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Paramount Home Video presents
"I've seen every possible ending. None of them are good for you."
DVD ReviewLet the "Good Nicolas Cage" Vs. "Bad Nicolas Cage" debate rage on, as we get yet another example of the latter in Next.
Cris "Frank Cadillac" Johnson (Cage) is a magician with a cheesy gig in Las Vegas who has a slight edge over his competition. He has the rare ability to see two minutes into the future, easily preventing bad things from happening, at least to himself. When federal agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) learns of Cris' powers, she's hot on his trail, seeking to enlist his help in tracking down a stateside nuclear weapon. While avoiding Ferris, Cris can't shake the image of the beautiful Liz (Jessica Biel); he soon discovers the two share a very special connection.
This is the umpteenth film based on a Phillip K. Dick story (The Golden Man), and, while I haven't read the book, I'd be shocked if director Lee Tamahori did much to stick to the author's original vision. Once the film leaves its initial Las Vegas location (about 15 minutes in), it becomes clear that Tamahori doesn't have much of a vision himself. Easily one of the worst films of 2007, this total mess is not only unengaging and lifeless, but just plain boring. None of the characters is developed in the slightest, leaving an impressive lead cast looking stiff and uninterested throughout. Biel once again proves that she isn't much more than a pretty face, continuing to look stunned, regardless of what a particular scene calls for. Such a look is seemingly perfect for a "thriller" like this, but it's a stretch to say she's simply employing method acting skills.
The dialogue is laughingly bad, culminating in Cage's character actually taking the time during a potentially romantic moment with Biel to tell a joke! This is the worst of countless awkward moments in a film that is full of one-liners that make Schwarzenegger's barbs look Shakespearian. Along with the bad dialogue comes a curious lack of discussion anytime the villains are involved. Similar films have colorful bad guys that add a bit of pizzazz to the proceedings. At worst, we're at least told the villains' motives behind their antagonism, but here, we have no clue what drives these people. All we're told is that they have somehow snuck a nuclear weapon onto our turf. I'm not looking for Blofeld or Hans Gruber, but we have to at least know their names to become engaged in things.
Near the end, when the cheesy visual effects literally show us multiple Cages splitting apart from each other, all that's left to do is laugh. At this point, we're beyond camp, and I haven't even mentioned Cage's obnoxiously long, mullet-equipped hair. Cage's strange role selection has always been baffling, but it's reached a new, heightened strangeness with this one. I find it hard to believe that he can't be pickier about projects, but the large paychecks must simply be too much to pass up. Still, now that he's got a few more duds under his belt, Cage is due for a strong, award-worthy performance... isn't he?
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: F
Image Transfer Review: Presented in an anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, things are generally pleasing on the eyes, but sharpness is an issue at times. We get clear images during most of the film, but a few instances of softness crop up, along with some edge enhancement as well. Colors are true, bringing the intentional gold tone across in a vivid manner. There aren't any print flaws, and dirt and grain are held at bay.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is nice, but not as powerful as one might expect from an action-oriented thriller. The action scenes are, naturally, the most impressive, with all of the surround channels springing to life, utilizing some very nice directional effects. Through the rest of the film, ambient sounds are well-represented and the dialogue is always crystal clear.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Transformers, A Mighty Heart
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: The extras consist of a series of behind-the-scenes pieces. The first, Making the Next Big Thing, lasts just over 18 minutes and is full of behind-the-scenes footage, as well as cast and crew interviews.
Visualizing the Next Move is nearly eight minutes of visual effects coverage, along with discussion from visual effects supervisor John Sullivan, Digital Dreams lead compositor Marco Recuay, Digiscope visual effects supervisor Dion Hatch, and Digital Dreams digital artist Nicholas Lund-Ulrich.
The Next "Grand Idea" runs for almost seven minutes, and focuses on the location shoot in the Grand Canyon.
Finally, we get the two-minute Two Minutes in the Future with Jessica Biel, during which she gives her thoughts about seeing the future.
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsNicholas Cage's latest vehicle, Next is impossible to recommend on any level. Even die-hard action fans won't get much, if anything, out of the more intense sequences, and the star's fans will only feel embarrassed for him. Paramount's DVD is technically solid, with nice audio and video presentations accompanied by a decent collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes.
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