Mallrats (Special Edition) – Blu-ray Review
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Film Title: Mallrats (1995)
Release Date: 2020
Rating: R & NOT RATED
Runtimes: 95 minutes (Theatrical), 122 minutes (Extended)
Region Coding: Region A
Distributor: Arrow Video
Audio Format: DTS-HD MA 5.1 & 2.0 Stereo
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Version Reviewed: 2020 Arrow Video Blu-ray
Blu-ray Release Date: 10/13/20
Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Claire Forlani, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Renée Humphrey, Jason Mewes, Ethan Suplee, Priscilla Barnes, Michael Rooker, Stan Lee
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Full Blu-ray Tech Specs at bottom
“Mallrats” was a 1995 comedy written & directed by Kevin Smith. Smith is best known for also writing & directing the films “Clerks” (1994), “Chasing Amy” (1997), “Dogma” (1999), “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” (2001), “Clerks II” (2006), “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” (2008), “Red State” (2011), and “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” (2019) — to just name a few. The film was produced by Smith’s longtime friend Scott Mosier, who also had a small part (“Roddy”) in the film.
This film, Mallrats, was Kevin’s sophomore effort [second film] and for it, he worked with a major studio, along with the production studio Gramercy Pictures. That also meant Kev would get to work with another producer and that was the legendary late James Jacks (AKA Jim Jacks). Jacks was best known for his work producing other films like “Raising Arizona” (1987), “Tombstone” (1993), “Dazed and Confused” (1994), “A Simple Plan” (1998), and “The Mummy” (1999).
The story here involved two guys seemingly around the ages of 18 to 20, who both have one thing in common that brings them together and lands them at the mall — of all places.
First, there’s “TS Quint” (Jeremy London) who — in the theatrical version — arrives to meet his girlfriend “Brandie” (Claire Forlani) at her house. When TS arrives he’s expecting to have Brandie packed and ready to head off with him on a trip. Thing’s don’t go at all as TS expects they would. In fact, they go dreadfully wrong as Brandie’s father “Jared Svenning” (Michael Rooker) has insisted that she fill in for a girl on his public access gameshow being taped later that day. This upsets TS Quint and he says some things about Brandie and her relationship with her father that leave the two breaking up. This is no spoiler, in fact, it’s the very basic plot of the film.
Next, you have “Brodie” (Jason Lee) who loves to collect comic books and play Sega. As we meet Brodie he’s having a really bad morning himself. His girlfriend “Rene” (Shannen Doherty) has just woke up from sleeping over at his mother’s house with him. She’s had it and decides to give him a speech about how he’s going nowhere by sitting in his mother’s basement and then leaves him with a Dear John letter. She dumps his ass. After Brodie is finished experiencing that and framing his Dear John letter his ex-girlfriend left him with, he’s greeted by the sound of his doorbell and his friend TS Quint arriving. TS is now too in the framing business, so-to-speak, to quote the film slightly there. Again, there are zero “spoilers” in what I’m telling you as it is in the basic plot to the film on most every synopsis you will read on IMDb or on the back of a home video release of the film.
So, essentially you now have TS Quint and his friend Brodie sitting on a couch relating over the fact that they both have been dumped by the girlfriends. Brodie is a very wise man, and partially a smart ass, so what he says is pretty profound to us (the viewer) but not so much to Quint. Brodie suggests that they get over their troubles by making a visit to the local mall! Hey, it was 1995. So, off in TS Quint’s car, they go to the mall. They arrive and are greeted by a true cast of characters. First, there’s the always friendly and not at all weird and creepy “Shannon” (Ben Affleck) who is the manager at a store in the mall called The Fashionable Male. That name of a store alone should tell you what kind of sick perverted man this guy is. It’s no real wonder that Shannon and Brodie seem to have a conflict, but there are reasons as to why they might have even more of one later on.
The mall has such a great cast of characters, as an ensemble, and you get the real heart and soul of those from folks like “Willam” (Ethan Suplee). Willam, as Brodie and TS Quint first run into him, is sitting and staring at one of those pictures where if you look long enough you’ll see a hidden image. Let’s just say that Willam is having one very hard time seeing the sailboat that everyone keeps talking about. Then, you have the also very vital duo of “Jay and Silent Bob” (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith). These three men are all vital to this story, which will take place almost entirely at this mall. There’s also Brodie’s friend “Tricia” (Renée Humphrey) who’s working on writing a novel they meet and she will play a vital part in the story as well.
