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This Is the End: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Review

This Is the End (2013) movie poster This Is the End

Theatrical Release: June 12, 2013 / Running Time: 107 Minutes / Rating: R

Directors: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg / Writers: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (screen story & screenplay); Jason Stone (short film Seth and Jay versus the Apocalypse)

Cast: James Franco (James Franco), Jonah Hill (Jonah Hill), Seth Rogen (Seth Rogen), Jay Baruchel (Jay Baruchel), Danny McBride (Danny McBride), Craig Robinson (Craig Robinson), Michael Cera (Michael Cera), Emma Watson (Emma Watson), Mindy Kaling (Mindy Kaling), David Krumholtz (David Krumholtz), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Rihanna (Rihanna), Martin Starr (Martin Starr), Paul Rudd (Paul Rudd), Channing Tatum (Channing Tatum), Kevin Hart (Kevin Hart), Aziz Ansari (Aziz Ansari), Jason Segel (Jason Segel - uncredited)

Buy This Is the End from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet • DVD + UltraViolet • Instant Video

This Is the End assembles a group of young actors who owe their film careers to some degree to Judd Apatow. Apatow is surprisingly uninvolved with this film,
which nonetheless shares the impresario's taste for raunchy, improvisation-heavy comedy. Actors cast in the short-lived but beloved television series "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared" accompanied the showrunner on his rise of filmmaking's ranks, appearing in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up.

Seth Rogen, the most prominent link between those two hits, got his break not only in front of the camera but behind it too as the writer of the Apatow-produced Pineapple Express. Now, Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg make their directorial debuts together in a film that rounds up their gang of friends that's always growing in number and profile. This hard-R-rated comedy lets Rogen and his repeat co-stars of film and television send up their public images and fictionalize their longtime friendships.

The film opens with Canadian actor Jay Baruchel flying into Los Angeles for the first time in a year. He's visiting Rogen, who has plans for them to spend "the best weekend ever." To these slacker icons, such a weekend begins with Rogen abandoning his gluten-free cleanse to indulge in some Carl's Jr. burgers before heading home, where a table of Starburst, pot, and video games await the pals.

Housewarming host James Franco asks Jay Baruchel about art, while Seth Rogen looks directly into the camera. Jay Baruchel encounters the first sign of danger at a convenience store, where he spots select shoppers getting beamed up above.

As night falls, Baruchel reluctantly agrees to attend with Rogen a housewarming party at James Franco's newly-finished abode. The scene is out of Baruchel's comfort zone, but Rogen doesn't seem to notice that as he effortlessly socializes with the likes of Franco, Jonah Hill, and other famous entertainers. Those in attendance include Rihanna, Emma Watson, Craig Robinson, and a lightly mustachioed Michael Cera, whose mild-mannered nice guy act has been a stretch, for we learn he's really a coke-snorting jerk. Eager to exit, Baruchel settles for a walk to get cigarettes from the nearest convenience store with Rogen. That's when stuff starts going down, starting with what seems to be more than just an earthquake. Baruchel and Rogen escape safely and return to find the party at Franco's "fortress" continuing unaffected.

Moments later, though, peril strikes the actor's home, with an earthquake registering 9.7 on the Richter scale and a giant, fiery sinkhole out front claiming the lives of numerous famous actors who don't get their face on the poster or cover art. When the dust settles, we're left with Baruchel, Rogen, Franco, Hill, and Robinson. The next morning, they're joined by a reckless Danny McBride rounding out this six-man unit.

As the title suggests, these friends appear to be facing an apocalypse. They board up the doors and holes formed at Franco's artsy bachelor pad and pool their modest resources consisting of little more than booze, illegal drugs, a dirty magazine, a Milky Way bar, a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and some props from Franco's films.

In "This Is the End", six actor friends (James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, and Danny McBride) try to survive the apocalypse holed up in Franco's new house.

That bold design requires confidence. Here is a film that holes itself up in a single setting with six comedy actors/friends, each with their share of vocal detractors who consider them annoying, playing exaggerated versions of themselves. The prospects of getting outside or going anywhere are dim. The action that ensues is nothing more than drawing for burned matches and taking turns to try to break through a concrete floor to secure more jugs of water.

Rogen and Goldberg have adapted this feature screenplay, their fifth together, from a 10-minute 2007 short starring Rogen and Baruchel that Goldberg wrote with Jason Stone. It's the kind of project that seems to have grown organically out of friendship, free time, and probably some recreational drug use. Just barely in their thirties, Rogen and Goldberg have earned an impressive amount of creative power. Agreeing to a $32 million budget obtained with pay cuts, the writers-directors have been spared the studio interference you expect a major summer release -- and the pair's coolly-received The Watch and The Green Hornet -- to endure. One gets the sense that Rogen and his social circle have won enough fans and respect from their handful of productive years to allow Columbia Pictures to place an unusual amount of trust in their instincts. Surprisingly, it pays off, at least for much of the 107-minute runtime.

