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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
David F. Sandberg
Cast:
Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel
Writing Credits:
Henry Gayden

Synopsis:
By shouting out one word, streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid Billy Batson can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam.

Box Office:
Budget:
$100 million.
Opening Weekend
$53,505,326 on 4217 screens.
Domestic Gross
$140,221,869.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Latin Spanish
French
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Latin Spanish
Portuguese

Runtime: 132 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 7/16/2019

Bonus:
• ”Superhero Hooky” Motion Comic
• ”The Magical World of Shazam” Featurette
• ”Super Fun Zac” Featurette
• ”Who Is Shazam?” Featurette
• ”Shazamily Values” Featurette
• Carnival Scene Study
• Gag Reel
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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RELATED REVIEWS


Shazam [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 11, 2019)

For the first time, an entry in the DC Extended Universe fails to include a member of the Justice League. Instead, 2019’s Shazam focuses on a character who didn’t originally belong to DC.

When he emerged in early 1940, Captain Marvel – the hero’s original name – came from Fawcett Comics. Though Captain Marvel sold extremely well, an ongoing lawsuit between Fawcett and DC led to the comic book’s demise.

DC acquired the rights to Captain Marvel in the early 1970s, but a complication arose, as in the meantime, Marvel comics had produced a “Captain Marvel of their own. This forced the original Captain Marvel to be renamed “Shazam”, and that’s where we find ourselves with this 2019 film.

As a four-year-old boy, Billy Batson (David Kohlsmith) gets separated from his mother at a carnival. She completely disappears, and Billy ends up in a series of foster homes.

Billy rebels against these settings and tries to find his mother. By the age of 14, Billy (Asher Angel) goes to a group home where he rooms with disabled youngster Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer).

After Billy acts to protect Freddy from bullies, powerful wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) summons him to a mystical realm. Desperate for a champion who is pure of heart, Shazam transfers massive powers to Billy, and these allow him to turn into a costumed hero (Zachary Levi) at will.

45 years earlier, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) encountered Shazam as well, but the boy (Ethan Pugiotto) didn’t prove up to the task. Since 1974, Sivana obsessed over his desire for these powers, and he eventually obtains the ability to harness the Seven Deadly Sins. With a continued lust for the strength Billy now possesses, Dr. Sivana leads an assault on our young hero.

Going into Shazam, I feared the worst because the trailers made it look dumbed-down for really young viewers. The comics always seemed like an even more kiddie-friendly version of Superman anyway, and the film seemed as though it intended to follow that path.

Which it does at times, but the movie also proves considerably darker than I anticipated. Shazam earned a “PG-13” rating, a designation that seems to contrast with the cutesy poster images of Shazam as he blows a bubble and plays with his cellphone.

Shazam comes with a definite identity crisis. Much of the time – especially during its first half – it plays like a superhero version of Big, an influence that the filmmakers clearly recognize since they offer at least one obvious nod toward the 1988 Tom Hanks movie.

Intermingled with highly “safe” hijinks, though, we get intense action and violence along with a villain who seems more serious and less comedic than we might expect. These two tonal sides don’t tend to mesh well, as Shazam goes from wacky silliness to somber moments in the blink of an eye.

It doesn’t help that much of the story makes little sense. For instance, it seems utterly inexplicable that Billy’s mom completely vanishes from the radar.

The movie eventually explains why she disappeared, but it doesn’t communicate how. Sorry, but it’d be tough for her to abandon Billy as completely as she does, especially in this “connected” day and age, and the film can’t make us believe this side of it.

In addition, Sivana’s crusade to steal Billy’s powers doesn’t seem especially logical. He already possesses amazing abilities from the Seven Deadly Sins, so why does he need more, especially since Billy can’t really seem to do anything Sivana can’t?

I guess we’re supposed to swallow this side of it due to Sivana’s basic lust and envy, as he craves what wizard Shazam denied him in 1974. Still, this seems like a sketchy story point around which to build much of the movie.

Whatever plot Shazam possesses, it doesn’t pursue these elements in a particularly concise manner, and characters come and go without much logic. We bop from one scene to another in jumpy, awkward ways that damage the movie’s flow.

As our lead, Levi overplays the character’s youth. Yes, Shazam should still act like a kid, but Levi offers no nuance at all.

He relentlessly mugs and flails his way through the part as he feels like an adult playing a cartoon teen more than someone who channels his inner child. Tom Hanks pulled off youth in a natural, believable way, but Levi overemotes from start to finish, an odd contrast with the more mature approach from Angel. Oddly, the actual teen acts older than the adult.

And don’t get me started on his padded superhero costume! Levi isn’t the first actor to don an outfit with “accentuated” muscles, but I can’t recall many others that look so phony.