The guys, Brodie and TS Quint will have to stop the previously mentioned game show that Brandie’s dad is putting on in the mall from happening, or at least try to. That’s essentially the plot of the film. These two are both trying to win their ex-girlfriends back and they both also just-so-happen to be in the mall. Along the way, you’ll meet some other characters like “Gwen” (Joey Lauren Adams), The Easter Bunny, the mall security guard “La Fours” (Sven-Ole Thorsen). There’s a whole lot of fun and witty dialogue here plus you even get to see the late Comic Book legend Stan Lee in a film cameo as himself.
This film deals with a lot of issues that you could easily relate to in your twenties and I feel you can look back on and laugh at even more-so now as you get older. “Mallrats” was a film that didn’t have any box office success at all. In fact, it had the polar opposite of success and was not at all a good investment for the studio [Universal] based on its return at the box office. It would however go on to become a cult classic once it made its way onto home video with VHS, DVD, and then eventually HD-DVD (2007) and Blu-ray Disc via Universal (2014). The film has now as of 2020 received a new “Special Edition” Arrow Video Blu-ray release to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary. This release is what I’ll be covering below in the video, audio, and bonus materials sections. But first, for those who have never seen the film or those who want to see the first little bit, minus the opening credits and one scene, you have the “extended preview” that Universal has posted today on YouTube (featured below).
Movie Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)
“Mallrats” on its latest 2020 “Special Edition” Blu-ray release via this Arrow Video version, is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio for all three of the versions of the film featured here spanning across two discs.
This comes on a BD-50 (50 gigabytes dual-layered) Blu-ray Disc. To get rather a bit technical for a moment here, on the first disc the Theatrical Cut of the film itself is using 28.4 gigabytes itself out of the 41.65 GB total used entirely on that disc. Next, on the second disc, you get the Extended Cut of the film using 33.8 gigabytes itself, as well as the TV Cut which is using 6.4 gigabytes itself, out of the 48.74 GB total used entirely on that second disc. Now, that is all in comparison to the original 2014 Blu-ray which used 16.7 gigabytes for the Theatrical Cut of the film as well as 20.9 gigabytes for the Extended Cut, for a 46.0 gigabytes total, on just one BD-50. So, there’s some technical food for thought for you.
This movie was shot on 35mm film using Panavision cameras and spherical lenses. I’ll below be offering you some comparisons between the original 2014 Blu-ray and this new 2020 Blu-ray, via a video slideshow on the site’s YouTube channel as well as some individually picked images as examples below.
Overall, the director and cinematographer approved restoration here of the film looks absolutely awesome. This is one definitive improvement visually of this film, especially to someone like myself who grew up owning this film on VHS, sadly never on Laserdisc, on DVD several times, and eventually owned it on the (ill-fated) HD-DVD format and more recently on the previous 2014 Blu-ray. You don’t have to be that big of a fan of the film (as that) to know this is an improvement, by just looking at those comparisons and noticing the subtle but effective changes to the color timing, the improvements in the amount (from a new scan and restoration) of detail found in shots (especially facial close-ups), and see it with finally a solid black level. This may be a silly little comedy to some, even to the film’s director (jokingly), but this got the right type of restoration treatment for both the Theatrical and Extended cuts of the film. The TV cut is a totally different story and I’ll get to that later on, way further below, in the bonus materials.
This comes as a very nice improvement over that 2014 Blu-ray release. I’m happy with the fact that both of the primary cuts (versions) of this film are presented on two separate discs this time around as well and as a result get to have equally impressive visual presentations. That said, this looks great and is by far the best I’ve ever seen the film look or even really imagined that it ever would look. There’s just the right amount of film grain present here all throughout each version of the film. I have to say, as a huge fan of this film, I’m very happy with how this looks and it’s a damn good improvement over the previous release. That being said, this earns itself a damn-near perfect 4.75 rating for video quality. Yes, you read that correctly. Kudos to the folks at Arrow Video and to Kevin Smith as well as his DP (director of photography) for bringing their approval of this new restoration effort.
Video Quality Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)
Audio here, on the 2020 Arrow Video Blu-ray of Mallrats is presented in both DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (with a DTS 5.1 core) and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo (with a DTS 2.0 Stereo core) as options. That’s new, as the Stereo mix was never available on the 2014 Blu-ray release, nor the original HD-DVD. It’s probably not been available since the VHS days? This time you actually get to hear a Stereo mix and it’s in the very same lossless format as the 5.1 surround mix. So, that’s pretty cool for those wanting to hear it on their 2.0 configuration or on a soundbar capable of decoding the format.
