|Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, The|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Wednesday, 12 November 2008|
Three years later Warner Bros. brings us a sequel. This is one sequel that could have only happened if all the original actors resumed their roles. Thankfully, that is the case here. Unfortunately, it is not quite enough. The sequel tries to cover too much. Each girl's crisis seems to fall second to something else. Ultimately, the film gets to where it is going. However, the road there is a bumpy one.
Amber Tamblyn returns as Tibby. In the previous film, her humanness emerged after befriending a dying 12 year-old girl. Here in the sequel, Tibby is attending NYU's film school and dating Brian (the king of the arcade game in the first film). She suffers from a pregnant scare and ultimate happiness in life.
America Ferrera, better known as Ugly Betty, returns as Carmen Lowell. She is attending Yale and spends her summer in Vermont at a drama camp. She discovers an unknown acting talent and deals with the feeling of alienation by her friends.
Blake Lively, who has gone on to join the cast of "Gossip Girl" returns to her role as Bridget Vreeland. She has moved on to play soccer for Brown University. Over the summer she goes on an archeological dig in Turkey. Still haunted by her mom's suicide and having discovered letters sent to her from her grandmother hidden by her father, she leaves Turkey to visit her estranged grandmother in Alabama. She finally comes to terms with what really happened in her family's past.
And finally, Alexis Bledel, one side of the brillant "Gilmore Girls" duo, returns as Lena Kaligaris. She attends the Rhode Island School of Design, and spends the summer taking a still life drawing class. She deals with a new flame and the haunting of her previous Greek love.
The girls spend the summer apart, but resume sending the magical jeans to each other each week. The pants are questioned as to the miracles that it may no longer contain. Still, the pants bring the girls together in the end. But due to the unfortunate end of the pants, the girls must maintain their friendship from then on by themselves. That's right, don't expect a "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 3."
Warner Bros. provides us with a 1080p/VC-1 video transfer on a BD-25 disc. The video quality is decent. It is lacking though in some of the areas that a film is its recentness should have. First, the black levels are a bit weak. The image is flatter than many Blu-ray presentations. The details are hit and miss. The opening sequence is an extreme close-up of the jeans. The detail here is exquisite. Every individual thread can be seen. I thought that this was a good sign for the quality of the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most of the film is soft due to the digital noise reduction that is taking place. The principle objects in a scene are full of the details. However, the details in the foreground and background flatten out and become burred. The colors are consistent, but lack that real eye-popping presence. The sequences that take place in Greece however, due have streaking colors. There is a bit of film grain still present despite the DNR. Luckily, there are no edge enhancements or compression/motion artifacts. The biggest drawback to the video presentation is the inconsistency. At times the films truly demonstrates the potential of Blu-ray video. At other times the video quality suffers for one or all of the drawbacks described above. Still, the video is an upgrade over the standard DVD.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. There is not much for this audio track to handle. The LFE channel is pretty much non-existent, not that it is called upon. The surround channels are also not engaging. However, the transfer is fairly accurate. The reason for this, is that there is one scene that contains a frightening thunder/lightning storm. During this sequence the surrounds are filled and the LFE channel comes charging in. There is not much call for dynamics, but the interjection of the above scene certainly will catch you off-guard. The dialogue is clean and audible. Overall, the dialogue lacks some presence and clarity, the crispness. The audio track is solid for what it is.
The Blu-ray does not present much in the way of bonus materials. There is no director or cast audio commentary, which is disappointing. All the features are presented in high definition. First, there is a featurette, "Go Jump Off a Cliff." This featurette goes behind the scenes of the ending that wasn't part of the original script. There is a Gage Reel that contains some entertaining moments. The last feature is a collection of a few deleted scenes. They are not anything special. Unfortunately, the director's introduction to each deleted scene is not optional. The introduction is longer than any of the deleted scenes. There is also a Digital Copy provided on a separate DVD disc.
"Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" is a heart-warming film about a band of girls. It is definitely a typical sequel. Teenage girls will most likely enjoy this film, but it doesn't have the cohesive and engaging story that the first film had. The video and audio quality are decent, but nothing to fawn over.