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TOUCHSTONE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Tony Scott
Cast:
Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer, James Caviezel, Adam Goldberg, Elden Henson, Erika Alexander, Bruce Greenwood, Rich Hutchman
Writing Credits:
Bill Marsilii, Terry Rossio

Tagline:
If you thought it was just a trick of the mind, prepare yourself for the truth.

Synopsis:
Academy Award winner Denzel Washington joins forces with blockbuster producer Jerry Bruckheimer and mega-hit director Tony Scott for Déjà Vu - the powerful, fast-paced action-thriller with a spectacular mind-bending twist. Called in to recover evidence in the aftermath of a horrific explosion on a New Orleans ferry, Federal agent Doug Carlin (Washington) gets pulled away from the scene and taken to a top-secret government lab that uses a time-shifting surveillance device to help prevent crime. But can it help Carlin change the past? Hold on to your seat for an explosive and intriguing thrill ride you'll want to experience again and again.

Box Office:
Budget
$80 million.
Opening Weekend
$20.574 million on 3108 screens.
Domestic Gross
$64.034 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 126 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 4/24/2007

Bonus:
• “The Surveillance Window” Featurettes
• Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Sneak Peeks


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Déjà Vu (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 10, 2007)

For their third collaboration, actor Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott teamed up to make 2006’s Déjà Vu. The flick starts with a terrorist bomb that blows up a boat ferrying sailors and their families to Mardi Gras. ATF rep Doug Carlin (Washington) establishes that this was due to an explosive and contributes to the investigation.

Carlin discovers an odd twist when another charred body washes up – and he learns it was discovered before the explosion. She was Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton), and it appears that her case connects to the terrorist act. A mix of weird circumstances start to arise in conjunction with both sides of matters, and Carlin joins a brand new investigation team headed by FBI agent Paul Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer).

The group uses an extremely high-tech surveillance system that essentially allows the group to see anywhere at any time. The problem? They can only check out moments from four days earlier, and they also are restricted to real-time observation, so they can’t fast-forward or rewind the footage. Carlin thinks that if they stick to Claire’s activities, they’ll figure out the identity of the bomber, so they concentrate on her.

Matters become even more complicated, however, as Carlin learns the truth of this so-called surveillance system. It turns out that the brainiacs have discovered a way to loop back in time and observe the past. The rest of the movie follows the ramifications of this revelation and how they impact the case - and Claire.

When compared to the other Scott/Washington collaborations, Déjà Vu falls in the middle. It doesn’t come across as classy and relatively intelligent as 1995’s Crimson Tide, but it’s substantially more interesting and involving than 2004’s messy, incoherent Man on Fire. That has to count for something, as after Fire and the similarly too stylized and disjointed Domino, I thought Scott had lost any sense of storytelling ability.

Of all Scott’s flicks, Vu most closely resembles 1998’s Enemy of the State. Indeed, the pair demonstrate a lot of similarities in the ways they embrace technology to track people. The main difference comes from Vu’s science fiction bent, but in many ways, the new flick feels like an extension of the earlier one.

Since State provided a reasonably entertaining effort, I’ll take that as a good thing. Both it and Vu stretch credulity since they take us to worlds with rather remarkable technology. I thought that was a weakness of State, since I couldn’t quite accept those elements. This causes some issues in Vu as well, but the time-travel, sci-fi side of things makes it more palatable. Though less believable in the real world, the fact that Vu takes us to a fantasy place allows us to more easily accept its goofiness.

If you want to enjoy Vu, though, you really need to just forget logic and go with the flow. It’s one of those “check your brain at the door” flicks. The less thought and analysis you apply to it, the better.

When you do that, you should get a kick from the flick. In no way would I argue that Déjà Vu provides a stellar cinematic experience. Frankly, it’s a little bit of a mess as it tries to balance various story issues and complications. Nonetheless, I must admit that it throws out some fun ideas and gives us enough action to make it consistently entertaining.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Déjà Vu appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only a smattering of minor concerns cropped up during this usually solid transfer.

A little iffiness occasionally affected sharpness. Some light edge enhancement occurred, and this meant wider shots could be slightly soft. Otherwise, the movie mostly exhibited very positive clarity and delineation. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I witnessed no source flaws in this clean presentation.

