Simon Pegg has a close encounter of a very different kind in this sci-fi comedy

Paul sees Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz co-stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost making the trip across the Atlantic for an amiable sci-fi comedy about two geeky Brits on a road-trip around America’s UFO hotspots who bump into a real-life extra-terrestrial (voiced by Seth Rogen).

In addition to a bigger budget and a roster of familiar Hollywood comics including Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, Paul also represents the first time the duo have worked together without the guiding hand of regular writer/director Edgar Wright. And it shows. Helmed by Superbad director Greg Mottola, Paul is a much broader film in comedic terms, favouring pot jokes and swearing to the deftly drawn characters that were the highlight of previous Pegg-Frost pairings. Which isn’t to say that Paul is a bad film – it’s a perfectly amiable, if occasionally flabby, Hollywood comedy that dishes up plenty of giggles. Just don’t go expecting another Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz.

Picture: A warm colour palette, deep black levels and strong detailing all add up a pleasingly natural AVC 2.40:1 1080p Blu-ray encode for Paul – one that looks extremely close to my memories of the digital print I saw projected theatrically. In purely technical terms the encode does a good job of avoiding the traditional pitfalls for many of Universal’s titles (noise reduction and edge enhancement), which means that the only real issue surrounds the loss of shadow detail in darker scenes.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Paul doesn’t feature the most dynamic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix (hardly surprising as it’s essentially a character-based comedy) but it does a good job with atmospheric effects and offers plenty of range and fidelity. It also knows when to ratchet things up a bit to give your full speaker system a bit of a work out. To see what we mean, just dial up Chapter 15 for a hefty dose of bass as a house explodes, or Chapter 17 for some impressive steering effects as a helicopter flies overhead.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: In addition to the obligatory bonus DVD and Digital Copy of the film, the Blu-ray disc in this Triple Play release comes packed with extras. You can choose from the 104min theatrical- or 109min extended cut of the film itself, My Scenes functionality, an 11min blooper reel, a two-part 40min documentary entitled Between the Lightning Strikes: The Making of Paul, eight further behind-the-scenes featurettes, an FX showcase, three trailers, five US TV spots, four UK TV spots, four photo galleries, storyboards, poster art and an audio commentary (theatrical version only) by Greg Mottola, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Hader and producer Nira Park.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: A stellar Blu-ray outing for a rather average sci-fi comedy.

Universal Pictures, All-region BD/R2 DVD, £25 approx, On sale now