One of three popular Kevin Smith flicks that appeared in the recent Kevin Smith collection is that of Chasing Amy. Jay and Silent Bob are back and so are the chronicles of Bluntman and Chronic. However, the main focus is not on these characters in this flick as opposed to “Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back”. Kevin Smith fans are probably very happy with this release and thus they should be but the more times I watch this film over the years makes me realize this isn’t a classic. This isn’t a “Half Baked” or “Friday” by any means. Now I know the two of those are hardly comparable to the likes of Chasing Amy but even “Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back” isn’t in the same realm as a “Half Baked”. I know variety is the spice of life and I do love me the occasional Smith dosage so I’m not trying to really knock the film as it is very refreshing in deed. Just probably is not my cup of tea all the time.
This film came out though in the beginning of the rom-com era it seems and even compared to today’s titles of this nature its ahead of its time. The plot is crazy different than anything you have ever seen. You gotta give Smith props on sticking his ass out on the line and willing to try new things when other directors would not. Well, enough babbling from me here’s a breakdown of sorts spoiler free.
Holden (Ben Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee) are 30ish buds-since-High-School who have grown into the guy fantasy job of writing a hit comic book. They get to alternate working on “Bluntman and Chronic” with making personal appearances at fan conventions where they get paid to sign autographs.
At one of these conventions they hook up with another “graphic novelist”, Dwight Ewell’s Hooper X – who is constantly educating Holden and Banky about being black and being gay. Ewell steals all of his scenes because Hooper is a perfect mix of bravado and angst which sufficiently masks his inner conflict for being black and gay.
Hooper introduces our heroes to Alyssa Jones, portrayed in a career-making performance by Joey Lauren Adams. Alyssa is cute, funny, and talented so Holden falls for her in a big way. The catch comes with that Alyssa is a lesbian. Like Smith’s first feature Clerks the central conflict in “Chasing Amy” concerns one character’s difficulties accepting the “history” of the other romantic interest. Kevin Smith however does make this a truly unique Romantic Comedy and something I think all would enjoy at least once if they don’t mind the extensive foul humor and language.
Chasing Amy is brought to Blu-ray with a VC-1 1080p encode at 1.85:1. Although it’s the best transfer to date I must admit the PQ isn’t to die for. Will the PQ alone entice you to upgrade from your DVD version? Probably not, but if you’re a fan of the film then it’s the extra supplements that make you do just that, plus knowing it’s still the best transfer and audio track this film has seen to date. This wasn’t shot on the greatest film so that can be a big factor as if I’m correct it was shot on 16mm? None the less, there are bits of unintentional grain and cruddy quality moments in dark scenes since the film lacks of deep blacks. It’s really not as bad as I make it sound but you can definitely see the age in this film via its Blu-ray transfer. It is in no way reference quality and in fact would give any Blu-ray haters fuel to their fire of negatives if you showed this one off in your system at a viewing.
Chasing Amy comes with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio track. Although the audio clarity of dialouge can be heard greatly the track just doesn’t seem to impress. Sure its the greatest audio track for Chasing Amy to ever grace a media release but with a lot of scenes that had the moments to impress it lacked. The singing scene with Alissa is one for prime example. On the good side, the scene with Holden and Alissa out yelling in the rain was the best this release has ever gotten. The yelling seemd to come nice and strong through my fronts. Over all, the audio track isn’t to bad compared to other Blu-ray releases but for a DTS-HD Master I expected a bit more compared to the likes. Once again, still the best audio this release has ever gotten. Kudos.
Chasing Amy’s supplemental outing is where it’s at. Sure it’s missing some of its prior dvd extras but we did get a new audio commentary with Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier. Tracing Amy is a great watch as well along with the 10 years late featurette and new exclusive Tracing Amy & Was It Something I Said?
Audio Commentary: Writer/director Kevin Smith and producer Scott Mosier provide an all new audio commentary track.
Was It Something I Said? (HD, 18 minutes): The drama unfolds, a nice interview with Smith and Joey Lauren Adams about their relationship and the falling out the two had.
10 Years Later Q&A (SD, 28 minutes): They’re all there and this is a interesting and funny piece of a Q&A 10 years later.
Tracing Amy (HD, 82 minutes): Another new exclusive comes our way in a total overview of the production. The challenges of creating the film on a mere 200k budget and the appeal this film has garnered over the years. Smith comes direct at you in his straight forward approach and his eccentric ways. Great piece.
Deleted Scenes (SD, 25 minutes): Some nice deleted scenes that are a bit entertaining.
Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 minutes)
Outtakes (SD, 5 minutes): Just some simple and slightly funny outtakes.
If you think you might enjoy an honest romantic comedy that includes street language, frank discussions about sex and gay characters, then I highly recommend Chasing Amy. However, for the disc reviewed in whole this is probably a rent at best if not a diehard fan. Kevin Smith fans will love the bit of extras and the somewhat average upgrade in the A/V department coupled with some exclusive extras only to the Blu-ray disc. However, this title could’ve sounded better in its audio track and the video transfer even for this old film just didn’t seem up to snuff. Still a fun film that I’ve watched plenty times and the best version available but even the Criterion DVD comes close. Good deal if your getting this in the Kevin Smith collection since it’s a decent price compared to just purchasing this one solo.