Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Downsizing 4K Ultra HD Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
From Academy Award winner, Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Nebraska), comes the hilarious film that delivers big comedy… and small Matt Damon. When scientists find a way to shrink humans to five inches tall, Paul Safranek (Academy Award Winner, Matt Damon), and his wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig), decide to ditch their stress out lives in order to get small and live large in a luxurious downsized community. Filled with life-changing adventures and endless possibilities, Leisureland offers more than riches, as Paul discovers a whole new world and realizes that we are meant for something bigger. Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) also stars in the film hailed by critics as “tremendously entertaining” and “truly original.”
Film (4 out of 5 stars)
Paul Safranek and his wife Audrey are stuck in a rut. They live in the home Paul grew up in, struggle at their jobs, can’t afford a nice new home, and are generally unhappy. When they attend their class reunion, they see an old friend who has been “downsized” – shrunk to five inches. After hearing all the positives, Paul and Audrey throw caution to the wind and decide to downsize. However, after they are separated at the beginning of the process, Paul ends up in Leisureland alone, having to start a new, tiny life without Audrey.

As Paul adjusts, he meets his upstairs neighbor, Dusan, who parties like it’s still the 1960s – complete with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. One morning, after Paul wakes up after a party, he sees a woman cleaning the apartment. He recognizes her as a famous person who was downsized, and notices that her prosthetic foot is causing her pain. When she takes him home to help her, she first makes him help her roommate. As Paul adjusts her foot for her, it breaks, and he winds up helping her in so many other ways. As Paul navigates this new world, he meets many different people and ends up at the very first downsized colony. It’s here that he realizes that he is meant for something bigger and he finally understands what it all means, and what he can do to help make the world a better place.

I had wanted to see Downsizing when it was in the theater, but with everything else that came out at the same time, I just didn’t have the time. I have a love/hate (mostly love) relationship with Matt Damon. I love all his movies, even the ones where he tries to kill other characters that I love (that’s where the hate comes in). Damon is wonderful as Paul, the long-suffering man who just wants a better life. He brings the character to life, and makes the viewer care about his life, his journey, and what happens. Christoph Waltz is fabulous as Paul’s Bosnian neighbor, Dusan, and Hong Chau is really funny as Ngoc Lan Tran. I am not usually a fan of Kristen Wiig, but I found her delightful and hilarious as Audrey. The funniest part of the movie was her final telephone interaction with Paul; I don’t think many other actresses could have pulled that off as well.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
This presentation of Downsizing is really good. The colors are bright and crisp, and the scenes are beautiful. There’s a lot of white in the scenes where the downsizing occurs and the bright white just pops off the screen and makes you really believe you are in some hospital-like institute. Scene transitions were great; there were no visible issues with any part of the screen.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
The English 7.1 DTS-HD audio was really good. It was clear and audible, and you could hear everything at just the right time. Background sounds were woven into the soundtrack really well, and I especially loved the little tiny explosion near the end of the movie. The volume levels were even and the dialogue was easily understood. Even the characters with accents were understandable and realistic. Additional audio is available in English audio description, Spanish (Latin America) 5.1 Dolby digital, French (Canadian) 5.1 Dolby digital, and Portuguese (Brazil) 5.1 Dolby digital. Subtitles in English, English for the hearing impaired, Spanish (Latin America), French (Canadian), and Portuguese (Brazil) are also available if needed.
Extras (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
There are a number of special features on the Blu-ray disc. I enjoyed most of them, but as with any set of special features, there was some repeating of comments across the features.
  • Working with Alexander -- Interviews with cast and crew about working with director Alexander Payne. 
  • The Cast -- Some background on the actors chosen for the movie, with commentary from director Alexander Payne, casting crew, and the actors themselves 
  • A Visual Journey -- the sets and choices of colors that brought the movie together.
  • A Matter of Perspective – Cast and crew talking about the visual effects of the movie. How they scaled the characters and the props by using camera angles and green screen.
  • That Smile -- The cast and crew discuss working with Matt Damon. 
  • A Global Concern -- Talking about the sustainability of the movie, the props, comments about recycling, conserving water, and helping to make the world a better place.
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
Downsizing is a fun movie that tackles a few of the problems for the world today. It’s not an in-your-face lecture, but a comedic, dramatic, and sort of scientific look at how we humans can make the world a better place for the future. There are many laugh-out-loud moments, and the comedic timing of Matt Damon and his co-stars is great. I will definitely be watching this a few more times and I recommend it to any fan of Matt Damon.

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