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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: My Sister's Keeper



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#1 of 3 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

Michael Osadciw

    Screenwriter



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Posted December 28 2009 - 12:07 PM



Film Rating: /img/vbsmilies/htf/star.gif">/img/vbsmilies/htf/star.gif<br /></span>
</strong><strong class='bbc'> </strong><strong class='bbc'><i>Starring: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin, Jason Patric, Sofia Vassilieva</i></strong><strong class='bbc'> </strong><em class='bbc'><strong class='bbc'>Novel by: Jodi Picoult</strong></em><em class='bbc'><strong class='bbc'>Screenplay by: Jeremy Levin & Nick Cassavetes</strong></em><em class='bbc'><strong class='bbc'>Directed by: Nick Cassavetes</strong></em><strong class='bbc'> </strong><strong class='bbc'> </strong><strong class='bbc'>My Sister’s Keeper</strong> is a film that makes me think that we’ve certainly caught up with the times. Had this film been released 20 or 30 years ago, it would be a good science-fiction drama with a possible future: a story of a lab-baby, grown to be used as donor parts for a dying human born by natural birth who then becomes of mind to exercise conscience with free will and therefore rejecting its original designed purpose for life. Science fiction? Absolutely – but only once upon a time. The human brain is a fascinating thing as it’s determined to design, create, and advance life on Earth against the natural flow of nature. For the sake of this discussion, our desire to “play God” by being the creators of life has drawn both equal amounts of support and rejection on the topic. The goals of science and ethics tend not to mix and as our society scientifically advances forward, ethics are always charging forward with another point of view. <strong class='bbc'>My Sister’s Keeper</strong> does not focus on the ethics of ‘playing God’, but rather one of the spin off issues playing God creates. Anna Fitzgerald is an 11-year old girl who was born in a lab and has the genetics of both of her parents. The reason for her creation is to provide body parts and fluids for her older sister, Kate, who is dying from leukemia. Her parents were distraught when they learned that Kate was diagnosed with the disease at the age of four and her only chance of survival would be to find an exact donor among the population of the world…unless of course, one could be genetically engineered in the lab. Anna lives and grows up like every other child in the world. She has the same responsibilities and expectations, and shares the same joys and fears, family and friends. What makes her different than every other child? She’s engineered for a human-made purpose and not of natural birth. Humans are therefore designating a future to other humans, but do we have a right to do this? The argument is if people are created in a lab, are they normal? Do they have rights like the rest of us? Do they have a soul? Are they children of the world/God or just engineered individuals living with a separate set of rules and laws? Anna Fitzgerald decides to take matters in her own hands. She’s tired of being prodded and cut up to help her sister survive because if her sister survives, she dies. Which is the greater good? Is there a greater good? Who has the right to live and the pathway to die? Anna wants the rights to her life and her own body as she appears to be developing her own conscience on the matter. She hires a lawyer who is willing to take on her case. Her parents again are at odds in terms of what to do. Jason Patric - who plays Anna’s father Brian - gets it. In contrast is Cameron Diaz’s motherly character; she isn’t remotely warm to Anna at all, as if she hasn’t raised a second daughter for the past 11 years. It appears that nothing seems to be morally wrong in taking the life of Anna to save her first born, carried in the womb. Maybe it’s a motive as a man I will never know, but she appears to be determined to save her first born no matter the cost to her lab-designed daughter. It is questioned if they have acted morally towards Anna all of these years – not giving her a choice because she hasn’t been capable of making choices at such a young age. Has it been moral to inflict pain on this individual all of these years to ease the suffering of someone else? You get the point. As the news of the word discusses advancements in science and different ways of developing and healing humans, we are now facing these questions now that science has caught up with fiction. <br />
 <span  style=PICTURE QUALITY: 4/5  /img/vbsmilies/htf/star.gif">/img/vbsmilies/htf/star.gif</span></span></span> It’s not often that I find New Line messing up an image on a new feature Blu-ray. Again, New Line does not disappoint when bringing <strong class='bbc'>My Sister’s Keeper </strong>to home video. I found the image to be acceptable in black level reproduction, clean whites, and colours that are very acceptable on home video. If I were to have one slight complaint it would be that the colours were just a bit too warm. It’s an artistic decision of course and it doesn’t detract from the overall excellent image quality of this 2.40:1 image.  <span><span  style=SOUND QUALITY: 3/5  /img/vbsmilies/htf/star.gif">/img/vbsmilies/htf/star.gif This film is dialogue-driven and is centered mostly in the middle front. The music is well recorded as well are the sound effects without sounding overly aggressive and harsh. Surround usage is limited and was expected considering the nature of this film. This is a heartwarming drama with a warm and simple soundtrack.  SPECIAL FEATURES: 1.5/5  /img/vbsmilies/htf/half.gif Oh God…like the just recently released "Shorts", My Sister’s Keeper has a host of ads as soon as the disc is loaded in. If the studio is trying to make my home theater experience exactly like the movie theater experience with commercials and all, then they are certainly doing a good job. Eeek. The disc has three features: My Sister’s Keeper: From Picoult to Screen (HD, 13:34) and eight deleted scenes (SD, 16:22), and a digital copy on a separate disc. The featurette is speedy in presentation with interviews from Picoult, actors, and director. It talks about the author’s transition from novel to film as well as about the characters. It’s a nice addition and worth viewing once. The deleted scenes are always welcomed and show how important editing is for a film. While there are some worthy scenes here, most would slow the film. The audio is rough and 2ch mono. 
 IN THE END… My Sister’s Keeper is a great film to watch; it’s touching to the emotions as well as to reality as life can be complicated and heartbreaking. It’s well acted and brought to the screen portraying human emotions on an ethical level in our scientifically advancing world.

