Robert De Niro stars as Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower who has discovered that retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). </p>
<p>The Blu-ray combo pack will feature 1080p video, lossless 5.1 audio, and supplements include: Learning From Experience; Designs on Life, and The Three Interns.
While Director Nancy Meyers' 'The Intern' did respectable business at the box office, it might have done a whole lot better had the marketing reflected the actual tone of the movie. I skipped this one in theaters because I thought the trailers for this 'comedy' made it look pretty unfunny. Well, the truth of the matter is most of the movie is unfunny because, as it turns out, 'The Intern' is not really a comedy at all. Yes, it has some jokes sprinkled throughout, but this story is definitely a drama, despite what the Warner Bros. marketing machine tries to tell you.
The movie stars Robert De Niro as Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old retiree who feels that he has a lot more production left in his life. When he sees an Internet fashion company advertising for senior interns, he jumps at the opportunity and gets the job. When he begins working there, he's assigned to the owner, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), who – at first, at least – doesn't have the time or the patience for Ben, resulting in him sitting at his desk day after day waiting for Jules to give him something to do, which she never does.
But Ben has a business background of his own, and when Jules notices how helpful he's being to the others, she starts to warm up to him. The more she involves Ben in her daily routine, the more she starts to see how valuable he can be to the company. She also finds someone to confide in, which places Ben very much in a father figure role for Jules – particularly when Jules starts to have struggles in her personal life.
There's only one scene in 'The Intern' that completely aims for the funny bone, and it's a sequence where Ben teams up with three other employees he's befriended (played by Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman, and Jason Orley) to break into Jules' mother's house after she inadvertently sends a nasty email to her home computer. It's a funny scene to be sure, but it also seems totally out of place in this movie. When the bonus materials on this release revealed it was one of the first scenes shot, I wasn't surprised. One wonders if the actors played the scene broader under the belief the rest of the movie would be just as broad.
The biggest issue I had with 'The Intern' is that the major parts of the storyline took way too long to develop. The movie runs about two hours in length, and a good half hour could be trimmed with no ill effects on the film. In fact, the first hour of the movie – while pleasant enough to watch, thanks to the acting provided by De Niro and Hathaway – is pretty thin on plot. It's only in the film's second hour that things really start to become meaningful, and viewers who struggle through the first half will find themselves rewarded by 'The Intern's strong second act.
Alas, after giving us characters that feel very 'real' – well, as real as they can in a movie of this sort – Director Meyers can't resist wrapping everything up in a nice bow to provide audiences with a 'happy' ending. Unfortunately, the conclusion doesn't seem honest and, while it doesn't sink the film, it does result in a movie that doesn't end quite as strong as it could have...and probably should have. It also makes 'The Intern' something you'll probably only want to see one time, even if you're a big fan of the actors involved.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'The Intern' gets promoted onto home video in this Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack. The dual-layer DVD and 50GB Blu-ray are housed inside an eco-friendly Elite keepcase, which also includes an insert with a code for a digital copy of the movie. A slipcover with artwork that matches the keepcase's slick slides overtop. Both the DVD and Blu-ray are front-loaded with trailers for Pan and the special edition of 'The Iron Giant', along with a promo ad for Digital HD from Warners. The DVD also includes a trailer for Our Brand is Crisis as well as an ad for Warners' Disc-to-Digital program. The main menu is a still of stars Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway sitting at De Niro's character's desk, with menu selections running across the bottom of the screen.
The Blu-ray in this release is region-free.
'The Intern' was shot digitally on Arri Alexa XT Plus cameras, as is presented on Blu-ray in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Director Nancy Meyers loves to fill up the frames of her movies with wonderful production design (see the short featurette, which is part of the bonus materials), and it all looks quite lovely in HD, with a nice level of sharpness and detail throughout. There's a lot of white used in the company setting here, but thankfully none of it gets 'blown out' in the transfer. Black levels are particularly strong as well, and shadow delineation is never an issue.
Movies that take place in the city and feature a lot of pans, car trips, and establishing shots like 'The Intern' almost always seem to suffer from a touch of aliasing here and there in HD, but I detected none during my viewing. No apparent banding that I noticed, either. The colors here are well saturated, without ever bleeding, and skin tones are consistent throughout. This is a very good transfer that I'm sure Director Nancy Meyers is quite happy with, as it really shows off her intended design and look of the movie.
The featured track here is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio one that is – as you may have guessed – more than a release like this probably needs, but a nice addition nevertheless. For a 'comedy' (again, I use that word loosely, since I really believe this is more of a drama), 'The Intern' features a lot more talking and less activity than an average film in the genre, resulting in most of the dialogue and sound being located up front. While LFE is barely used (in fact, I can't recall any noticeable use at all), the rears do get used throughout, although it's mostly to enhance the film's soundtrack – a combination of composer Theodore Shapiro's written score with a number of musical tunes sprinkled in.
The audio quality is crisp and clean throughout, and viewers/listeners should have no complaints. Much like the movie itself, there's nothing that really 'wows', but no problematic glitches, dropouts, or other issues. A solid, well-rendered track.
In addition to the lossless 5.1 track, a 5.1 Dolby Digital English Descriptive track is available, as are 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks in French, Spanish (Latin), and Portuguese. Subtitles are available in English SDH, French, Spanish (Latin), and Portuguese.
Although I think it's been improperly promoted and labeled as a 'comedy', 'The Intern' is a pleasant enough movie, although most won't have a desire to watch it again after one viewing. The two leads here are quite good (when they easily could have just phoned it in), and the second hour of the film is far better than the rather sluggish first half. This isn't anything groundbreaking or noteworthy, but fans of either (or both) De Niro and Hathaway will want to check it out. Rent it.