Paper Towns, while not great, has its moments with strong performances from Nat Wolff, Justice Smith and even Cara Delevingne and had enough entertainment value to keep my interest until the bittersweet end. The Blu-ray released by Fox offers good video/audio and the bonus features are decent enough.
Genre(s): Drama, Mystery
Fox | PG13 – 109 min. – $39.99 | October 20, 2015
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Plot Synopsis: Ever since they were children, Quentin (NAT WOLFF) has been in love with his enigmatic neighbor Margo (CARA DELEVINGNE). So when Margo recruits Quentin for a prank-filled night of adventure, Quentin leaps at the opportunity. But the next day, Margo suddenly disappears, leaving behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. When he goes on an epic road trip to find her — with his two best friends, Radar (JUSTICE SMITH) and Ben (AUSTIN ABRAMS) as well as one of Margo’s friends (HALSTON SAGE) and Radar’s girlfriend (JAZ SINCLAIR) —, Quentin ultimately learns the true meaning of love and friendship.
Going in I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from this movie. I’d never seen The Fault in Our Stars so I’m unfamiliar with author John Green and how his novels are adapted while the reviews for this seemed to be tepid, bordering on bad to disappointing for fans. When it was over, I can’t say I was blown away yet there’s a certain sincerity behind the message of living your life while you’re young.
Now, this isn’t to say Paper Towns doesn’t have its problems. For one, Margo, the character at the center, isn’t that likeable mainly because she experienced first-world problems running away from the situation, after she discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her with one of her friends, and the option to leave without telling anyone except for leaving clues for Quentin to follow for one simple reason which I won’t and can’t reveal without going in major spoilers. Needless to say, it was dumb. Again, I never read Green’s novel so perhaps there was more detail in fleshing it out there that wasn’t done in the adaptation but it wasn’t satisfying in an emotional way.
On the plus side, the performance from this young cast is perhaps one of the saving graces to go along with the middle section (road trip) that made this semi-enjoyable. Nat Wolff, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith and Halston Sage all shared great chemistry and even Cara Delevingne, in spite of playing a stuck up character, at least had a strange, even alluring charisma of her own.
Paper Towns was helmed by Jake Schreier following is successful freshman effort, Robot & Frank starring Frank Langella. Here, it’s apparent he’s making it strictly for the tween-MTV-watching crowd (modern, no music MTV that is) strewing indie-esque music throughout, perfectly placed for the scene at hand (I should note that I kind of dug the music, just not how it was used). In the end, I found this to be a flawed but perfectly fine movie so long as you don’t think too hard about Margo’s plan which stretches believability.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover. Inside is a standard DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Audio Commentary – Director Jake Schreier and Author/Executive Producer John Green provide a lively and entertaining track giving background and tid-bits on the project.
Deleted Scenes (3:54; HD) – There are four scenes included that were cut and while they are nothing phenomenal, they’re nice to watch but add nothing to the movie except the running time…
Alternate Scene “Shake it Off” (1:57; HD) is just a different take from the final version in which the boys, to pump themselves up to enter the abandoned room, sing the Taylor Swift song.
Paper Towns: Making Of (21:09; HD) is a 3-part behind-the-scenes featurette that includes on-set interviews with the cast, author and director and include topics like the “real” Agloe, New York and adapting the book into a movie.
John and Nat: Lighting Round (8:04; HD) is a Q&A with author John Green and star Nat Wolff.
John and Cara: Lightning Round (5:15; HD) – Yep, more of the same, but still fun.
Gag Reel (3:08; HD)
Promotional Featurettes: Van Chats (TRT 4:46; HD) are a collection of short interviews with the cast and author John Green sitting in the van answering questions while on the road.
Lastly we get a Gallery of still images and the Theatrical Trailer (2:26; HD).
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Fox releases Paper Towns presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and show with a pleasing 1080p high-definition transfer. Detail levels were clear and sharp while colors appeared to be natural never appearing blown up or oversaturated. However, compared with other teen-oriented ones (non-fantasy) are a tad darker so it’s not an entirely bright looking movie to begin with. The transfer is generally clean and no noticeable bouts of banding, aliasing or artifacts though it’s not exactly reference quality either.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The movie comes with a satisfactory DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track showcases clear dialogue throughout but given it is a drama, there’s not much depth to really show off save for a near-car crash. The most impressive aspect of this track is with the choice, and oft sad, music as well as Ryan Lott’s half-whimsical/half-haunting score, utilizes the front and rear channels.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Paper Towns, while not great, has its moments with strong performances from Nat Wolff, Justice Smith and even Cara Delevingne and had enough entertainment value to keep my interest until the bittersweet end. The Blu-ray released by Fox offers good video/audio and the bonus features are decent enough.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.