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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Haven (2006)

"What about the condo? I invest 1.5, I don't even get a brochure?"
- Carl Ridley (Bill Paxton)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: January 07, 2007

Stars: Orlando Bloom
Other Stars: Raz Adoti, Agnes Bruckner, Joy Bryant, Stephen Dillane, Anthony Mackie, Bill Paxton, Victor Rasuk, ZoŽ Saldana
Director: Frank E. Flowers

MPAA Rating: R for (language, drug use, sexual content and some violence)
Run Time: 01h:38m:44s
Release Date: December 26, 2006
UPC: 024543252146
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

So far in his career, Orlando Bloom has proved he's best when wearing elf ears and shooting arrows. Haven, his latest attempt at overall respectability, premiered at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival but barely made it to theaters despite an aggressive promotional campaign and now makes a quick jaunt to this Fox DVD. Unfortunately, it's nothing more than a haphazard mishmash of the woeful "young gangster" genre and Laguna Beach that wears its "long time on the shelf" distinction on its sleeve.

Shy (Orlando Bloom) is dating the gorgeous Andrea (Zoë Saldana), despite the reservations of her abrasive brother Hammer (Anthony Mackie). Meanwhile, high school cheerleader Pippa (Agnes Bruckner) is rushed by her father, Carl Ridley (Bill Paxton), on a plane to the Cayman Islands, thanks to his shady dealings; a bad transaction with an investment banker (Stephen Dillane) has Carl in fear for his daughter's safety, while Pippa prances around with new friend Fritz (Victor Rasuk). These lives eventually come together and combust on this island that is usually considered a safe haven for everyone.

There's really no sugar-coating the notion that the script is a certified mess. Going the Crash route, telling numerous separate storylines that eventually intersect, is all the rage these days. However, this is a style that either works or fails miserably, and the directionless plotlines easily receive the latter distinction. Director Frank E. Flowers deserves a bit of credit for his flair with the camera, but visual style is all he has going for him here. He couldn't have picked a better location to set and shoot his film, and gets a ton of mileage out of his environment. It's just too bad these tropics couldn't help the completely implausible story, which is filled with characters the audience does not have the time to emotionally invest in. I believe we're supposed to care about Paxton's character at first, even despite his numerous misgivings, but then we're given an even bigger reason to dislike him later on. Such twists work splendidly in more tightly written screenplays, but in this case, I just felt like I was being pulled in too many directions.

The actors don't help Flowers out either, as they collectively give wooden, by-the-numbers performances that further isolate the viewer from their characters. Bloom is not much more than a pretty face here. Even when the script calls for him to literally become "unpretty" he is unable to step up his acting and make us believe that Shy is as angry and hellbent on revenge as he's supposed to be. Instead, Shy comes across as weak throughout the film, resulting in a surprising, yet blasé climax that Bloom almost single-handedly strips of any emotional heft.

I really wanted to like this. The cast looks great on paper, the story sounds interesting, and the movie just looks damn good. The resulting schizophrenic 98 minutes is just too ridiculous to have any chance of working. It doesn't even leave you scratching your head, as that would have at least meant the story was involving. Instead, we're left questioning why we just sat through this, as it's nearly impossible to care about what just happened. This is simply a feeble attempt to cash in on a winning formula, and the kind of picture that should have remained on the shelf indefinitely.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen presentation is a beautiful sight, capturing the Cayman Islands in all of their lush tropical glory. The crystal blue water and bright green trees are wonderfully rendered and rich with the proper colors. The images are razor sharp and well defined, while contrast and shadow levels remain true throughout. There's no grain or dirt, and there's a pan-and-scan transfer on the flip side of the disc.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: This Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix is also very impressive, offering an enveloping sound experience that is sure to give any home theater a workout. The surrounds are always alive with the raucous music and action-oriented sound effects. The dialogue is always easy to understand, blending in well with the rest of the track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Illusionist, Winter Passing, Find Me Guilty
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Light on extras, this disc only grants us the theatrical trailer, three trailers for other Fox DVDs, and a three-minute making-of featurette that is standard EPK fare.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Despite the star power of Orlando Bloom, Haven came and went from a limited number of theaters, and rightfully so. Sleepwalking performances coupled with a far too jumbled narrative doom the film from the start, with impressive cinematography the only thing making this film worth a rental. The audio and video are actually quite impressive on Fox's disc, which has only one extra feature to speak of.


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