In the right company, the apocalypse can be quite funny and these six seasoned veterans prove themselves to be the right company, able to portray themselves as petty, irresponsible idiots and laugh at their personas and bodies of work. Rogen and Franco seize a free moment to make a trailer for a Pineapple Express sequel they cooked up at the party while considerably stoned. Hill, having ballooned back to his comedy weight, alternates between caring excessively and just plain creeping everyone out. McBride's version of himself isn't much more flattering than his signature role of Kenny Powers. L.A.-hating Baruchel clutches to a Bible and consults the Book of Revelations, which the movie treats slightly more delicately and respectfully than you'd imagine. Franco's home is an artist's tribute to himself.

"Harry Potter" star Emma Watson and Craig Robinson are among those in attendance at James Franco's party. James Franco and friends (plus Danny McBride) use his "127 Hours" camera to document their feelings.

The film does run out of steam near the end, sometime after one character is raped by a visibly aroused demon.
But, there's enough outrageousness, good vibes, and unfakable chemistry to fuel over an hour of enjoyment from this unlikely place. As on Pineapple Express and Green Hornet, Rogen and Goldberg don't wade into genre material half-assed. They embrace their doomsday plot with serious visual effects and some creature work by pros whose name you might remember from Chronicles of Narnia bonus features. This is definitely not your typical summer comedy, even as this gang basically makes sport out of clinging to their established types and unending adolescent mentalities.

With help from a pretty random early September expansion back into 2,000 theaters, This Is the End narrowly eclipsed $100 million at the domestic box office. Though that mark has lost meaning in recent years, with real blockbusters able to hit it in as little as two days, it is no small achievement here. In fact, This might be the weirdest and unlikeliest movie to ever gross that much. It's a largely improvised, free-form, non-spoof work featuring actors whose comedy careers have all been on a slide in the past few years. Yes, Franco and Hill are Oscar nominees and Franco has had success with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Oz the Great and Powerful. But movies relying on their own slacker/stoner personas (e.g. Your Highness, The Sitter, She's Out of My League, Observe and Report) have been striking out consistently for about four straight years.

For the entire troupe to rebound with a well-reviewed hard sell, a meta hangout session whose ending is almost too deliciously absurd not to spoil, is remarkable and bizarre. To me, the reception is almost on par with the unexpected success of The Hangover, whose poorly-reviewed threequel barely grossed more stateside. This has more or less been dead on arrival in international markets, but with its production budget what it was, it stands as one of 2013's biggest commercial triumphs and one that I'm convinced will have people at a loss to explain for decades to come.

One of Sony's two bright spots at the summer box office, This is the End is now available to own on DVD and in the Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet combo pack reviewed here.

This Is the End: Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet combo pack cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
BD: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Descriptive Video Service)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English, English for Hearing Impaired, French
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled in English
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Suggested Retail Price: $40.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (1 BD-50s & 1 DVD-9)
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as DVD + UltraViolet ($30.99 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video


This Is the End isn't your typical slacker comedy, nor does it look like one. Blu-ray skillfully shows off the cinematic 2.40:1 visuals and their polished effects. Beyond parts of a few shots lacking focus, this transfer upholds the high quality of most Sony BDs. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio also distinguishes this film, not only with its assortment of inspired needle drops but with its occasional action effects and directionality. The dialogue remains crisp throughout also, which is easy to take for granted nowadays but definitely enhances the experience all the same.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg strike an interesting pose to discuss "Directing Your Friends." The art department gives the filmmaker a number of possessed Jonah Hills from which to choose in "Let's Get Technical."


Apatow's comedies are regularly loaded with entertaining extras and in this regard, his protιgιs follow in his footsteps.

First up comes an audio commentary by writers-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. They take this track seriously, comparing the actors to their fictionalized versions of themselves, pointing out visual effects used to turn New Orleans into Los Angeles and to bare Michael Cera's butt, and reflecting on unused bits, dashed concepts, getting Rihanna to sing without asking, their visual inspirations, their lack of compensation from Milky Way and other featured products, picking songs to clear,
celebrities' reactions to their mentions in the film, "docking", depicting demon genitalia, and the evolution of the film-closing cameo. Recorded a few days before the film's opening, they worry about how the film will fare against Man of Steel. Their novelty long worn off, most commentaries aren't a great use of your time, but these guys are unusually easy and fun to listen to.

Kicking off the all-HD video side, "Directing Your Friends" (6:30) has Rogen and cast explaining the pros and cons of working with his friends, their remarks complemented by raw takes and on-set footage.

"Meta-Apocalypse" (7:43) collects thoughts on the concept of the actors playing characters that bear their names and credits but differ from their real personalities.