As for colors, the film stayed with a relatively subdued palette. It tended toward a rather blue/green sense much of the time, though these overtones never became overwhelming. They simply meant that the flick offered a subdued collection of hues that wasn’t unnatural but that didn’t seem excessively stylized. Blacks appeared deep and firm, while low-light shots presented nice clarity and definition. Overall, I found a lot to like about the visuals.

I felt the same way about the strong Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Déjà Vu. The film’s MO meant that much of it stayed fairly quiet and concentrated on dialogue, but it came with bursts of more active moments. These came from explosions, car chases, and other action sequences. For those moments, the audio came to life quite well and created a full, involving setting.

The rest of the time, the flick stayed with general ambience. It delivered those pieces in a satisfying way and also boasted good presence from the music. The score showed nice stereo imaging in the front and used the rears to bolster the music.

Audio quality always worked well. Music sounded rich and lively, with crisp highs and warm lows. Bass response remained good in terms of the effects, which showed robust tones along with good clarity and definition. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, though a few shouted lines demonstrated minor edginess. None of these created substantial concerns, as the soundtrack remained very positive.

For the extras, we find a collection of featurettes under the banned of Surveillance Window. We can use this as a component that runs during the film, in which case the flick will branch to these sequences at the appropriate moments. We can also view them on their own via an “Index”. I chose the latter, since I prefer not to interrupt the movie as it runs.

Taken as a whole through the “Play All” option, these 10 sequences fill a total of 36 minutes, 51 seconds. The clips display shots from the set along with interview snippets. We hear from director Tony Scott, ferry coordinator Stan Parks, special effects coordinator Joe Pancake, executive producers Barry Waldman, Chad Oman and Mike Stenson, stunt coordinator Chuck Picerni, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, ATF tech advisor Jerry Rudden, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick, special effects makeup artist Jake Garber, makeup department head Edouard Henriques, production designer Chris Seagers, 24 Frame supervising producer Monte Swann, director of photography Paul Cameron, Bohannon Huston Inc.’s Steve Snyder, Time Track inventor Dayton Taylor, Ultimate Arm operator Dean Bailey, writer Bill Marsilii, and actors Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer and Jim Caviezel.

We learn about filming the opening ferry explosion, Washington’s character and performance, makeup and costumes, the Time Lab and technological issues, the car chase, shooting in New Orleans, the Washington/Bruckheimer/Scott collaboration, physical sequences, and the concluding ferry scene. “Surveillance” doesn’t substitute for a more coherent “making of” program, but it manages to give us a pretty interesting overview of various production issues. We find a lot of good behind the scenes footage along with enough insight to offer perspective. It’s a fun collection of clips.

In addition, we find five Deleted Scenes and three Extended Scenes. The former run a total of eight minutes, 15 seconds, while the latter add up to five minutes, 36 seconds. The “Deleted Scenes” include “Church Choir” (1:03), “Turtle Story” (2:36), “Carlin Studies Claire” (2:44), “Beth and Abbey See Claire” (0:54), and “Beth and Abbey Live” (0:56). The “Extended Scenes” feature “Extended Ferry Aftermath” (1:24), “Claire Held Captive” (2:22) and “Carlin Shares With Claire” (1:50).

In regard to the “Deleted Scenes”, “Turtle” gives us a little backstory that helps illustrate Carlin’s relationship with his partner and might have made a good addition to the final flick. The two “Beth” sequences show that Claire had friends on the ferry, which seems like an unnecessary contrivance. “Choir” is just a not very useful snippet, and “Claire” feels redundant. As for the extensions, they don’t manage to add anything significant.

We can watch all nine segments with or without commentary from director Tony Scott. He gives us some good background for the cut sequences and also lets us know why he dropped them from the final film. Scott offers interesting notes that give us good info about the clips.

The DVD opens with a few ads. We get promos for Kyle XY and The Queen. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks domain. No trailer for Déjà Vu shows up here.

Déjà Vu gives us what we expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer flick: good production values, an intriguing concept, some action, and a pretty nonsensical story. In this case, the first three overrule the last one to make Vu silly but fun. The DVD presents very good picture and audio as well a small roster of fairly useful extras. Vu isn’t a classic, but I think it at least merits a rental.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7692 Stars Number of Votes: 13
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