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Boy

Kino // Unrated // July 9, 2013
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted July 10, 2013 | E-mail the Author


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Boy Blu-ray Review


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align="center">style="font-size: 8pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Click on
an image to view the Blu-ray
screenshot with 1080p resolution


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">It's
been several years since writer/director Taika
Waititi's Boy debuted to audiences
with great results at film-festivals such as Sundance and others and
with a lot
of love passed on to it with indie-film fans discovering the effort to
some
degree of fandom, even within the United States (where the film was not
available with a Region 1 DVD edition). Kino Lorber is now bringing
North
Americans audiences (who hadn't discovered the New Zealand indie
favorite yet)
a cool opportunity to see the film on either Blu-ray or DVD for the
first time,
and this comedic drama painting its portrait as a coming-of-age tale
and as a
story of undelivered expectations will find an even wider audience of
fans.  


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">The
story of the film takes place in 1984 and it all occurs
in New Zealand's Waihau Bay region, which feels surprisingly similar to
a lot of small-town areas of America in
spirit, both with the way the environmental landscapes look (which are
reminiscent of Texas town's) to the natural child-like wonderment the
main
young characters display. Boy (James Rolleston) is the lead character;
he's a
creative, smart, and good-natured kid but he doesn't do perfectly in
school. Teachers
and those around him see his potential, though. He also has a kind
young
brother, Rocky (Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu), who is always drawing
illustrations
and imaging an increasingly strong ability to move things and have an
impact on
others with his "powers", something which represents his own
over-active imagination.


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Both
Boy and Rocky lost their mother when they were quite
young, and an early scene in the film shows a visit they make to their
mother's
grave, who died in her early twenties. As this storyline progresses, we
meet
their father Alamein (Taika Waititi, who wrote and directed) , someone
who has
been distant and largely uninvolved in their lives following his
arrest. It
doesn't take long for Alamein to begin searching for stolen money and
looking
for drugs; unfortunately, he doesn't seem to spend as much time with
Boy or
Rocky as they should absolutely receive. Boy spends most of his time
fantasizing or idolizing his father in an incredibly spectacular
fashion
(drawing upon Boy's giant fandom of Michael Jackson). Meanwhile, Rocky
spends
most of his time alone at the beach and with his sketches.


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style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">As
the film begins to explore the characters, we see that
Boy's father is something of an immature boy on his own. He tries to
bond and
spend time with his kids but his places a significantly greater
importance on
finding stolen money, smoking weed, and being in an unsuccessful
three-person
gang called the "Crazy Horses" more than he does connecting
emotionally with his children; children who grew up for years without
their dad
or mom (because of her death and his absence in prison). Yet Boy looks
up to
his dad and wants somehow to be like him with his idyllic vision of a
father
with dance moves rivaling his superstar idol Michael Jackson with total
synchronicity.


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Perhaps,
however, Boy will
eventually be able to grasp and understand his own place in his world
and how
he doesn't necessarily want to be the same person that his father is:
and that,
actually, Boy's got his own pool of potential. It's a main theme
explored
within this strange,  interesting, and
original
coming-of-age story and family drama from Waititi (Eagle
Versus Shark
, episodes of Flight
of the Conchords
).  


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">One
of the things that is wholly original and enjoyable
about this story is found within the deadpan humor and offbeat style
that film
exudes from beginning to end. This isn't quite a ordinary comedy or
drama. It's
absolutely a unique voice that is being heard through these journeys of
storytelling explored. The characters are interesting and the lead
character
Boy provides audiences with an interesting and relatable character that
is
dealing with issues of family that are probably somewhat relatable for
a lot of
people, if not necessarily in exactly similar ways or degrees. This is
a story
that should connect to a lot of people because it's a universal story
about
growing up and coming to terms with difficult family issues -- this is
something that  makes the film stand out
as a successful venture because not a lot of films actually even
attempt to
delve into these realms in the way Boy does.


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">If
the actual
film wasn't exactly what I was anticipating or expecting as an audience
member,
it's largely because I was so delighted from Waititi's debut feature
and it's
romanticism and comedic charm and that I was surprised with how darkly
comedic
and sad his follow-up feature is overall. Boy
doesn't simply aim to make you laugh and smile. It's a pretty dark
story and
one which will raise some interesting points in life along the way. The
actors
(which was largely comprised of young children) did a great job
throughout the
entire film, and I was impressed by how well it worked on the whole.
Waititi
did a good job stylistically and emotionally, and this is a good reason
to
check out the film. It didn't win me over as much as I was
anticipating, but
for an entirely inventive and different comedic-drama this is one
effort that succeeds
more than anything else. Fans of quirky indie movies should most
certainly
consider giving it a go: something tells me many people will wind up
cherishing
the film. 



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style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">The
Blu-ray:


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style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Video:


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Boystyle="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">
arrives on Blu-ray with a 1.85:1 1080p
transfer. It's actually not that impressive of a high definition debut
though.
The colors aren't that impressive, the image is somewhat soft, and it
doesn't
have the kind of depth or clarity that would make it a better transfer
overall.
Most of these imperfections are likely source-related. The image isn't
terrible
but it's underwhelming. Even the amount of film grain present is a bit
disappointing.
While it means the image isn't suffering from unnecessary DNR it also
didn't
exactly add to the overall presentation. style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Audio:


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">The
back of the case only mentions a
stereo audio track but the release actually includes a 5.1 DTS-HD
Master Audio
presentation. It isn't one of the best sound presentations I've heard.
It does
a better job than expected for a low-budget indie, though. Music is
clean and
clear and dialogue is easy to understand. Some surround usage is
impressive,
but this was still mostly front-heavy as a sound mix.


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style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Additional
Screenshots:


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an image to view the Blu-ray
screenshot with 1080p resolution


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style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Extras:



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Screenshot from the short film "Two
Cars, One Night"



style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">This
release contains a couple of
worthwhile supplements. First of all, it includes the Academy Award
nominated
short film by Taika Waititi "Two
Cars, One Night",
which tells a story of a couple of children
connecting across from each other in separate cars while their parents
are inside
of a bar drinking. It's a strange, goofy, and comedic short film piece
with
some nice dramatic elements. It is presented in 1080p High Definition.


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">The
disc also contains Interviews and B-Roll Footage, style="">Kickstarter Update Videos, and the Theatrical
Trailer
for Boy.


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style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Final
Thoughts:


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Boy style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">is a
charming indie movie that is both funny and emotionally
challenging. I wasn't really thrilled with it to the same degree many
audience
members have been (this IS a festival
and audience award winning favorite) but I thought it was an original,
worthwhile, and smartly crafted effort nonetheless. It's worth checking
out for
anyone who enjoys genuine original storytelling. The Blu-ray PQ/AQ is
merely
average but there are some good supplements. Overall, this is a better
release
than the DVD and it's a worthy purchase for fans.


style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman","serif";">Recommended.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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