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Trip To Spain, The
When last we left our heroes Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, they were eating, laughing and ad-libbing their way through the countryside in The Trip to Italy, the second installment of The Trip franchise, if you will. So when the two reunited to go through the Spanish countryside in The Trip to Spain to make The Trip a trilogy, the choice of whether or not to see it was an easy one.
By now the premise for these things is pretty simple; Coogan and Brydon play loosely autobiographical roles, and Coogan, fresh off an acting job, gets a chance to write about food and his travels for it, this time through the Basque region of Spain, along with Andalucia, Cantabria and La Mancha. Brydon occasionally talks with his wife and children via Skype as does Coogan, though the latter's connections to his grown up children are distant as appears to be the case. And of course, they eat and laugh, doing impressions of performers that fans of the previous two films know, and do some new ones including Mick Jagger and Marlon Brando. Copious mentions of Coogan's film Philomena are dropped, sometimes to Brydon's aggravation.
Michael Winterbottom directed the first two films and does this one as well and by now the shorthand amongst the trio is clear. Setup is easy, if there is any writing involved it's to touch upon story points intermittently, but otherwise the films are a lighter version of My Dinner With Andre in terms of discussion material. And the friendship Coogan and Brydon has is casual enough that each can be teased about the other's foibles, that they are a pleasure to watch onscreen together is a bonus.
Spain, however, finds Coogan a little bit melancholic to his place in life at the moment. His son is in his twenties and for all intents and purpose is a grownup, he's doesn't appear to be in a significant romantic relationship, and Brydon has two kids under 10 at home. Make no mistake that Brydon does want to go on this ‘work trip', but he has a family at home that he cares about and misses and Coogan senses that and wants to reclaim that somehow in his own life. It's subtle but poignant in that regard.
The final few moments of The Trip to Spain crystallize the essence of this film a little, with hope, nostalgia and a randomly comic ending which I'll presume was meant to end the franchise at three films. Which I case is how Coogan, Brydon and Winterbottom want to go out. But damned if I couldn't (and want to) see more Trips in my lifetime.
The Blu-ray Disc:
Presented in an AVC encode, the 1.85:1 high-definition presentation of this Trip film is gorgeous. Lots of natural light and shots taken advantage of at magic hour, lots of yellows, browns and greens get shown off. The evening restaurant scenes have solid and natural black levels, and the image is pretty vivid without oversaturation. There are moments when the image lacks some detail but the wider shots include a lot of depth and dimensionality. I'd have to look at the other two movies on Blu again but this one may look the best.The Sound:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround. The film doesn't get a lot to do with the track but the crowd scenes include a low murmur of noise and the car engines revving and idling are natural with occasional moments of low-end involvement. Dialogue is well-balanced and needs no adjustment and sounds as natural as can be.Extras:
Nothing except a trailer? Well boo.Final Thoughts:
I said something similar at the end of my review of The Trip to Italy and will loosely restate it here; the beauty about The Trip films lies in that you can go into any one of them and go because the setup is easy and you laugh and enjoy the 90-100 minute journeys each time. I would have liked to had some bonus features on this (presumably) last one but am not complaining how it turned out. If you haven't seen any of The Trip films, get yourself started with this one.