The first film, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle not only introduces us to the titular characters played by Jon Cho (also known for the new Star Trek films) and Kal Penn (also from House M.D.), but it brings viewers into an odd adventure as the pair start their quest to satisfy their munchies with delicious White Castle burgers.
Let's just say, their night isn't a normal one. Not only does Neil Patrick Harris (or at least NPH playing a womanizing and drugged-up version of himself) steal their car at one point, but they will also perform surgery at a wild college party, meet up with a disfigured truck driver known as Freakshow (Christopher Meloni) and, of course, end up in jail.
This first adventure really sets the pace for the other two films and does a great job of establishing the series' characters, and not just Harold and Kumar. Other characters seen in later films, like NPH and the roommates' neighbors, Goldstein (David Krumholtz) and Rosenberg (Eddie Kaye Thomas), all become well established. Of course, one of the major side characters that becomes a major role in the later films is Harold's crush, Maria (Paula Garces). While on the surface, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle seems to be about the duo hunting down the mini-burgers, Harold's unusual night changes him and allows him to break down and finally talk to Maria. Too bad she is about to leave for Amsterdam; if only he had spoken up sooner.
That's where Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay comes into play. Just minutes after the White Castle hunt ends, Kumar convinces Harold that they need to go to Amsterdam and find Maria so that Harold can truly spend some time with her.
Too bad for them, their ethnicities, combined with an odd bong supplied by Kumar, not only get them kicked off the plane, but sent to Guantanamo Bay for some extra harsh interrogation. The pair quickly manage to escape, but hot on their heels is Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ron Fox (Robb Corddry), one of the most outlandishly racists characters I've ever seen, and he doesn't have a problem playing off of stereotypes in order to get what he wants.
I have to say though, I did find the scenes with Fox to be some of the best in the movie. His ridiculously blatant racism makes him a great character to laugh at. His actions range from truly not understanding Harold's parents as they talk to him in clear English to supposedly torturing answers out of an African American by pouring grape soda out on the ground.
This time around, Harold and Kumar's adventure take them from a bottomless party in southern Florida to a KKK meeting (whose Grand Wizard is played by Meloni), to another run-in with NPH, to George W. Bush's (James Adomain) secret weed-smoking hideout and finally to break up Kumar's ex-girlfriend's wedding. Once again, the pair have a wild ride, and right after the events of the first movie, to boot.
The third film in the set, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, takes place several years later. Harold and Maria are married and Kumar is a mess. While he isn't living alone, his new roommate doesn't quite stack up next to Harold. Throughout the film, you realize that the pair has had some major falling out, and it seems to be tied to Harold's decision to grow up. Fate seems to bring the two back together when Harold's Christmas tree goes up in smoke and the need to impress his father-in-law (Danny Trejo) means another crazy quest.
This time, the pair is joined by Kumar's new roommate, Adrian (Amir Blumenfeld), Harold's neighbor Todd (Thomas Lennon) and Todd's toddler daughter. The group gets separated early when they end up at a party thrown by a mobster's daughter. When the feared father shows up, everyone scatters, but Adrian, Todd and the baby find themselves locked in a closet, while Sergei Katsov (Elias Koteas) sits nearby unknowingly keeping them from escaping.
This third adventure has Harold and Kumar doing everything from performing in a Christmas show alongside NPH (though a slightly different one than we saw before), ending up in a claymation animated segment and even both shooting and performing surgery on Santa Claus (Richard Riehle). Of course, in the typical Christmas Special style, they attempt to save Christmas by delivering Santa's gifts, but also just as expected, this doesn't go quite as well as they would hope.
The Harold & Kumar Blu-ray Ultimate Collector's Edition contains all of the special features previously released on the individual Blu-ray releases. This includes a slew of deleted scenes and bloopers on all three movies. There are quite a few short cast and crew interviews with White Castle, as well a featurette on the Land of Burgers fantasy segment. Similarly, there is a featurette about the Claymation sequence in the Christmas film and an... interesting featurette concerning the sound effects used in the "Battle S#!ts" scene from the first movie. Needless to say, there is a lot here, there just isn't really anything new.
Since there are very few new additions in the Ultimate Collector's Edition, it's hard to recommend this boxed set to someone who already has one or more of the movies. Personally, I had the first film on DVD and I had already picked up the second and third on Blu-ray. If it hadn't been for review, I doubt I would have grabbed this collector's set. That being said, a fan of the films who just hasn't picked them up yet should find a good deal in this particular release.