Few would have expected that the UMD movie for the PSP would have taken off the way it has. With over 200 films available, there are far more UMD PSP movies than there are games. These four films represent Lions Gate's second batch of PSP UMD movies. While all four films are quality withing their respective genres, not all of them help up as well in the transition to UMD. The overall star rating in an average of the four. Each film was rated both for content and technology.
Saturday Night Live: The best of Will Ferrell, vol. 2 - 4.5 out of 5 stars
This was my favorite UMD of the bunch. Yes, I like SNL, and yes I even (can't believe I'm typing this) like Will Ferrell. But really, the reason I enjoyed the Will Ferrell UMD the most was that it fit the format. The screen ratio was adjustable, so I could view it in the original TV dimension or get it to fit the PSP's screen. It had an intuitive menu and special feature that were actually worth watching. The deleted sketches were never aired. The deleted sketch co-starring Alec Baldwin was both repulsive and hilarious at the same time. You get all of the skits that made him famous, including Janet Reno's dance party, and Wake Up and Smile (classic). The sound and video quality are both superb. But what really makes this UMD video stand out is that the short sketches make sense for the format. Watching a couple of sketches while waiting for the bus, or any situation where you need to burn a few minutes was a pleasure. Much like portable gaming, UMD video is often best enjoyed in short bouts. The only thing that would have made the experience better would be some of his cheerleading videos and a few more sketches in general.
Godsend - 3.5 out of 5 stars
Godsend was an eerie movie. Greg Kinnear, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos play a couple whose son, Cameron Bright, is killed in an accident. The grieving couple seeks the help of a doctor, Robert De Niro, to bring back their son through an illegal experimental cloning/regeneration procedure. Much creepiness ensues, as the son isn't quite the same. The film certainly gets high marks on the creep-out scale, and Cameron Bright is wonderfully disturbing as Adam. De Niro and Romijn-Stamos are fine, but it feels as if they'd both rather be elsewhere and Greg Kinnear seems like he'd be more comfortable doing a quirky comedy than a psycho-drama. However, the concept and scene set in Godsend are sufficiently bizarre so as to keep viewers interested for the 104 minutes. As a UMD it has one of the best menus I've seen, and having the four alternate endings as special features was a treat. I'd like to thank Lions Gate for keeping the film in its original letterbox ratio, but I'd like to know why the ratio controls are disabled? As much as I prefer to see the film in the original ratio, I'd like to at least be able to play with the option of making it full screen.
The Doors - 3 out of 5 stars
Some say it's Val Kilmer's best work. Without a doubt it certainly ranks up there, perhaps largely in part to his uncanny resemblance to Jim Morrison. The Doors is a trippy, somewhat dark trip down the path the band tread. Oliver Stone actually tamed his trademark style as the material itself provided enough bizzarity that it didn't need much spice to make it memorable. The movie chronicles the rise and fall, drugs and sex, good and bad of the band and the man. As a UMD it has no special features, and a boring menu. The film is shown in its original wide-screen and the option to change the screen ratio is present, if you want to watch it full screen. While the music sound full and rich, the video is somewhat dull, though it's tough to tell if the original was the same. At 96 minutes, I'd have liked to seen some sort of special feature, perhaps the ability to listen to the music from the film.
Made - 2.5 out of 5 stars
I know, all the Vince Vaughn fans are crying foul over my 2.5 stars. But while Made was a passable film, the poor translation to UMD really hurt the experience. The story of the odd couple of thugs has some genuinely funny moments. The story of Bobby (John Favreau) trying to provide for his adult-entertainer girlfriend and her daughter is a workable vehicle for the traveling show of Vaughn and Favreau. While the situational comedy peppered with gangster sub-culture is fun, the video quality is sub-par. There is motion blur when the camera pans and odd shading every-time something dark moves too fast. Something happened in the translation, and the film not only lacks the sharp look of the other Lions Gate UMDs but the blur and after effects greatly reduce the fun of watching the film.