Shazam’s “bulked up” appearance seems so fake that I can’t help but wonder if it’s wink/nod intentional. In the scope of the movie, though, it makes no sense that our hero sports phony muscles, so I guess the producers just didn’t want to bother to find another Jason Momoa or Henry Cavill who could fill out costumes with their actual physiques.

Too dark for little kids, too silly for adults, and too long for such a thin plot, Shazam disappoints. I maintain fond memories of the character from childhood but this movie becomes an erratic letdown.

Footnote: stick around through the end credits for added scenes.


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

Shazam appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the movie came with good visuals.

Overall sharpness seemed strong. Nary a hint of softness impacted the image, so it remained tight and concise. I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and both edge haloes and print flaws remained absent.

Like every other modern action movie, Shazam opted for an orange and teal orientation. Occasionally the image threw out nice reds and purples as well, and the Blu-ray depicted them in an appropriate manner.

Blacks showed good depth, and shadows offered appealing clarity and smoothness. In the end, the movie provided pleasing visuals.

In addition, Shazam brought us a stellar Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the soundscape opened up best when it indulged in its many battle sequences.

These used the various channels in a vivid, immersive manner that placed the elements in logical spots and meshed together well. The track gave us a strong sense of place and action.

Audio quality also pleased. Speech remained natural and distinctive, while music was full and rich.

Effects came across as accurate and dynamic, with tight low-end. I liked this mix quite a lot.

As we move to extras, we open with a motion comic called “Superhero Hooky”. It runs four minutes, five seconds and mixes voiceover acting along with partly animated comic book panels. It’s a fun little expansion of characters and themes.

Some featurettes follow, and The Magical World of Shazam fills 27 minutes, nine seconds with comments from director David F. Sandberg, producer Peter Safran, writer Henry Gayden, director of photography Maxime Alexandre, visual effects producer Cari Thomas, costume designer Leah Butler, production designer Jennifer Spence, stunt coordinator Kyle Gardiner, special effects supervisor Cameron Waldbauer, visual effects supervisor Mike Wassel, key scenic artist Cameron S. Brooke, and actors Zachary Levi, Djimon Hounsou, Asher Angel and Mark Strong.

“World” looks at how Sandberg came to the project, previs and planning, cast and performances, costumes, sets and locations, stunts and various effects. “World” offers a pretty terrific overview, especially via all the behind the scenes material we get.

With Super Fun Zac, we locate a three-minute, 19-second reel that features Safran, Strong, Levi, and actors Faith Herman, Jovan Armand, Ian Chen, Martz Milans, Cooper Andrews, Michelle Borth, DJ Cotrona, and Jack Dylan Grazer.

Essentially this shows us that Levi didn’t need to act to resemble a teen, as apparently that’s the way he always behaves. It’s a lot of praise for Levi, but some good shots from the set compensate.

Next comes Who Is Shazam?, a five-minute, 42-second piece with Levi, Sandberg, Safran, Strong and executive producer Geoff Johns. The show offers a look at the comics and the series’ history. It becomes a glossy overview but it gives us the basics.

A Carnival Scene Study spans 10 minutes, 23 seconds and involves Gayden, Sandberg, Safran, Gardiner, Alexandre, Strong, Wassel, Thomas, Spence, Levi, Angel, and Waldbauer. As expected, this featurette breaks down various elements of the movie’s climactic sequence. It does so in a fairly satisfying manner.

For the last featurette, Shazamily Values fills six minutes, six seconds with notes from Levi, Angel, Herman, Andrews, Milans, Grazer, Armand, Cotrona, Chen, and actors Grace Fulton, Meagan Good, Ross Butler, Adam Brody and Michelle Borth.

“Values” examines the foster kids and their superhero versions. Expect fluffy notes that occasionally offer useful material.

16 Deleted and Alternate Scenes occupy a total of 37 minutes, 27 seconds. The biggest changes come from more exposition at the open as well as a wholly different introduction to Sivana and his family.

Most of the alterations remain fairly superficial, and the fresh scenes tend to be minor. Still, they’re enjoyable to see.

We can view the scenes with optional Director’s Introductions. Across the segments, Sandberg tells us brief notes about why he cuts the sequences. These offer a little value but tend to be too short.

We end with a three-minute, 16-second Gag Reel. It mostly consists of goofs and silliness, but some alternate lines add a little spark to it.

The disc opens with ads for Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. No trailer for Shazam appears here.

Silly and erratic, Shazam never finds a good path for itself. While the movie occasionally shows signs of life, it lacks consistency and can’t determine where it wants to go. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. Despite the potential for fun, the film sputters.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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