As mentioned, this comes in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 presentation, just in the very same format and configuration that was featured on the original 2014 Blu-ray release. However, is it the exact same 5.1 mix that Blu-ray (an essentially original HD-DVD) had, or has it been remixed by Arrow Video? Well, let’s see. It lists both the Theatrical Cut and the Extended Cut as containing the “Original 5.1 surround sound” (as stated on the packaging) as well as 2.0 Stereo. I think it means by original, that it’s the original DTS sound mix that the film received in some theaters back in 1995 using the DTS audio format. That could mean that Arrow Video has decided to slightly rework this 5.1 mix? Well, I’ll be able to tell you that by the end of this section. Let’s factor in some things that I noticed as differences in contrast between this 2020 version and the 2014 version on Blu-ray in terms of their 5.1 lossless (DTS-HD MA) surround sound mixes.
First off, this movie uses a lot of dialogue and it also has one killer soundtrack that it uses instead of an original score. So, as things start out you’ll notice dialogue is precisely delivered from the center channel in the 5.1 mix and spot-on in the Stereo 2.0 mix. Next, in the 5.1 mix, the music from the film’s Soundtrack is what gets a lot of the rear channel play here along with some sound effects. The sound effects also get some nice use in the front channels as well as bring us some bass via the subwoofer on many occasions. It’s nothing too over-the-top here ever in terms of sound but it’s impressive enough to do more than get the job done. Getting the new option to have that retro 2.0 Stereo lossless mix is a nice thing to see, once again. That all being said I have to say the new 2020 Special Edition Arrow Video Blu-ray here was well-worthy of a 4.5 rating for audio quality, in my opinion.
Audio Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
All bonus materials on this release, are presented in both SD (standard definition) and HD video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo — as noted below.
Disc 1 bonus materials, on the first Blu-ray, along with the Theatrical Cut (95 minutes runtime) of the film, includes the following:
- Audio Commentary with Cast and Crew — includes Kevin Smith (writer/director) Jason Lee (Brodie), Jason Mewes (Jay), Ben Affleck (Shannon), and Scott Mosier (Roddy/producer).
- NEW Optional Introduction by Kevin Smith (12:31 – HD)
- NEW “My Mallrats Memories” (29:58 – HD) is, as Arrow Video describes it as, an all-new interview with Kevin Smith sharing his memories on the making of Mallrats. That’s totally what you get here from a man looking back on a film he made 25 years ago, that I’ve come to love, as even he has. It’s one excellent interview that any self-respecting fan should not miss. 30 minutes, almost, Kevin talks about the film in this featurette!! That cool enough for you? It was for me.
- NEW “Mr. Mallrats: A Tribute to Jim Jacks” (12:57 – HD) is hosted by the film’s director Kevin Smith discussing his late film, Jim Jacks, who served as a producer on this film, as well as on so many countless others like …
- NEW “Blunt Talk” (9:59 – HD) is a recent interview with Jason Mewes (Jay of Jay and Silent Bob). This is an absolute blast for fans, and Mewes is up to discuss some of his memories of working on this film.
- NEW “Hollywood of the North” (10:13 – HD) is a newly produced animated making-of documentary featuring Minnesota crew members who worked on the film — as Arrow Video states in their description. That’s a great way of putting it, and I couldn’t really top that. This is downright awesome. I really enjoyed this new addition, just like all of the others Arrow Video has put on this new Special Edition Blu-ray release of the film.
- NEW “When We Were Punks” (6:08 – HD) is a recent audio interview with the film’s DP (director of photography) David Klein. It’s very cool to hear him looking back on the film all these some 25 years later. He reflects on his own personal life and how he became involved with Kevin Smith and working on his films over the years. Again, this is an audio interview that is put with a photo gallery of shots from the behind-the-scenes of the film. We’re living in a time where some typical sit-down interviews are not going to always happen for film releases on home video these days, so this is very acceptable. And it works, proving to be very informative and enjoyable for a fan of the film. “You shoot it like you’re stealing it.” That is one of my favorite lines he says here, looking back on shooting this film.
