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HTF REVIEW: "K-PAX" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 39 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 13 2002 - 08:35 AM

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He leaves July 27th

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It begins at Grand Central Station in New

York City. A beam of light, and then the

appearance of a man wearing sunglasses, slowly

becoming accustomed to his new surroundings.

Meet Prot (Kevin Spacey), a strange and quiet

out-of-this-world character who claims he is

literally from out of this world...a planet

called K-PAX.

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Prot is taken to a Mental Hospital where he

is put under the care of Dr. Mark Powell (Jeff

Bridges), who is fascinated by Prot's claims that

he is not of this earth. The two form an interesting

bond as Dr. Powell wonders if there is anything

more to this mysterious patient.

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I mildly enjoyed this movie. For the first

half of the film, I was wildly fascinated by

this human who claims he is from another planet.

Spacey's performance is quite enjoyable and

convincing as someone not quite who they should be,

taking an interesting look at the world around us

and things we take for granted.

But the film gets weighed down with a bit of

shlock, such as a sequence where the patients of

the mental facility become full of joyous hope

when they see a blue-bird outside the window --

something Prot offered them as a sign of hope.

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Still, Spacey's over-the-top performance still

makes this film worth watching, and you'll be

somewhat entertained by the storyline that will

keep you guessing right up to the film's final


How is the transfer?

Trust me when I say that this is one of the

most gorgeous DVD transfers I have reviewed.

In the tradition of other great transfers

like THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, Universal offers

up a stunningly flawless anamorphic (2.35:1)

transfer. Wheras THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS dazzled

us with brilliantly vivid colors, K-PAX

dazzles us with cinematographer John Mathieson's

wonderfully warm transfer with a light motif

that relates narratively to Prot's photosensitivity.

The transfer remains remarkably smooth, and even

in the darker shadows of interior scenes, grain

is never evident.

Perfection goes even a step further when you

listen to the 5.1 DTS surround mix. It is one

of the best non-action mixes I have ever heard.

In fact, I can't believe that a movie with no

hard action sequences whatsoever, sports an

incredibly active surround mix. Starting with

the film's opening score, the rears come

to life with the sounds of techno-music. The

LFE channel delivers strong musical beats to the

subwoofer. If that isn't impressive enough,

you'll be more impressed with the quieter scenes

that take place in the mental hospital. As you

sit and watch and listen to the character

interactions before you, you can clearly hear all

the hospital activities in the background rears.

Even the quiet outdoor scenes contain some sort

of subtle rear activity that remind the viewer

that there is an outside world that surrounds them.

I absolutely love what Universal has done with

this DTS mix.

Special Features

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A wonderfully eerie animated menu sequence

sets the mood for the DVD as colors of light

dissolve into a menu featuring Port against

a background of ever-changing colors of light.

The DVD features a full-length commentary

by Director Iain Softley.

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I actually prefer the Director's Alternate

that features Doctor Powell gazing

into a telescope and giving a philosophical hope

that we may see Prot one day return.

There are approximately five minutes of

Deleted Scenes that play in continuous

form rather than selectively. These deleted

scenes include: Dr. Powell having a busy morning

at the hospital's admittance ward; Port taking

a detailed look around at the constellations that

hang in the planetarium; The world's leading

astronomers calling Dr. Powell alerting him that

Prot has found a black-hole -- something that

nobody could have conjured up in their mind;

A security tape possibly explaining the hospital

disappearance of Prot; A snippet of Dr. Powell

checking the hospital for the missing patient;

Dr. Powell at home in a tender moment with his

wife as she plays the piano.

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Spotlight On Location is one of those

HBO specials that gives an overview of the film.

Producer Lawrence Gordon recalls the book being

brought to his company, and how everyone fell in

love with it. Kevin Spacey comments on how

attracted he came to the character of Prot, not

knowing that the producers didn't have him in mind

for that particular part. Two years later, the

studio called him to offer him the part. Visiting

many mental institutions, Spacey notes that there

are many patients who believe they are from another

planet. We are taken on the various sets to watch

the action from behind the camera. Actress Mary

McCormack (Private Parts) recalls how well Jeff

Bridges and Kevin Spacey got along and played off

of each other. This 11-minute featurette is very

entertaining thanks to the interviews with the film's


There is a Storyboard to Final Feature

that concentrates on the film's

opening moments in Grand Central Station. With

the original storyboard drawings window on top

of a window featuring the film's final footage,

we get a clear idea of how close the film came

to the conceptual drawings.

A small segment of Photographs by Jeff

chronicles the making of K-PAX.

The segment runs under 1 1/2 minutes, and features

interesting black & white photographs with

handwritten notes by Bridges.

The film's original trailer and set of

Production notes are included on this DVD.

Cast and Filmmakers gives us the standard

bio's of the people involved with the film.

This I found interesting. Now Showing

is a brand-new promotional piece that Universal

put together that features scenes from past,

current and future releases including A Beautiful

and Big Fat Liar. It rounds up

with the ability to look at trailers from: APOLLO



This is a great Trailer Park!

UNIVERSAL SHOWCASE gives us the latest

trailer for The Scorpion King, which clearly

has got to be anticipated as the worst film to

be released this year. By the way, we got inside

word that Universal recently went back to film

a few extra minutes of "breast shots" to earn

the film a higher rating.

DVD-ROM features are also included.

Final Thoughts

The original STARMAN meets a new STARMAN.

K-PAX lacks the out-of-world excitement

that movie audiences might expect from a feature

like this. Yet, thanks to Spacey's performance,

the film remains a somewhat entertaining look at

the world around us.

Worth a rental first.

