Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Age of Adaline Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Blake Lively (TV’s “Gossip Girl”), Michiel Huisman (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) and Kathy Baker (Edward Scissorhands) along with Academy Award nominee Harrison Ford (Best Actor, Witness, 1985) and Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn (Best Actress, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 1974) star in the unforgettable tale, The Age of Adaline, arriving on Digital HD August 25, On Demand September 4 and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital) September 8 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Set in stunning San Francisco, the film follows a woman through the years as the world around her changes, yet she remains the same. Blake Lively is captivating as Adaline, a 29-year-old who survives a near-death experience and from that day on, never grows older. Adaline guards her secret and her heart for eight decades until a charming philanthropist (Michiel Huisman) and his parents (Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker) force Adaline to confront her destiny in this unforgettable tale about the timeless power of love.
Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) was born on New Year’s Day 1908.  She fell in love, got married and had a daughter Flemming.  Adaline was in a car accident which left her clinically dead with her car submerged in icy water. Due to a lightning strike and a theory that the narrator says won’t be discovered until 2035, Adaline is revived but no longer ages. It takes a while for Adaline to realize that she is not aging and she eventually realizes that she can’t stay in one place.  She learns to get and keep an alias for 10 years before moving on to a new city and a new name.

Adaline doesn’t live a solitary existence.  In her present day alias she is named Jenny and lives in San Francisco.  She has a best friend who is blind, and therefore is unaware of her age.  Flemming is the only person aware of Adeline’s unique condition. She meets her mother for a birthday lunch and Ellen Burstyn is her daughter, who is aging as scheduled and is now thinking about retirement communities. There are certainly upsides to eternal youth.  Adeline experiences a lot and has a lot of knowledge about the historical events that have happened in her time. She is lucky to be stuck in the young, attractive body of actress Blake Lively.  It can’t be all that bad to be faced with looking like that for eternity.

When she meets a charming man at a New Year’s Eve Party, the downsides become evident.  Adeline has been alone for years because she can’t really share her life or plan a future with anyone.  The young man Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) doesn’t take no for an answer and is determined to win Adaline over.  She gives in and spends the night and soon she’s on her way to his parent’s anniversary party.  When Adaline meets Ellis’ parents she is quickly recognized by his father (Harrison Ford) who once knew Adaline.

Once Adaline is electrocuted and no longer ages, the rest is pretty predictable.  As soon as she meets Ellis you can guess that she’ll meet and know his father.  Still it’s a sweet movie with some very romantic and dramatic moments. The relationship between the “young” Adeline and her elderly daughter is the most touching part of the whole film.  In any movie, I’ve always had a hard time seeing Blake Lively as an adult.  She still seems like a teenager playing dress up to me.   Surprisingly I had no problem accepting the fact that she was over a century old.

This is the type of movie that you shouldn’t expect much from. It’s an interesting but predictable story with solid acting that keeps the moviegoer interested. It is not the teary adventure that a Nicholas Sparks movie would be but it's still your standard chick flick with a few twists and I'm sure that the film will be filling a lot of mom’s Christmas stockings this year. The man who plays the young Harrison Ford had the biggest shoes to fill if you ask me.  Not many young mean seem like they could grow up to be Harrison Ford but this young man, and his Harrison Ford impression fared very well.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
The Age of Adaline is presented on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in a 2.40:1 ratio. The Director explains in the commentary that most of the film was shot digitally while brief segments were filmed with a hand cranked 16mm. There is an intentional soft feel to the flashbacks and a sharp clarity to the present day that helps sell the story. There are a few brief concerns in the nighttime shots but overall this is a very nice presentation by Lionsgate.
Audio (4 1/2  out of 5 stars)
The Age of Adaline is presented with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track.  Surround sound comes to live with peripheral activity at times but this is a very subdued film will little in your fact action.  The two car accidents offer very real crash elements and dialogue remains even and consistent throughout the film.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)

  • Audio Commentary - Director Lee Toland Krieger provides an overall technical commentary that’s interesting and worth the time, after viewing the film alone once.
  •  A Love Story for the Ages (29:38) - This behind the scenes featurette takes a look at the making of The Age of Adeline with substantial interviews.
  • Style Throughout the Ages (18:19) – A featurette focused on production design.
  • Discovering Young Harrison Ford: Anthony Ingruber, A YouTube Sensation (8:19) -A look at the actor who stepped into some very big shoes.
  • Deleted Scenes - Four and a half minutes of cut scenes. 
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Age of Adeline has been called a “sweeping romance” and I don’t disagree. I don’t expect a lot of variety from the romance category and don’t mind if the film is a bit predictable.  It’s well acted by all involved and isn’t the type of chick flick that will make guys run from the room. The performances are warm and heartfelt and the Blu-ray looks and sounds very good. The special features enhance the film and this is one I will watch again. I recommend making the Blu-ray purchase if the romance genre appeals to you in the least.

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