Paul Thomas Anderson has knocked it out of the park again with Licorice Pizza. The story tells a fantastic, romantic tale that comes with comedy, drama, and a coming-of-age element that is as sweet as it is taboo. The video and audio presentations here are both great, but the lack of extras is unsatisfying for this type of movie. That only says there is a bigger and better release coming in the future with all the amazing perks. Till then, this comes Recommended!
Paul Thomas Anderson does not shy away from any subject, no matter how taboo it can be. Whether it be an A-list star reciting a monologue about respecting a certain part of the human body or the highs and lows of the adult film industry, a strange love story, or even religion - there is always an innocent sense of amusement and wonder to these turbulent themes that Anderson explores. It is no different in Licorice Pizza as the taboo subject concerns a relationship between a young high school boy and a 25-year-old woman. That sounds unsavory at first, but it never crosses into that gross or illegal territory, but instead, the film plays out like a wild adventure between two people who genuinely adore each other, but just don't know it yet.
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Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Licorice Pizza runs its way to Blu-ray + DVD + Digital via Universal. The discs are housed inside a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork looks fantastic and features a hand-illustrated poster of the cast with amazing artwork around it. The reverse side of the case features Alana solely. There is also a folded poster inside as well featuring the same artwork of the disc, and of course the insert of the digital code.
Licorice Pizza comes with a great 1080p HD transfer that keeps on the bright side of life. Unfortunately, there is no 4K release yet, but this Blu-ray image should satisfy until then.
The color palette is mostly warm with sunny amber days that glow well in the California landscape. The '70s landscape articulates is golden afternoons with plenty of earthy and warm tones of orange and red buildings, green trees in the city, and blue skies that all look amazing. Interiors showcase very dark oak woods and red leather for the most part and tones of browns. In the arcade and especially at the vendor convention, there are tons of neon signs with bright primary colors as well that boast nicely. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are always natural.
The detail is sharp and vivid as well, with nice closeups that reveal individual hairs, stubble, freckles, wrinkles, and makeup applications. Wider shots are deep and give a nice view of Los Angeles in the '70s. There is a very nice layer of grain that gives that nostalgic look as well and never looks like a digital image. This is a wonderful-looking image with zero video issues.
This release comes with a fantastic lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix that kicks into high gear when it needs to. Sound effects of vehicles driving by, kids, and people yelling on the street, car horns, and arcade machines sounding off all sound wonderful. The directionality of these elements is perfect and well-balanced. Bigger sound effects of the moving truck going down the hill and filling water beds with liquid all sound exquisite.
The biggest sounds come with a motorcycle stunt and all of the amazing song cues that bring that amazing low end of bass with a nice rumble. Dialogue is always clean, clear, and easy to follow as well. This is a front-heavy track for the most part, but those ambient noises come through often in the surround speakers. This is a great-sounding audio presentation with no problems.
There are only 18 minutes of footage included here, all of which has no rhyme or reason. There are no interviews, commentaries, or bloopers. Everyone is in masks due to COVID-19 as well. These are not great extras, which can only mean someone like Criterion will be releasing this soon in 4K with a great number of new bonus features.
Licorice Pizza is a fantastic film about an unlikely romance with its coming-of-age elements that weaves a perfect basket of comedy, love, and drama. It's one of Paul T. Anderson's best films to date with a killer soundtrack and amazing performances. This Blu-ray has great video and audio presentations, but the extras are lacking. The fact that there is no 4K release at the moment should tell everybody one is on the way soon that should have all the bells and whistles. Till then, this comes Recommended!