Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Predestination Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Two-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke (Best Supporting Actor: Training Day, 2001; Boyhood, 2014) reunites with the Spierig Brothers directing team (Daybreakers) for the ingeniously constructed time-travel thriller Predestination, debuting on Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 10 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Based on the mind-bending short story “All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein, the film also stars actors Sarah Snook (Jessabelle) and Noah Taylor from (“Game of Thrones”). Predestination chronicles the life of a Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke) sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to ensure the continuation of his law enforcement career. Now, on his final assignment, the Agent must recruit his younger self while pursuing the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Although I didn’t know much about this film, I expected it to be much more of a straight forward cop flick with the chase for the bad guy jumping through time, not just jurisdictions. Predestination is much more involved and complicated than that. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and not quite my kind of movie but I will give it points for making you think. In order to avoid spoilers, I’ll give a very brief plot summary. If you are at all interested, you should at least rent the film, see the twists and turns and determine whether or not to buy the Blu-ray.

Ethan Hawke plays a bartender who was once a temporal agent (time cop). While attempting to capture a man called “The Fizzle Bomber” he was horribly burned and disfigured. The injury left his voice and face changed. A young man sits down at the bar and strikes up a conversation. The man promises a remarkable story, and delivers as he relays his past beginning with a difficult childhood. Eventually, Hawke’s character reveals who he is and takes his new friend on a journey through time.

Predestination is based on sci-fi author Robert Heinlein’s short story All You Zombies. I haven’t read any of Heinlein’s work but am a fan of another film based on his work, Starship Troopers. Going into the film, I’m aware that it’s got something to do with time travel, but have no more information than that. Sometimes, that’s a good way to start a film – without thinking you have all the answers before it starts.

There’s a lot going on with this movie but not a lot I can talk about. As you listen to the stories unfold, and you try to figure out who is who the bar jukebox plays “I’m My Own Grandpa”, proving the filmmakers had a sense of humor. The film will make you say “wait…what?” more than once as the viewer is asked to reconcile whether the chicken or the egg came first. I can promise you that it’s quite a story. 
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Predestination is presented on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition. The film has excellent fine detail and textures that are true to life. The film has an overall haze to it and the color palette helps determine the past from the present and the future. The colors are bold and flesh tones are accurate. As with most Sony releases, I have no major complaints.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix offers a fine compliment to the video presentation. Music, special effects and dialogue are well balanced and weighty. You’ll notice light ambience and enough detail to offer a fairly immersive listening experience.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
The Predestination Blu-ray offers a short list of special features with an unexpected blooper reel.
  • Bloopers – Just under two minutes of outtakes.
  • A Journey Through Time – A look at the story and acting with cast and crew interviews.
  • All You Zombies: Brining Predestination to Life – A lengthy and comprehensive featurette broken down into the following parts: Introduction, Casting, Pre-Production, Principal Photography Week One, Principal Photography Week Two, Principal Photography Week Three, Principal Photography Week Four, Principal Photography Week Five, Principal Photography Week Six, Post-Production and Conclusion.
  • Previews for additional Sony titles.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Along the lines of Inception, Predestination is not what it seems on the surface. By the end, the viewer has gone on quite a journey, unsure of what’s up and what’s down. It’s the kind of film that’s not for everyone. You’ll be likely to watch it and think either, this is awesome and I want to know more or this is stupid and implausible. I caution you not to think it through and try to guess everything that’s going to happen just see where the film takes you. As is the case with many films with big twists, I fear that it’ll lose something when you know the secret from the beginning. I am always looking for good sci-fi films to watch in repeated viewings and this isn’t the type of film I’d want to watch often. I do suggest giving it a chance to see if it’s for you.

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