Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Love Happens

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Kevin EK, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer

    May 9, 2003
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    Love Happens
    Studio: Universal
    Year: 2009
    Length:  1 hr 49 mins
    Genre: Drama/Romance/Tearjerker
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    BD Resolution: 1080p
    BD Video Codec: VC-1 (@ an average 30 mbps)
    Color/B&W: Color
    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.5 mbps)
    French DTS 5.1
    Spanish DTS 5.1
    English DVS 2.0 (Descriptive Visual Service)
    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
    Film Rating: PG-13 (Some Language Including Sexual References)
    Release Date: February 2, 2010
    Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston, Dan Fogler, Judy Greer, Joe Anderson, John Carroll Lynch and Martin Sheen
    Written by: Brandon Camp and Mike Thompson
    Directed by: Brandon Camp
    Film Rating:    1 ½/5  
    Love Happens is a romantic tearjerker, starring Aaron Eckhart as a widower who’s made a new life as a self-help guru and Jennifer Aniston as the quirky florist he meets when his book/seminar tour carries him through Seattle. There’s not much more to the story than that, and things bog down from the slight quirks and teases of the opening scenes to much more heavy-handed material as we learn the details of Eckhart’s inner pain. I can’t fault the technical side of this film – it’s a good-looking and good-sounding movie, even if the CGI additions of Seattle skylines to the Vancouver locations have given many Seattle residents fits. (I won’t even get into the stairwell scene in the Space Needle, as this has generated more flames across the internet than I would have thought possible.)  And the acting here is fine – Eckhart in particular does his best to give his character some edginess and depth. But the script and the directing by Brandon Camp simply don’t deliver anything deep here, and many scenes that cry out for something more are instead drenched by a pop acoustic song in the background. For a film that wants to be about grief and love and moving on, this is a serious problem.  The other issue, which continues to irk me, is that the film clearly intends for Seattle itself to be a character, and yet there is very little of the real city in this film.  It’s one thing to film the interiors elsewhere and go to the city for the exterior shoot. It’s another idea altogether to shoot most of the exteriors elsewhere as well, and then try to add bits of the real city into the background with the computer.
    Love Happens has just been released on Blu-ray and standard definition DVD, with the same features available on both versions. The Blu-ray release has a high definition transfer of the movie, and presents the extra features in 1080p high definition as well.
    VIDEO QUALITY   3 ½/5
    Love Happens is presented in a 1080p VC-1 1.85:1 transfer that shows a wide range of colors and environments. The frequent use of CGI comes through seamlessly here – even during shots where the camera is moving. This is a fine video transfer of a well-lit and filmed movie.  I should note that I am watching the film on a 40” Sony XBR2 HDTV. If anyone is watching the film on a larger monitor and is having issues, please post them on this thread.
    AUDIO QUALITY   3 ½/5
    Love Happens is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English, along with standard DTS 5.1 mixes in French and Spanish and a DVS track in English.   Given the nature of the film, it’s appropriate that the mix here keeps the dialogue clear and in the front channels. The rear channels are used for some atmospheric sounds and for the frequent songs that fill the home theater. As with the picture, this is a fine audio mix that reflects a well-made product.
    The Blu-Ray presentation of Love Happens comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity and My Scenes functionality, in addition to a scene-specific commentary and high definition versions of the deleted scenes and a CGI sampler from the standard definition release.
    Feature Commentary with Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson and Richard Solomon – This scene-specific group commentary sounds like the filmmakers are having a good time watching their movie with each other. This commentary is the one really worthwhile extra on the disc, because it provides some basic information about what was happening during the production and admits at several points how much of the film was really lensed in Vancouver. (One surprising admission is that Jennifer Aniston did not participate in the brief Seattle shoot they were able to do with Aaron Eckhart, so her scenes had to be carefully shot and edited…)
    Deleted Scenes – (13:06 Total, 1080p) WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS IN THE FOOTAGE HERE. A total of 6 deleted scenes are presented here, mostly focusing on Joe Anderson’s performance as Jennifer Aniston’s ex-boyfriend, and including a couple of additional moments with Dan Fogler as Eckhart’s business manager.
    Giving Romance a New Look – (3:01, 1080p)  This is actually a brief collection of shots from the movie that include CGI additions to place the scenes in Seattle. Scenes are initially shown as filmed, with greenscreen backdrops or even real locations, and then shown again with the completed CGI work. If anything, this is an example of how far this technique has come in the last few years. 
    BD-Live - The more general BD-Live screen is accessible via the menu, which makes various online materials available, including tickers, trailers and special events.
    My Scenes - The usual bookmarking feature is included here.
    The usual promotional ticker is present on the main menu, but can be toggled off at your discretion. The film and the special features are subtitled in English, Spanish and French.
    When you first put the Blu-ray into the player, the disc loads random trailers from BD-Live. So you may get a trailer for the now-airing Olympics on NBC. Or you may get the general Universal Blu-ray trailer. Or you may get trailers for individual movies. The level of definition varies. In some cases, they are 720p high definition, and in others, they are 480p standard definition.
    IN THE END...
    Love Happens is a romantic tearjerker that unfortunately limits its depth, and thus, its appeal. Its technical aspects are good, with a solid picture and sound, and with a talented cast. But there just isn’t much substance here. Fans of Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston may wish to rent this, to see their latest work, but I would not recommend a blind buy here.
    Kevin Koster
    February 17, 2010.

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