- Deleted Scenes (1:02:48 – SD) has the film’s director Kevin Smith, in an audio commentary, discussing these deleted scenes with Kevin’s friend Vincent Pereira (View Askew historian). They explain how these scenes were originally supposed to go in the film and why they were essentially cut out in the end. These are, well, lengthy. I mean this runs for over an hour. If you’ve never watched these over the years on the DVD or Blu-ray from 2014, you’re in for a whole hell of a lot of fun. Some involve only Kevin’s original screenplay and not actual scenes that were shot. However, there are actual scenes here that were filmed and a lot of them appeared in the Extended Cut of the film. However, some didn’t even make that cut. So, it’s great to have these all here, for the truest of fans of this film.
- “Outtakes and Behind the Scenes Footage” (8:12 – SD) is really rough in terms of video quality and is in 4×3 with black pillars on the sides. It’ll take you back to the VHS days. The outtakes are kind of like bloopers at times, with some laughing following. This shit is funny as hell.
- “Cast Interviews from the Original Set” (8:37 – SD) features folks like Jason Lee (Brodie), Kevin Smith (writer/director), Shannen Doherty (Rene), Jeremy London (TS Quint), Scott Mosier (producer), Michael Rooker (Jared Svenning), and Claire Forlani (Brandie).
- “Erection of an Epic: The Making of Mallrats“ (22:09 – SD) is an archival featurette that served as a retrospective on the previous 2014 Blu-ray and DVD releases of the film. This includes interviews with cast and crew members, looking back on the making of the movie itself. Those interviewed here in this featurette include Kevin Smith (writer/director), James R. Jacks (producer), Jason Lee (Brodie), Scott Mosier (producer), Jeremy London (TS Quint), Shannen Doherty (Rene), Kenneth Turan (film critic), Janet Maslin (film critic), Ben Affleck (Shannon), Ethan Suplee (Willam), David Klein (director of photography), Jason Mewes (Jay), Renee Humphrey (Tricia), Stan Lee (comic book legend at Marvel), Sean Daniel (producer), Cotty Chubb (executive producer), Paul Dini (television/comic book writer), Michael Rooker (Jared Svenning), and Don Phillips (casting director).
- “Q&A with Kevin Smith” (9:01 – SD) is an archival featurette that previously appeared on the 2014 Blu-ray release and even DVD release, as it was filmed for the film’s 10th anniversary — a long time ago, in a galaxy not too far away. I wish they would have included the original 90-minute roughly screening of the film for the 10th anniversary that screening had, and get to hear it as like an audio commentary track with the audience reactions. Still, this proves to be great and Kevin offers up a nice retrospective that now is archival and dated cause it was filmed all those years ago. I don’t understand why the actual Q&A with the panel is not here. It’s on the Blu-ray that Universal released back in 2014, and that strikes me as odd.
- “Build Me Up Buttercup” Music Video (3:38 – SD) as performed by The Goops, was directed by Kevin Smith. It also features Jay and Silent Bob. This rocks, still to this very day, folks.
- Trailer (2:23 – HD) is in 4×3 with black pillar bars on the sides, but it is actually in high def.
Disc 2 bonus materials, on the second Blu-ray, along with the Extended Cut (122 minutes runtime) of the film, includes the following:
- Extended Cut of the film (2:01:50 – HD) features an optional Introduction by Kevin Smith (11:00 – SD). This is the original intro that came with the DVD and previously (2014) Blu-ray release of the film.
- The TV cut of the film (1:25:31 – HD) is one of the funniest things you’ll ever witness, as it features some of the worst overdubs I’ve ever heard for a TV version of a film. This comes presented in both 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo sound options. This features a NEW Optional Introduction by Kevin Smith (4:24 – HD). This comes with the following warning: “The TV cut of the film contains a few instances where alternate take was used in its assembly. Unfortunately, the original film elements have either been lost or destroy over the years. These takes have been inserted using the best possible elements available.” — Arrow Video
- “Soundtrack EPK” (4:02 – SD) has Kevin Smith (writer/director) and Scott Mosier (producer) promoting the film’s Soundtrack. For those who don’t know, EPK is short for an electronic press kit.
- “Dailies” (1:59:35 – SD) are daily shots from the set, of rough footage that had not yet been edited and you get a whole almost 2 hours of it here. Be warned, though, as this does appear to comes from a VHS source. It’s really bad quality, there’s no way around it, but this is very cool to see for a true fan of this film. It’s hard to watch though, and probably best left for the biggest of fans.
