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One of the advantages that the Blu-ray format has over its rival, HD DVD is a larger capacity. While HD DVDs are limited to 15GB per layer, Blu-ray discs can store 25GB worth of data on a single layer. It sounds like a solid advantage except for one thing: there were problems getting dual layer BR discs to work properly while the HD DVDs were released with two layers from the start. That effectively tilted the advantage to HD DVD (30GB per disc vs. BR's 25GB) and forced Sony to play catch-up.
Sony has caught up and released the first dual layer BD: Click. This Adam Sandler vehicle starts off as a typical goofy family movie, but about halfway through tosses out the humor and instead decides to pound the viewers over the head with the message: family is more important than work. The odd thing is that anyone who needs to hear this message will probably never see this film.
Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) is one of the head architects in a large firm in New York who designs multi-million dollar hotels and apparently makes just above minimum wage. (He drives a beat up car and can't afford to buy his kids bicycles.) He's bucking to become a partner in the firm, but his boss keeps delaying the promotion while piling more work on. After a particularly hard day, Michael blows up while trying to get the TV and DVD player to turn on, and decides to get a universal remote. The only store he can find that's open is Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and after laying on one of their display beds for a moment while commenting on how tired he is (Holy yellow brick road Batman!) he notices a door labeled "Beyond." Entering the portal, the poor overworked architect discovers Morty (wonderfully played by Christopher Walken), an odd distracted inventor-type person who inform Michael that the have a new, top of the line universal remote that isn't even on the market yet. He gives the device to Newman, free of charge, with the cryptically obtuse warning that there are no returns.
Once home, Michael discovers that it is a universal remote, one for controlling the universe. He can pause the life, rewind to relive any time in his past, and even turn on a commentary track (narrated by James Earl Jones. As Morty says, James does a lot of voice over work.) The neatest aspect though is the fast forward button. With it Michael can jump past the boring parts of his life; dinner with the parents, rush hour traffic, and even having a head cold. How cool would that be?
The problem starts after Michael decides to fast forward until he's been granted a partnership. What he thinks will be a couple of months of toil that he'll miss turns into an entire year that he's skipped. After that the remote takes on a life of its own, fast forwarding past things that Michael does want to experiance. Michael's life starts to whiz by him, he's powerless to stop it.
It's obvious from this movie that Sandler is trying to become a more serious actor. The film is neatly broken into two parts with the first being a typical Sandler film, the second an attempted drama. The beginnig is funny, goofy and filled with low brow humor that makes you laugh despite yourself. People won't want to admit it, but seeing Michael pause the universe so that he can climb onto his boss' desk and fart in his face is funny. It's the later part that drags the film down.
The second half of the film it throws all of the comedy out the window and switches into 'heavy drama' mode. This section is sad, depressing, and actually not that entertaining. The exact opposite of the first half of the film. The biggest problem is that the attempts at tear jerking moments, such as when Michael replays the last time he saw his father alive, don't work at all. These will cause more people to roll their eyes than to reach for a tissue. Instead of a thoughtful gentle moment viewers get THE MESSAGE OF THE FILM pounded into their heads. He shouldn't ignore his family for the sake of his job! He should spend time with his parents while he can! Children grow up fast, so enjoy every moment! He should cheerish his wife, after all she's a hottie!
Adam Sandler could possibly be a dramatic actor, but this movie doesn't prove it. Since the beginning of the film doesn't allow the viewers to really empathize and identify with Michael (it's a comedy after all), the heartfelt moments later in the film have no emotional impact.
A predictable film, we've all seen this type of movie before, it doesn't offer anything new or different. The beginning was entertaining and fun but the last half of the movie drags and is more of a downer than anything else. The message is so over-the-top and stated so many times (not to mention obvious) that it drains the fun out of the film.
Everyone who has been following this format war has been waiting to see how the new dual-layer Blu-ray discs will stack up. If Click is any indication, they stack up pretty well. The 1.85:1 image, while not significantly superior to other recent BDs looks very good. The first things people will notice about the disc are the bright colors that are bright and vivid and the high level of dimensionality that the film has. The level of detail is excellent, the blacks are solid, and there is no print damage (since this was shot digitally, there is no "print".)
It's not a perfect image however. There is a bit of digital noise present in scenes where one featureless color dominates the picture. It's not present at a significant level like some early BD releases, but it was present never the less. The other problem I had was with the colors. Though they are bright and solid in a few scenes it looks like they were adjusted in post-production a bit too much. This gives these scenes a bit of a plastic feel to it and the skin tones are a bit too even. Again, this is a minor problem that only affects a few scenes.
This disc comes with a PCM 5.1 uncompressed audio track as well as DD 5.1 audio (in both English and a French dub.) I screened the film with the PCM track and it sounded outstanding, as most of the other PCM tracks have. This has all of the sonic features that we've come to expect from lossless audio tracks: great dynamic range, subtle but clear sound effects, and forceful, unmuddled dialog. I really can't find anything to complain about on the technical side.
As far as the mix itself goes, I had a problem with it. As with many Hollywood releases, this movie uses music to telegraph how the audience should feel, and there's nothing subtle about it either. The swelling sentimental music gets to be too much sometimes, especially at the climactic scene outside of the hospital. Now I didn't expect an Adam Sandler film to be filled with restrained nuances, but the over the top music became distracting.
The big advantage that the 50GB BDs have is the ability to present a film, lossless audio, and an entire compliment of bonus features on the same disc. Sony shows off with this initial dual layer release by providing a lot of extras. There's a commentary by director Frank Coraci, producer Tim Herlihy, writer Steve Koren, and Adam Sandler. This is a nice track with behind-the-scenes anecdotes, comments on the technical aspects of the film, and some information of the writing of the screenplay. Fans of the film will certainly enjoy this track.
There are also seven featurettes that run about half an hour all together and explain how many of the special effects were creating including humping dogs. The four deleted scenes weren't anything special but it is fun to see them. All in all a nice set of bonus features.
This could have been a light amusing movie, but half way through it changes from a comedy to a drama, and it's the drama part that seriously harms the film. This downer second half drains all of the fun and entertainment that the start of the movie set up. The 50GB dual layer Blu-ray disc looks and sounds good though, and the fact that it has a full compliment of bonus features is a great plus. Sandler fans will likely be disappointed in this misfire, but it is probably worth a rental to see the first half.