"Let's Get Technical" (10:44) finds cinematographer Brandon Trost and other crew members discussing the style and practical effects atypical for a comedy.

"I Love You, Man" stars Paul Rudd and Jason Segel reunite on the all-night shoot in which they made their cameos in "Party Time." Each fearless in their own right, Channing Tatum and Danny McBride do a walk and talk in "The Cannibal King."

"Party Time" (12:54) lets us in on the star-studded party scene atmosphere, with peeks at the improvisational filming, thoughts on how the supporting cast came to be a part of this, and on-set remarks from the actors themselves.

"The Cannibal King" (4:25) treats us to the making of Danny McBride's final scene, with extended looks at long takes and some McBride and Channing Tatum walk and talk.

"The Making of 'The Making of Pineapple Express 2'" (6:20) takes us behind the scenes of the faux sequel shot in the movie.

Six years before the end, Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen took on the apocalypse in the 2007 short "Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse." Jonah Hill cracks up, landing this Superbad trio reunion in "This Is the Gag Reel."

Next, we get Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse (9:58), the original 2007 short on which the film is very loosely based. Resembling the film in dark tone and style, this economic short has Baruchel and a fatter, hairier Rogen playing roommates crankily surviving on little inside a filthy, cockroach-infested apartment. It's not great and the volume is erratic, but it's the set's most interesting and unusual inclusion.

In name and content, "Line-o-Rama" (12:34) is taken directly from Apatow movie DVDs/Blu-rays. It shows us unused alternate improvisations tried out in the filming of three scenes: sleeping arrangements, Brian Huskey begging for admission in the doorway, and Franco and McBride's masturbation dispute. There are some amusing references and lines that didn't make it into the film, as well as over-the-top moments not missed.

"This Is the Gag Reel" (6:16) shares bloopers, more unused ad libs, and takes blown by laughter. There's a number of funny moments.

The abrasive Michael Cera and his colorful windbreaker make an additional appearance in this deleted scene. The stars of "This Is the End" hold cats while dressed in cat costumes in a marketing outtake.

Eight deleted scenes (15:08) give us -- what else? -- more of the guys talking. There's some funny banter, more of Michael Cera shattering his image, and a scene where an attempt to watch TV sparks a Nancy Grace discussion that has everyone wondering about the future of their sex lives.

This Is the Marketing preserves some of the creative ways that Rogen, Franco, Baruchel, and McBride successfully managed to interest moviegoers in their film.

"Marketing Outtakes" (6:38) gathers unused snippets from a variety of promo shoots with green screen, sets, blank signs, props, cat costumes, and live animals. Too bad we don't get to see any of the promos themselves.

Four in-character promotional shorts are modeled after the ones shot on Franco's 127 Hours camera in the film, though mixed in with clips: "Aziz Haunts Craig" (1:02), "James and Danny Confessional" (1:17), "Jonah Confessional" (1:16), and "Seth and Jay Confessional" (0:56). Finally, "The Cast" (3:43) and a "Redband Sizzle Trailer" (1:52) similarly mix clips and cast comments. Too bad the film's standard trailer isn't preserved here.

The combo pack's DVD, the same disc sold on its own, goes light on extras, only including the commentary, "Directing Your Friends", and the marketing section.

The discs open with trailers for White House Down, Elysium, and The Kings of Summer. To these, the Previews menus add trailers for Insidious: Chapter 2, In a World... and The To-Do List.

Both discs use basic static menus featuring a scored cast still. The Blu-ray supports bookmarks and also resumes playback.

Joined by an UltraViolet/Sony Rewards insert, the creatively-labeled Blu-ray and plain DVD share a side-snapped keepcase that's topped by a slipcover repeating the artwork below.

While still in the sleepwear, the six party survivors get a morning startle in "This Is the End."


If you're a fan of this cast and can tolerate extended exposure to off-color humor, you should enjoy This Is the End. Of Team Apatow's past work, it's closest to Pineapple Express in content, so do go in expecting more unpredictability and a genre bend than you'll find in Apatow's own family dramedies.

Sony's Blu-ray combo pack sports a great feature presentation and a large collection of fun bonuses. While the movie falls somewhere in between a one-time viewing and a must-own, this thorough release is sure to satisfy those who enjoyed it and expect to revisit it with any regularity.

Buy This Is the End from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet / DVD + UV • Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Knocked Up • She's Out of My League • The Sitter • Tropic Thunder • 21 Jump Street • Hot Tub Time Machine
Written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg: Superbad • The Green Hornet
Cloverfield • I Love You, Man • Zombieland • Strange Wilderness • 30 Minutes or Less • The Guilt Trip
127 Hours • The Hangover • The Foot Fist Way • That's My Boy • Battleship • 10 Years
New: The Kings of Summer • World War Z • Somebody Up There Likes Me • The Hangover Part III

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Reviewed October 2, 2013.

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