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James Franco, Bruce Thierry Cheung
James Franco, Lucy Liu, Suki Waterhouse
Writing Credits:
Jeremy Cheung, Jay Davis, Bruce Thierry Cheung

A young boy searches a future world wasteland for a rumored cure for his dying mother.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 7/10/2018

• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• Previews & Trailer


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Future World [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 12, 2018)

In the same vein as the Mad Max movies, 2018’s Future World takes us to a proverbial post-apocalyptic wasteland. In this desolate climate, an oasis exists, one populated by a Queen (Lucy Liu) and her son the Prince (Jeffrey Wahlberg).

When the Queen gets sick, the Prince sets out on a quest to find medicine that may cure her. This places him in various situations of peril as he runs afoul of the Warlord (James Franco).

Earlier I mentioned that Future World stems from a place similar to that of the Mad Max films, and by that I mean it can come across as a screaming rip-off of the George Miller franchise. Indeed, when I saw the trailer for World, I initially thought it was a new Mad Max tale – the ad really plays up the similarities.

One factor allowed me to hope that World would offer something more than a cheap imitation: the presence of Franco as both actor and co-director. Not that Franco acts as some “seal of quality”, but his use gave me optimism that the film could become something worthwhile.

Or maybe not. World never rises above its status as a Mad Max wannabe and it ends up as a dull, pointless experience.

Though perhaps I overstate the Mad Max similarities. To be sure, they exist in heavy doses, but World lacks the same kind of “in your face” outrageousness seen in flicks like Fury Road.

Along with co-director Bruce Thierry Cheung, Franco essentially attempts an “art house” take on Mad Max, albeit one with an identity crisis. While aspects of World give us dreamy, metaphorical material out of the Terrence Malick canon, other parts seem stuck in puberty.

This creates jarring disconnects throughout the movie. We go from one scene of violent misogyny to another with moody philosophical musings.

These moments don’t work, and little about the rest of the film succeeds either, partly due to a near-complete lack of narrative focus. At its core, this should be a pretty simple “hero’s journey” story about the Prince’s quest, but it fails to explore that path well.

Instead, World meanders with nearly no discernible purpose. Characters and plot points disappear and reappear seemingly at random, and as a result, the story makes little sense.

We never attach to any of the characters, so we care about none of their arcs or journeys. Everything seems tedious and banal, without clear purpose or direction.

As a result, World becomes actively tiresome well before it ends. Even at a mere 88 minutes, this feels like an endurance test, one that doesn’t deserve the investment.

Footnote: a short added scene appears a minute or so into the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus D

Future World appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a surprisingly erratic image.

Not that World looked bad, but it seemed less impressive than expected. Though sharpness was usually fine, soft shots appeared occasionally, and for little discernible reason. The movie sometimes took on a gauzy feel that didn’t appear to suit the story in a logical way.

No signs of jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I witnessed no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

Colors followed a stylized path, with a lot of the usual orange and teal, though other hues like sandy ambers and garish reds/greens also materialized. These looked adequate but they suffered from the same minor gauziness that affected definition.

Blacks were reasonably dark, whereas shadows could be a bit murky. Though this was never a bad image, it seemed spottier than I anticipated and merited a “B-“.

I found a more consistent experience from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, though it also fell short of expectations, mainly because it brought us a moderately subdued soundfield. Given all the movie’s potential for action, I thought the soundscape would open up in a broad manner.

Instead, it focused on the front channels most of the time and lacked the sonic impact I assumed I’d get. This meant the material offered decent movement and immersiveness but it never became as involving as I’d like.

Audio quality worked fine, with dialogue that remained natural and concise. Music was bold and full.

Effects came across as accurate and dynamic, with good range and punch. The mix lost some points due to a semi-lackluster soundscape, but it was still worth a “B”.

Behind the Scenes runs 12 minutes, 39 seconds and offers comments from actor/co-director James Franco. The show covers story areas, cast and some cinematic choices. It mainly presents movie clips and it tells us little of substance.

The disc opens with ads for The Show, Spinning Man, Bent, Extortion and Inconceivable. We also find a trailer for Future World.

Little more than a muddled rip-off of Mad Max, Future World lacks any merit. Though it boasts talent involved, the movie seems purposeless and pointless. The Blu-ray offers erratic visuals along with generally positive audio and negligible supplements. Don’t expect much from this poor effort.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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