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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Mean Girls (4K UHD Review)


The Film (2004)
The Film (2024)
The Video (Overall) (2004)
The Video (Overall) (2024)
HDR Effect (2004)
HDR Effect (2024)
The Audio (2004)
The Audio (2024)
The Supplements (2004)
The Supplements (2024)
Overall (2004)
Overall (2024)


Cady Heron returns to the United States after years abroad in Africa with her zoologist parents and being homeschooled only to be thrown into the jungle of sub urban Illinois high school where she runs afoul of "mean girl" Regina and the Plastics who run the school. This review explores the original 2004 film and the 2024 musical remake.

Estimated reading time: 19 minutes

Whether you watch the original comedy classic Mean Girls or its 2024 musical remake, you will be getting the same basic story with a few minor updates in the remake and of course musical numbers.

The main story stays the same, Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan in the original film and Angourie Rice in the remake) returns from living in Africa with her zoologist parents (in the 2024 remake it is just her mother) to attend high school in suburban Illinois for the first time after being home schooled her whole life. She is thrown into the pecking order of high school cliques – the jocks, the cool kids, the art kids, the stoners, the cheerleaders, and the most popular of them all, The Plastics, who are led by the Queen Bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams in the original and TikTok star and pop singer Reneé Rapp in the remake). Cady becomes friends with the Plastics, urged by her first two friends, the artsy outsiders Janis (Lizzy Caplan/2004; Auli’i Cravalho/2024) and Damian (Daniel Franzese/2004; Jaquel Spivey/2024). Janis hates Regina, with whom she used to be friends in middle school until Regina did something terrible to her ruining their friendship. Cady’s turn as one of the Plastics takes a nosedive when she goes out on a date with Aaron (Jonathan Bennett/2004; Christopher Briney/2024), Regina’s former boyfriend. Let the war between Regina and Cady begin.

What the new remake does very well is updating the key moments from the original film. For instance, the watering hole moment is now incorporated into a musical song and dance routine in the high school hallway. Karen’s (Amanda Seyfried/2004; Avantika/2024) “duh” Halloween mouse ears moment gets a meta moment during a song at Halloween party. These key moments are easily picked up on for anyone familiar with the original but worked into the film in a way where if you come to the new film having never seen the 2004 version, you will not be lost and you will still enjoy thew comedy.

The casting is also a strength for both films. Most of the members of the original film have gone on to greater successes, and I would expect the same from the member of the 2024 film. As far as the success of reimagining or reinterpreting the characters, I would definitely say that Avantika’s Karen is the star here, proving it is not just blondes that are dumb, but in the best way possible. She steals every scene with her too ridiculous to be true, vacant delivery that outdoes even Amanda Seyfried’s 2004 take on the ditzy character.

Turning some of the classic films from the past into musicals may be the new trend, such as The Color Purple, for instance, and at least in the case of that film and this new take on the comedy from the early aughts, it is successful.

Purchase Mean Girls 20th Anniversary 4K on Amazon.com

Purchase Mean Girls (2024) 4K on Amazon.com

The Video

In a head-to-head matchup it is unsurprising that the 2024 remake comes out on top, originally shot on the Arri Alexa 35 with Cooke S4 lenses in

ARRIRAW 4.6K and using a 4K DI. The film gets a glitzy variable aspect ratio 1.85:1/2.35:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement with a MaxLL of 805 nits and MaxFALL of 120 nits. The musical numbers have superb colors and specular highlights, there are good shadow details and crisp details throughout. The 2004 film comes with a 1.85:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement from its 35mm source. The presentation has a tight grain structure and colorful palette. Lohan’s ginger hair looks excellent and one can make out all of the freckles on her arms and face, so there is a lot of detail in this transfer. The source is clean as well, with no evident dirt, scratches, or tramlines. In comparison to previous Blu-ray releases this looks a lot crisper, but compared to the 2024 film on 4K or other 4K discs, this is certainly not what I would call ‘reference’ per se. The Dolby Vision encodement does not add much, but the film still looks very satisfying.

