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DVD REVIEW

Vanilla Sky

 

Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz
Director: Cameron Crowe

Rating: R

Review Posted: 6.1.02

 

Reviewed by John Teves

 

The Movie

 

David Aames, (Tom Cruise) is young, handsome, wealthy and a spoiled rich publishing tycoon, who can have anything his heart desires. Sofia (Penelope Cruz) is the missing piece in David’s world, the girl of his dreams. Up until now David has been “casually dating” Julie Giani, (Cameron Diaz) who starts to get a little “pyshco” on David after she realizes David is no longer interested in her. David ignores his fatal attraction and spends the night with Sofia, but all they do is talk and get to know each other. When David leaves the next morning, he runs into to Julie. Julie convinces David to get into her car, which ultimately changes David life - a life which sends him into a shocking final awakening that questions his reality of love, hate, life, work, friendship and sex. David finds himself desperately trying to piece things together, questioning whether what's happening to him is a dream or reality.

 

The message of this film is simple; having it all, not being happy, finding what you want to make you happy, losing it and then figuring out why this is happening to you. This really begins to loose its power and it just goes on and on, forcing the viewer into the point of restless aggravation. Once the film explains it’s purpose, your at a point were you just don’t care anymore. The film spent so much time trying to confuse the viewer that in the long run it confused itself until it just didn’t make any sense.

 

 

I can only describe this film as Cameron Crowe's first attempt at an "artsy fartsy" film. It's visually beautiful and thought provoking, but after awhile it just needed to end. I mean I felt I was being tortured enough by watching Penelope Cruz trying to act and now this. My major gripe with this film was the ending. The writers spent so much time building up the suspense that you end up expecting a huge conspiracy to be unleashed at the end, instead it just seems to end leaving the viewer wondering about all the plotlines that were obviously left as clues and then left unanswered. This movie had the potential to be a great film, unfortunately the ending resulted in a downward spiral.

 

The Video

 

Vanilla Sky appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie portrayed a terrific picture with no problems. Sharpness looked perfect at all times. The movie remained crisp and well defined. No concerns with jagged edges, print flaws were nearly non-existent. A couple of speckles and grit here and there, but otherwise the film appeared wonderfully clean and fresh. Colors appeared vibrant throughout the film. Black levels seemed rich and deep, and shadow detail was appropriately heavy but never excessively dense. Ultimately, Vanilla Sky offered a great visual experience.

 

The Audio

 

The film is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, audio quality appeared positive. Dialogue seemed natural and accurate; sounds were well localized and they moved neatly across the channels. Clarity had no issues, rich and deep. Overall, Vanilla Sky does exactly what it needs to do and it does it well. All audio, dialogue, music, and effects sound very clean and natural.

 

The Extras

 

The extras here are satisfying to only a degree, since the inclusion of existing deleted scenes is missing from this DVD release. Here are the extras we do get:

 

 

Prelude to a Dream: Behind-the-scenes footage from the film's casting and pre-production.

 

Hitting It Hard : Feature about the movie's press tour which took them to Australia, Hong Kong and England. It runs a good ten minutes with great insights and footage from director Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise and Penelope.

 

Interview with Paul McCartney: Why?!? For those of you who care, the interview runs a very short 2 mins.

 

Music Video: "Afrika Shox" by Leftfield and Afrika Bambaataa.

 

The rest is just photo galleries, gag reel and finally Vanilla Sky trailers.

 

Overall

 

Vanilla Sky is interesting, stylish, ambitious and in some cases a brilliant film, but the movie seems to lie somewhere in the middle of it all. I really wasn’t up for psychologically dissecting this film when I saw it. Should you rent it or buy it? First and foremost, Vanilla Sky represents a journey, which unravels it’s true meaning in the final fifteen minutes of the film Twilight Zone style.

 

"Fine, I will apologize for Solider but only if you tell me what the hell was going on in Eyes Wide Shut."

 

It answers some of the questions it poses and wraps up most of the dangling plots, leaving you with a very empty unsettling feeling. I was too disappointed at the ending to be able to recommend this film. However, I still feel this film is not totally without value. The ending just leaves you wondering a little bit too much, but if you already like this film then it's worth your purchase! Paramount has done an exceptional job with this DVD presentation. For everyone else, rent "Open your Eyes."

 

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