Damien Chazelle‘s sophomore film La La Land has hit in-home release. As far as the film goes, our very own Pete Towe has written up a review of it when the film first hit theaters, a review I pretty much agree with for the most part. But this time around I’ll be reviewing the equally sensational La La Land Blu-ray combo pack. So enjoy the show!
The La La Land Blu-ray combo pack has over three hours of special features. That much extra content is impressive in itself but the really impressive part of the —– are the Blu-ray exclusives. On the blu-ray you get several featurettes: “Another Day of Sun: They Closed Down the Freeway”, “La La Land’s Great Party”, “Ryan Gosling: Piano Student” “Before Whiplash: Damien Chazelle’s Passion Project”, “The Music of La La Land”, John Legend’s Acting Debut”, The Look of Love: Designing La La Land“, “Epilogue: The Romance of the Dream”, “Damien & Justin Sing: The Demos”, and a marketing gallery. I’ll breakdown some of these features a bit.
“Another Day of Sun: They Closed Down the Freeway” takes us behind-the-scenes of the very in your face opening scene of the film. The opening number took place on an L.A. freeway. If you’ve driven in L.A. then you just how busy those freeways can get. The city of Los Angeles allowed for a portion of the freeway to be closed down for a couple of days in order for Chazelle to get his ideal opening scene shot. Well as you can imagine, it takes a lot to put together a scene for a musical which involves dancers dancing in, out and between cars, a freeway, traffic noise, extras and having to do all that before the sun goes down. The featurette shows just how Chazelle and the crew had to deal with all of those issues, even explains that some of the shots that he wanted weren’t possible due to certain issues getting in the way.
“Ryan Gosling: Piano Student” reveals how Gosling learned how to play piano just for the role. Rather than having a pianist stand-in for the piano shots, Gosling practiced the songs on piano for about 4 months hours at a time. If that isn’t dedication, then I don’t know what is.
My favorite out of the featurettes was “Before Whiplash: Damien Chazelle’s Passion Project”. In this featurette Damien discusses how and why he wanted to make this film so badly and what it took to get a musical like La La Land made. From the title of the featurette you obviously find out that Chazelle has been writing La La Land before his debut film Whiplash. He and Justin Hurwitz, the composer of the film, began writing the script years ago after they met in a band. Chazelle explained that he made Whiplash first because it was a smaller project that a film company could backup a lot easier than they could back a huge musical from a rookie director.
The features included on the DVD are limited to commentary from Damien Chazelle and Justin Hurwitz, “Another Day of Sun”, “Ryan and Emma: Third Time’s the Charm”, “La La Land’s Love Letter to Los Angeles”, and Song Selection, all of which are also on the Blu-ray.
All of the featurettes are not just for fans but I feel like they are catered more towards the aspiring director, writer, actor, dancer, producer, composer etc who are out there hoping to fulfill some big dreams of theirs. It’s what made me love the featurettes as much as I did.
When it comes to sound and quality of the film on Blu-ray it’s amazing. The vibrant scenes are as gorgeous as they could be. This musical was equally made for the big screen as it was for in-home enjoyment. Obviously the bigger the screen the better but its stunning visuals are still as beautiful as they were in theaters. The blu-ray is 1080p high def 16×9 widescreen. When watching this at home, I had my sound bar and surrounded sound on at a pretty high volume and was crystal clear. The audio is Dolby Atmos with 2.0 Dolby digital audio optimized for late-night listening, which not many blu-rays contain. I could only imagine how great this film would be on 4k, which is also available. So if you did purchase it on 4K, please let us know what you thought of it.
The packaging of the La La Land Blu-ray combo pack catches your eyes just as much as the film’s musical scenes do. It has a cardboard foil dust cover which turns multiple colors as you move the box and it eve has a 3D feel with its title on the front box art.
As far as the cost goes, the suggest retail prices are: $42.99 (4K), $39.99 (blu-ray combo pack), and $29.95 (DVD). These are all pretty pricey in my opinion but often retail stores will have pretty decent prices within the first week of a new release. So I’m betting that this in-home release will be no different and you can probably purchase it at a fair price first week of its release.
When it comes down to it, I would highly recommend to go out and purchase the La La Land Blu-ray combo pack if you have the money to do so. Though it may be pricey, you do get a lot of content with it. You get the Blu-ray, DVD and a digital HD copy plus all of the extra features attached. Not only is this one of my new all-time favorite films but it is also one of my favorite blu-ray releases.