The Audio

In the audio department, the new 2024 remake is the clear winner, which is unsurprising. The original Mean Girls continues to carry its fairly basic but acceptable lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix that presents clear and full dialogue with a nicely weighty but hardly bombastic low-end. The 2024 remake gets a lossless Dolby Atmos mix that has a somewhat stagnant overhead, but is otherwise excellent for the material. The musical numbers have beefy low end with fat and warm bass and big low-end beats, very musical and dynamic, clear vocals and a wide spread of sounds. There is some height awareness for the instrumentation as well.

The Supplements

Both releases have several featurettes. The original Mean Girls gets one new eight-minute featurette on the original cast and the rest are previously released bonus features, including the commentary with director Waters, writer and actress Fey, and producer Michaels. The 2024 remake has a music video with Megan Thee Stallion and Reneé Rapp and a sing-along feature as well.

Bonus Features (Mean Girls 2004):

  • Commentary by Director Mark Waters, Screenplay Writer & Actress Tina Fey, and Producer Lorne Michaels
  • Mean Girls: Class of ’04 (1080p; 00:08:09) (NEW)
  • Featurettes (1080p/60; 00:45:43):
    • Only the Strong Survive
    • The Politics of Girl World
    • Plastic Fashion
  • Word Vomit (1080p; 00:05:42)
  • So Fetch – Deleted Scenes w/ Optional Commentary by Director Mark Waters and Screenplay Writer & Actress Tina Fey (1080p; 00:06:54)
  • Interstitials (1080p; 00:01:35):
    • Frenemies
    • New Girl
    • PSA
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:02:32)

Bonus Features (Mean Girls 2024):

  • A New Age of Mean Girls (1080p; 00:05:47)
  • Song and Dance (1080p; 00:11:38)
  • The New Plastics (1080p; 00:08:13)
  • Extended Scene – I’m Having a Small Get Together at My House (1080p; 00:01:18)
  • Gag Reel (1080p; 00:03:46)
  • Not My Fault – Music video with Reneé Rapp and Megan Thee Stallion (1080p; 00:02:53)
  • Mean Girls Sing-Along with Select Songs

The Final Assessment

Two Mean Girls and two enjoyable films with slightly different takes on the social hierarchy of girls in high school. Both look really good on 4K Ultra HD from Paramount.

Mean Girls 20th Anniversary and Mean Girls (2024) are out on 4K April 30th 2024 from Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment

Purchase Mean Girls 20th Anniversary 4K on Amazon.com

Purchase Mean Girls (2024) on Amazon.com

  • Rating Certificate: PG-13
  • Studios & Distributors: Paramount Pictures | M.G. Films | Broadway Video | Little Stranger | Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Director: Mark Waters (2004) | Samantha Jayne & Arturo Perez Jr. (2024)
  • Written By: Rosalind Wiseman & Tina Fey (2004 & 2024)
  • Run Time: 97 Mins. (2004) | 112 Mins. (2024)
  • Street Date: 30 April 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 | 2.35:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (2004) | English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible) (2024)
  • Secondary Audio: German DD 5.1 | Spanish DD 5.1 | French DD 5.1 | French (Canadian) DD 5.1 | Italian DD 5.1 | Japanese DD 2.0 Stereo (2004) | English Audio Description | German DD 5.1 | Spanish (Castilian) DD 5.1 | Spanish (Latin American) DD 5.1 | French DD 5.1 | French (Canadian) DD 5.1 | Italian DD 5.1 (2024)
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | Danish | German | Spanish (Castilian) | French | French (Canadian) | Italian | Japanese | Dutch | Norwegian | Finnish | Swedish

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Cady Heron returns to the United States after years abroad in Africa with her zoologist parents and being homeschooled only to be thrown into the jungle of sub urban Illinois high school where she runs afoul of "mean girl" Regina and the Plastics who run the school. This review explores the original 2004 film and the 2024 musical remake. Mean Girls (4K UHD Review)