bottle for a modern day generation of teens (and boy howdy, have things changed since 2004).

Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) is the new girl at school. She’s slightly nerdy and awkward due to being home schooled her whole life while her research scientist mother pulled her across the globe, and a modern day High School is NOTHING like what she grew up with. She’s first pulled into the outcasts circle with Janis (Auili’i Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the Disney film) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), but her life changes (for better or for worse) when the gorgeous and catty Regina George (Renee Rapp) and her group of “plastic” super hot/super popular friends decide to take an interest in her. At first Cady simply wants to be friends with everyone, but after finding out that Regina is more than willing to destroy Cady’s hopes of a teen romance with Aaron (Christopher Briney), she, Janis and Damian hatch a plant to ruin Regina George and pull her off of the pedestal that she’s been put upon.

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If you’ve seen the original 2004 film, then you know what happens next. Cady sets out on a patch of petty destruction, placing well timed wedges in between Regina and her minions, Karen (Avantika) and Gretchen (Bebe Wood), only to find herself slipping directly into the empty seat that Regina once held as queen jackass of the school. It’s a cautionary tale, but one that’s told as a musical this go around instead of a straight forward film. And also one that suffers from an identity crisis of sorts.

On one hand I sort of dig the musical nature of the film. With Renee Rapp crossing over from Broadway to feature film adaptation the flick sort of tries to bridge the gap between the two genres. Sony, dance, and even interpretative art are carefully (and rather copiously) inserted throughout the film to push the narrative forward instead of simply telling it. At the same time writer Tina Fey (or possibly the directors) have a hard time figuring out whether it wants to be a remake of the original, or a direct clone with a few modern tweaks here or there. It sort of reminds me how I felt about the live action Beauty and the Beast film with Emma Watson. With both that film and this one I really struggled with near beat for beat plot points stripped from the original film. Yet at the same time it seems to want to play to modern audiences as it deals with cyber bullying, cell phone culture, and how social media pretty much shapes our opinions of people. Some moments really felt fresh and new for a 20 year difference audience, but I constantly was staring at LITERALLY word for word copying of the 2004 film plot points. Down to having the same gym talk with Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey), and using the Kalteen bars to make Regina George gain weight. So, I guess you could say that the film has a hard time defining itself, as it seems to want to simply be a modern day clone of the original, yet also has brief glimpses of originality that seems to be at odds with the “taking it safe remake” end result of the film’s narrative journey.

However, the good points for the film are still strong enough to allow some solid enjoyment. Angourie Rice is solid as Cady, and is the perfect choice to play Jenna Fischer’s daughter, as she looks and sounds eerily like Ms. Fischer. Not to mention Tim Meadows doing his best to steal scenes like he did back in 2004 as Mr. Duvall. But the biggest and best boon to the film is Renee Rapp. Renee is an absolutely POWER HOUSE of a Broadway performer and singer, so she steps effortlessly back into the role as Regina George, and she does it with style. The woman has a larger than life presence that simply commands you peel your eyes away from everything else and stare directly at her whenever she’s on screen. It’s amazing, not simply because of her voice (and she does a phenomenal job with the singing), but her very presence is just that massive and intense when she steps into the scene that you almost see her as the star over Cady in many ways.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for sexual material, strong language, and teen drinking.




4K Video: :4stars: Video:
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Shot on Arri Alexa cameras at 4.6K resolution and then transferred to a 4K digital intermediate for the master, Mean Girls looks very solid in 2160p. However, weirdly enough, it’s not as glossy, nor as spectacular, as I would have expected for a 2024 digitally shot film. It’s given a very stylistic look, rife with heavy pinks and a neutral looking color grading in the classrooms, but also one that doesn’t really stand out in terms of fine detailing either. There’s a mild softness to the image that is punctuated by some minor digital noise that makes it look a bit less glossy then I expected. Colors are grand though, with a HUGE burst of that primary pink with the Dolby Vision enhancements, and stunning black levels (except for those minor bits of digital noise). Fine details themselves are generally quite good, with strong facial nuances and clothing details, though, and while that softness makes sure It’s not PERFECT, Mean Girls still looks quite nice in 4K.








Audio: :4.5stars:
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I originally thought that Dolby Atmos was a bit overkill for a comedy like Mean Girls, but boy was I wrong. The Atmos track (7.1 Dolby TrueHD if you’re not Atmos capable) is a powerhouse of a mix, really diving head first in to the musical aspects of the film (a full 45+ minutes of the run time is pure music). Foot stomping, body shaking, rip roaring, and absolutely gut wrenching musical numbers make full use of the expanded sound stage here. Vocals are crisp and strongly located in the front of the room ,but those surrounds and over heads get a very beefy workout with the very physical and visceral musical numbers throughout. The party scene where Regina and Aaron have their little “get back together” is probably one of the most shockingly impressive use of surround activity for a song based scene, and makes FULL use of every single channel.







Extras: :3stars:
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• A New Age of Mean Girl— Tina Fey, the cast, and crew discuss a new take on the Mean Girls story and how the drama at North Shore high would unfold in the age of social media.
• Song and Dance— A behind-the-scenes look of what it took to bring the big musical numbers of Mean Girls (2024) to life. We hear from the directors, the choreographer, and the cast about how they prepped and reimagined the classic film with musical elements.
• The New Plastics— The new cast dives into their memories of watching the original film, their favorite moments/lines, what character they identified with, and what it meant to be cast in the musical.
• Gag Reel— Some of the best moments happen behind the scenes!
• Not My Fault – Music Video with Reneé Rapp and Megan Thee Stallion
• Extended Scene – I'm Having a Small Get Together at My House
• Mean Girls Sing-Along with Select Songs











Final Score: :3.5stars:


I said it above, and I’ll reiterate here again. Mean Girls 2024 tries too hard to replicate the lightning in a bottle scenario that was Mean Girls 2004, and really struggles to gain it’s own identity. Certain parts were fascinating and unique, but the over reliance on near word for ford copy of the 2004 film leaves very little room for the flick to ever really grab ahold of that identity and say “this is mine”. The 4K UHD looks and sounds very good, with a decent array of extras as well (which is surprising, as extras have been getting slimmer and slimmer every year). Fans of the movie may want to give it a shot, but it’s an interesting watch and will really be dependent on how much you love the original.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Angourie Rice, Renee Rapp, Auli'i Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey, Tina Fey, Bebe Wood, Avantika, Jenna Fischer, Lindsey Lohan, Tim Meadows
Directed by: Samantha Jayne, Arturo Pereze Jr.
Written by: Tina Fey, Rosalind Wiseman
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), German, Spanish (Latin), Spanish (Castilian), French (Canada), French, Italian DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 112 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: April 30th, 2024
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Recommendation: Interesting Watch

 
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