Film Year: 2009
Film Length: 1 hour 38 mins (Theatrical Cut) 1 hour 48 mins (Unrated Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
BD Resolution: 1080p
BD Video Codec: VC-1 (@ an average 25 mbps)
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 4.0 mbps)
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Film Rating: R (Graphic Violence, Language, Drug Use, Sexuality, Brief Nudity)
Release Date: December 29, 2009
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez and Steve Zahn
Written and Directed by: David Twohy
Film Rating: 1/5
It is a rare occasion when a film possesses so few redeeming qualities that it is actually difficult to come up with a way to review it. But that’s the case with A Perfect Getaway, and I have to confess struggling to come up with anything remotely interesting to say about it. The movie is ostensibly the latest thriller from David Twohy (Pitch Black), and it starts with a promising idea. The audience is shown a few clips from a wedding video and then thrust into the middle of a Hawaiian honeymoon for the newly married couple. But then we get the catch – there’s apparently a pair of killers on the loose, and they’ve just killed another pair of newlyweds in the area. At this point, the movie starts throwing various possibilities of who the killers could be, trying to ratchet up the tension while Twohy laces the script with screenwriting in-jokes and references. (His main character is presented as a screenwriter, allowing the characters to discuss red herrings and other thriller mainstays, while acting them out as part of the story.) So far, this idea has some potential – the idea of newlyweds cut off from the world (albeit in a beautiful Hawaiian setting) and in potential danger from all sides. And for that potential, along with an entertainingly loopy performance by Timothy Olyphant, I give the film its single star in my rating. Because the whole thing simply crumbles before the viewer’s eyes and ears. Scenes that should be tense and exciting are instead completely leaden. The only character that shows any interesting colors is Olyphant’s, and the rest of the show is practically a travelogue through occasionally beautiful scenery. (There’s a major issue with the picture here, but I’ll get to that in the proper place.) And then to add injury to the insult, the movie unleashes what I would have to say is one of the most outlandish plot twists I’ve ever seen. The problem here isn’t that there’s a twist – you should expect that with a thriller. No, the problem is that the twist renders the entire story unbelievable. Standard plot structure for a thriller requires the writer to construct the story backwards, so that the whole thing will make sense when you get to the end. David Twohy apparently abandoned that step here, and the twist renders the story a complete fantasy. So I can’t recommend this even for thriller fans or people who like David Twohy’s other movies.
A Perfect Getaway was released at the end of December on standard DVD and Blu-ray. The Blu-ray release has an HD transfer of the picture and sound, along with a “shocking” alternate version of the ending that is anything but shocking.
VIDEO QUALITY 2/5
A Perfect Getaway is presented in a 1080p VC-1 2.35:1 transfer that is really disappointing to watch. There is a fair amount of digital noise present in many of the panoramic vista shots of Hawaii, which is both inexplicable and disheartening. At other times, during some dialogue sequences between the hero honeymooners, the close-ups have been shot and transferred in such a way that the green backround behind them is flattened into a single dimension. (I am told that this is the result of shooting in low light conditions.) The movie’s credits indicate a film loader in the camera crew but not a DIT, so I must believe that this film was shot on film, but I have to say the movie looks like it was mostly shot on HD cameras. At the same time, there are some startlingly beautiful vista shots mixed in – particularly one sequence where the honeymooner group is hiking on some rocks by the coast and some strikingly blue water. But those shots, which should be filling this movie, are few and far between. And even if the movie looked like this in the movie theater, I can’t believe there was that much digital noise. 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 2 ½/5
A Perfect Getaway 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. This is not what I would call a really active mix. There are the expected cattle prods and jolts – particularly one subwoofer hit in the middle of a discussion between two honeymooning wives. But the mix is unimpressive, considering all the possibilities here for atmospheric sound that simply don’t play out.
SPECIAL FEATURES ½/5
The Blu-Ray presentation of A Perfect Getaway comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity, D-Box and My Scenes functionality, along with a single extra, that being the alternate ending.
“Shocking Original Scripted Ending” (1080p, 2:39) – Here we have a slightly different version of the film’s ending, which has a couple of different script beats, but otherwise plays exactly the same. There is one shot that has a little blood in it, but nothing outrageous. In other words, there’s nothing shocking here at all.
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.
D-Box – This Blu-ray is enabled with D-Box Motion for viewers who have this capability in their home theater.
My Scenes - The usual bookmarking feature is included here.
Two Versions of the Film – When you first put the disc in the player, you’ll get an option to play either the R-Rated Theatrical cut, or an extended director’s cut. I watched the longer director’s cut for this review.
IN THE END...
A Perfect Getaway is, unfortunately, not a film I can recommend for its own virtues, or for the virtues of what a good Blu-ray transfer and package can offer.
January 14, 2009.