What happened here?
"The Adventures of Pluto Nash" is a $100 million dollar picture that was originally completed a couple of years ago, but then it got comfortable on the shelf. Released last Summer without any critics screenings and a $4 million dollar gross, the picture became one of the biggest flops of all time. It couldn't be that bad, right? Uh, no - actually, it is. "Pluto Nash" is one of those films that fascinates me completely - when this much money is put into a screenplay this obnoxious and unfunny, what's the set like, what are people thinking, how did the studio react when they first screened this movie?
Murphy stars as Pluto Nash, a former smuggler who takes over a failing club on the moon once released from prison. Several years later, the colony is dominated by gangsters who destroy the club when Pluto won't sell his successful place. With the help of a singer (Rosario Dawson) and an annoying robot (Randy Quaid), Pluto goes on the run to find who's responsible. As for the plot, that's really all that's offered - we get one fairly low-key, long chase sequence throughout drab sets ("A.I." looked far better and was made for slightly less) and so-so CGI backgrounds. If this cost $100 million, I really don't see where all that money went on-screen, as the picture looks as if it cost about half that much.
Although I didn't particularly find Murphy funny in "I Spy" or "Showtime" this year, he's especially dull here, looking very bored by the material. A legion of decent supporting players are also wasted: Rosario Dawson, Joe Pantoliano, Jay Mohr, John Cleese, Luis Guzman and others. It's not really the fault of the actors, though: there's nothing remotely interesting about any of these characters and nothing that I think any actor could probably have done to liven this material (there's even a terrible, ridiculous plot twist towards the end). Forced attempts at making the humor work make it even less effective.
Although the first half of "Pluto Nash" was carried by my fascination of how anyone would find this material worthy of filming (or putting $100 million towards, no less), the film became dull to the point where I wished I had my 95 minutes back. I suppose I've seen worse, but not by much.
VIDEO: "Adventures of Pluto Nash" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is a bit above average and a few steps below the usual strong work from the studio. Sharpness and detail are a bit inconsistent; the picture occasionally appears a little softer at times, while other times it looks crisper and more defined, but still not too sleek.
The picture looked somewhat problematic at times, but its faults weren't enough to sink the presentation. Some minor edge enhancement was present, while a couple of traces of pixelation were also spotted in a few scenes. However, the print looked fairly clean, with only a few little specks here and there, but nothing too serious.
The film's fairly subdued color palette makes the film appear even less expensive, but it appears fairly well-rendered here, with no smearing.
SOUND: "Adventures of Pluto Nash" is presented by Warner Brothers in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's audio delivers about what one would expect from the film - no more, no less. Surrounds kick in for the occasional laser blast or sound effect, but they're hardly used otherwise. The unpleasant score and music also gets center stage, with too much presence. Unfortunately, every line of dialogue remained crisp and clear.
EXTRAS: Cast and crew bios, trailer, IMX music video, additional scenes and the making of the music video.
Final Thoughts: Even those fascinated by a large-scale cinematic failure will probably regret even a rental of "Pluto Nash". Warner Brothers has put together a respectable DVD, if there are fans of the film out there, but I strongly wouldn't recommend it to anyone else.