Adaptation Blu-ray Review

'Paper Towns' Blu-ray Review: Part mystery, part romance, all teen drama

October 30, 2015Ben MK

Take one best-selling young-adult novel, supermodel-turned-actress Cara Delevingne and the same screenwriting team that brought us last year's smash hit The Fault in Our Stars, and what do you get? The answer is Paper Towns, the second big screen adaptation from award-winning author John Green.

In it, Delevingne plays Margo Roth Spiegelman, a popular and enigmatic Orlando high school senior with a penchant for disappearing at a moment's notice, but who always resurfaces with a fantastic story to tell. Delevingne stars opposite Nat Wolff as Quentin Jacobsen, a fellow student who's had a crush on Margo since she first moved into his street 11 years ago. He and Margo used to be good friends, but then they drifted apart; so imagine Quentin's surprise when she sneaks in through his bedroom window one night (like she used to), with a request for him to join her on a prank-filled escapade to get back at her cheating ex.

Of course, Quentin agrees, but just when he gets to thinking that the spark between he and Margo has been reignited, she vanishes the very next day. Fortunately for Quentin, she's also left behind some important clues as to her whereabouts. And soon he, his best friends, Radar (Justice Smith) and Ben (Austin Abrams), Radar's girlfriend, Angela (Jaz Sinclair), and Margo's former best friend, Lacey (Halston Sage), are piling into his family's Honda Odyssey minivan and embarking on a cross-country road trip to find her. Their destination: Algoe, New York, America's most famous paper town.

Named for the technique used by cartographers to discourage unauthorized reproductions of their maps, Paper Towns should please the book's loyal fan base. Wolff (who also appeared in The Fault in Our Stars) makes for a likable protagonist; Delevingne (in her third major film role) does justice to the mysteriously complex Margo; and the rest of the cast bring their characters to life just as one might imagine them. There's even a cameo by The Fault in Our Star' Ansel Elgort. As for the movie's final act — while it does deviate from the novel, it still serves both the characters and the overall tone of the story quite nicely.

Paper Towns' cinematography isn't particularly eye-catching, but nonetheless, viewers will definitely appreciate the picture quality this Blu-ray has to offer. Colors are relatively restrained, due to a subdued visual palette, but otherwise the hi-def image is excellent, with grade-A clarity and contrast levels, and no noticeable image defects to be found. Sound-wise, the film is equally low-key, with a soundstage consisting primarily of dialogue interspersed with the occasional burst of rock, pop and indie music. Needless to say, all of these audio elements are sublimely handled by the disc's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack.

Fox's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack (also available in a special "My Paper Journey Edition" with collectible packaging) includes a DVD and an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, plus the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted Scenes (3:54) - Four scenes ("Minivan," "Margo Leaves Clues," "Be Yourself" and "Teenage Rebellion"), with optional commentary by director Jake Schreier and author/executive producer John Green.
  • Alternate Scene: "Shake It Off" (1:57)
  • Paper Towns: The Making Of (21:09) - A three-part documentary ("Playing Out the Strings," "Building a Paper Town" and "John Green On Set") that focuses on some of Green's devoted fans and how the filmmakers brought the book to life, in addition to chronicling Green's involvement in the film's production.
  • John and Nat: Lightning Round (8:04) - John Green and Nat Wolff ask each other a mixture of random questions, personal questions and questions about the movie.
  • John and Cara: Lightning Round (5:15) - John Green and Cara Delevingne ask each other a mixture of random questions, personal questions and questions about the movie.
  • Gag Reel (3:08) - Flubs and goofing around from the set.
  • Promotional Featurettes: Van Chats (4:36) - For minute-long featurettes ("Memorable Moments," "Coming Of Age," "Road Trips" and "Lurlene") that have John Green chatting with the film's cast about everything from their favorite scenes in the movie to his affinity for Quentin's minivan.
  • Audio Commentary By Jake Schreier And John Green - The writer of the book and the director of the movie talk about such things as the film's color palette, the performances, the casting, the cinematography, the music, and the differences between the book and the movie.
  • Gallery - A gallery of 24 still images from the film and its production.
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:26)

Paper Towns is available from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment as of October 20th, 2015. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. Subtitles are presented in English SDH, French and Spanish. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 49 Mins.

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