Michael Osadciw
09.12.28

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#2 of 3 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted December 29 2009 - 02:50 PM

Gotta disagree with you here, Michael.  This film's a stinker. 

This was a highly anticipated title for my wife, who's a big fan of the book.  The writing of this script was quite poor.  As a fan of the book, she was EXTREMELY disappointed by the way they re-worked the story.  As someone who had never read the book, I was also extremely disappointed in the story.  In particular, the way the story was told and the plot secret was revealed was clunky and ineffective. 

I kept wondering throughout the film why the sisters never had a conversation about Breslin's character's decision to refuse help. I mean, c'mon...that would be the central point of conflict and the film's not ever going to go there?!?  Suspicious.  Then, one payphone(!) call revealed everything with quite a bit of movie left to play out.

And the courtroom scene couldn't have been any more confusing with the dog and the sisters' brother all going crazy at once.  And Joan Cusack, who I think is terrific, tells her bailiff to "let everything go" because it's starting to get interesting?  /img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsdown.gif
 
This was a big disappointment for the entire family.  Cameron Diaz was horribly miscast.  She came off as an uncaring bitch.  Maybe she was supposed to, but it is hard, as a parent, to understand if one child is dying of cancer another child sues you and your third is having apparent problems (not really spelled out in the film)...that you would want to come out of semi-retirement and defend yourself in court.  Wouldn't you be a little preoccupied and want to devote that time to your kids?

I thought this was a real clunker.  I was expecting a bit more. 

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#3 of 3 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

Michael Osadciw

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Posted December 31 2009 - 04:14 AM

Hi Mike

Thanks for the comments.  I have not read the book so I can't make any parallels.  It's all too often when screenplays don't represent books very well...  They are two different mediums and without good writers, they clash and become disasters for fans of the novels.  I was watching it from a purely entertainment perspective.  Maybe I was a bit generous on the four stars...

I'll agree with you here:
Quote:
 Cameron Diaz was horribly miscast.  She came off as an uncaring bitch.

I felt the same way, which is why I politely put it this way:

Quote:

...Cameron Diaz’s motherly character; she isn’t remotely warm to Anna at all, as if she hasn’t raised a second daughter for the past 11 years. It appears that nothing seems to be morally wrong in taking the life of Anna to save her first born, carried in the womb. Maybe it’s a motive as a man I will never know, but she appears to be determined to save her first born no matter the cost to her lab-designed daughter.

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