- “Stills Galleries,” which can be navigated with the chapter forward (>>|) and chapter backward (|<<) buttons on your remote, include:
- “Behind The Scenes Stills” (2:27 – HD) has 148 total images.
- “Comics” (0:14 – HD) has 15 total images.
Physical bonus material here includes the collectible slipcover, as well as the reverse cover art that features the film’s original 1995 poster art as an option (pictured further below). It also features new art (also pictured below) for the exterior packaging. Other physical extras include:
- A Collector’s Booklet featuring a new essay about the film written by Philip Kemp
- A Fold-out Poster of the famous Blueprints for “Operation Drive-By” & “Operation Dark Knight” as featured in the film used by Jay & Silent Bob
The bonus materials here are very impressive, looking back to the previous 2014 Blu-ray release which came with only the two versions of the film in a standard case and lacked even a slipcover. The bonus materials from back then (on the 2014 Blu-ray) have almost all been ported over here to this new 2020 version on Blu-ray from Arrow Video. Plus, you’ll get tons of new intros, extras, and finally the TV cut of the film — a laugh riot of voice dubbing for censors.
The only two things missing here are the “Mallrats: The Reunion” and the “Archival Easter Eggs” which appeared on the 2014 Blu-ray release from Universal, as well as previous DVD releases. These included a 50 minute Q&A panel that the cast and crew did for the tenth anniversary of the film and then some older interviews as the Easter eggs that totaled up to 8 minutes. It’s a shame we don’t get this on this release, but you can see how they might have run out of room to have included it? Still, that being said, if you have the original 10th anniversary DVD, original HD-DVD, or Blu-ray — you’ll want to hold on to those for those specific extras. It’s not a deal-breaker or anything so-to-speak here but it is something I found to be missing that is very enjoyable. Again, these are not found on this Blu-ray release.
Bonus Materials Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)
“Mallrats” as a film, just celebrating its 25th anniversary, this past year, proves to continue to be relevant and funny as hell to me even now as an adult who grew up watching this film, at least over 21 of those years. That’s crazy to think about, first off, as even Kevin Smith makes mention of in the all-new intro here found on the bonus materials (mentioned above). This was just a great film about two guys who both were dumped by their girlfriends, yet end up in a mall with them and try to win them back. The performances here from Jason Lee, Jeremy London, Claire Forlani, Shannen Doherty, Jason Mewes, Michael Rooker, Ethan Suplee, and Ben Affleck are all unforgettable. This film also had one of the most memorable early cameos by comic book legend Stan Lee playing himself, which itself is the sheer definition of unforgettable.
Video here on this new 2020 Arrow Video “Special Edition” of the film has changed up as the movie has received a restoration effort that was approved by the film’s director Kevin Smith as well as by his director of photography. It comes with a nice improvement in terms of the amount of detail, film grain, a change in color timing, accurate flesh tones, and finally a solid black level. It’s a damn-near perfect 1080p HD video presentation of the film and by far the best that I’ve ever seen “Mallrats” ever look. I grew up watching this on VHS, so it’s a pretty big improvement looking back from there, to the DVD, to the HD-DVD, the eventual 2014 Blu-ray, and now this release.
Audio here is impressive you not only get the 5.1 surround sound presentation found on the previous 2014 release on Blu-ray but you also get a lossless 2.0 Stereo mix as an option as well. That’s just cool to have as an option. The surround mix is what’s for me though, and it still manages to impress me just as much these years later.
Bonus materials on this release are very impressive and bring with the 25th anniversary of the film lots of new content such as intros and retrospectives by the film’s writer/director Kevin Smith. There’s a new interview with Jason Mewes (“Jay”) as well, and even more, newly created content just for this release. The extras from the previous 2014 Blu-ray and DVD releases have almost all been ported over, except for two things I’ve noted above in the bonus section. Still, it’s something to take into consideration, but this offers an excellent set of extras on the two-disc set itself and in the set itself with physical extras.
Overall this new 2020 “Special Edition” Blu-ray release of “Mallrats” from the folks at Arrow Video proves to be a recommended upgrade for anyone who previously owned this film in all areas, video quality, audio quality, and bonus materials — even if it’s lacking a few things I mentioned up further above. Fans of this film are going to love what they get, and it’s as simple as that.
In terms of Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.75 (out of 5) for video quality
4.5 (out of 5) for audio quality
4.75 (out of 5) for bonus materials