Release Date: March 26th, 2002


Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 39 OFFLINE   BobG


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Posted March 13 2002 - 08:54 AM


By the way, we got inside

word that Universal recently went back to film

a few extra minutes of "breast shots" to earn

the film a higher rating.


I'm there!Posted Image Posted Image

#3 of 39 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted March 13 2002 - 09:50 AM

Another fine review, Ron. And despite your lukewarm assessment of the film itself, I am looking forward to this release. Thanks!

#4 of 39 OFFLINE   Mike Graham

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Posted March 13 2002 - 12:05 PM

I gotta say, even though the movie didn't handle the other mental patients very well, the final scene
where we see Bridges' character meeting his estranged son with Spacey giving a thoughtful voice over
really made it much more enjoyable as a whole. Bridges and Spacey are great in their respective roles, while the wonderful new age score by Edward Shearmur enhances the thought provoking themes ; the beautiful photography of Mathieson (Gladiator, Hannibal) makes this piece a treat for the eyes as well. Definitely worth a rental.

#5 of 39 OFFLINE   Rusty Ray

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Posted March 13 2002 - 12:44 PM

Ron, when i saw this in the theater, after the credits shows a scene where the dr. is looking through a telescope up at the sky, which sounds very familiar to the alternate ending you mentioned. is this on the dvd as well?
"As long as you are out there, I can never be number one...."

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#6 of 39 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 13 2002 - 01:09 PM

Yes, that is the alternative ending. I am curious as to why it was on the theatrical version.


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#7 of 39 OFFLINE   Rusty Ray

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Posted March 13 2002 - 02:14 PM

strange, i dont know why, but i was in the theater about to leave and it came on, so i was thinking of it more as an epilogue than alternate ending..
"As long as you are out there, I can never be number one...."

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#8 of 39 OFFLINE   Josh_Hill



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Posted March 13 2002 - 03:04 PM

I loved this movie and will certainly pick up the DVD!

#9 of 39 OFFLINE   Rod Melotte

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Posted March 13 2002 - 05:41 PM

Excellent movie - unless you are the type of person that does not like to think afterwards. I enjoyed it but many people I know didn't because it left them hanging and having to make up there own minds. THAT is what I liked about it. Trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I'll buy it for sure.

#10 of 39 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted March 13 2002 - 06:27 PM

Definitely getting this one for sure. Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite actors and judging from what trailers I've seen of the film, it's another stellar effort from him. I'm already there.Posted Image
Recently watched- Guardians Of The Galaxy 3D, Ender's Game, Escape From L.A., Highlander 2, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Escape From New York, The Interview, Trancers, Don Jon, Under Fire, Major Dundee: Extended Version, Brannigan, Used Cars, Hard Times, The Mechanic(1972), The Dogs Of War, Fast & Furious 6

Currently watching- Planet Earth, True Blood: Season 3, Gatchaman: The Complete Series, The Equalizer: Season 3, Tales From The Crypt: Season 2, WKRP In Cincinnati: Season 2, Star Trek: Season 2, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1, Game Of Thrones: Season 2, Heroes: Season 2, The Pacific
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#11 of 39 OFFLINE   Scott-C


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Posted March 17 2002 - 07:32 PM

Thanks for the review, Ron. Overall, I felt the first half of this movie was positively compelling, and like Ron, I was fascinated by Prot's interaction with humans and our planet. However, I felt the movie slipped a notch during the latter half and did not capture my attention as the first half did. Still a very enjoyable movie - one I will consider purchasing.

#12 of 39 OFFLINE   DennisP


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Posted March 17 2002 - 07:54 PM

Ever since seeing this movie in the theater, I'v been anxiously awaitng it's release. This is a "Must Own" for me. I'm a big Kevin Spacey fan, and I really think he hit a home run in this film. The guy is so versatile, I've yet to be disappointed by anything he's done. Next up on my "to buy" list is "The Shipping News".....where he plays what I consider an "Anti-Prot"....

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#13 of 39 OFFLINE   Kwang Suh

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Posted March 17 2002 - 08:17 PM

Is it just me, or is Universal kicking it up a notch on their recent transfers?

#14 of 39 OFFLINE   Sean Moon

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Posted March 17 2002 - 09:09 PM

They must be tired of playing second fiddle to Fox and Warners on the transfers!Posted Image

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#15 of 39 OFFLINE   Dave H

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Posted March 17 2002 - 11:23 PM

I never saw this movie, but I think I might really enjoy this it and I really like Spacey and Bridges. Rarely do I buy a movie before seeing it, but if I can pick this up at a good price, I may just do it. Also, I like having to decide for myself how it ends.

#16 of 39 OFFLINE   luke cav

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Posted March 18 2002 - 06:08 AM

Picked K-pax up along with, training day, donnie darko and joyride. I was interested to see K-pax since it not released at the cinema in the UK till 12th April and not out on R2 dvd till March 2003. But have not managed to watch it yet. Also The Devils Backbone is coming out on R2 dvd 25th March, Damn cool film.Posted Image

#17 of 39 OFFLINE   Tom Boucher

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Posted March 26 2002 - 09:53 AM

I did not see this movie in the theaters. Didn't have time. I bought this sight unseen because I knew I wanted to see it. And there was controversey at work about it because
Some thought he was an alien, some thought he wasn't. It got so bad one guy's wife made him sleep on the couch over the argument. I thought that was pretty funny. Fortunately my wife and I agreed we liked the idea of an alien possesion trying to fix his life. But it made a compelling case for both options
I found the music to almost be haunting in the cut scenes. The dts track I listened to last night when I watchd the film was amazing. I really enjoyed the music though. I wish they hadn't deleted out the astronomer scene and the piano scene. I really enjoyed those.
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#18 of 39 OFFLINE   Chris PC

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Posted March 27 2002 - 07:30 PM

Interesting. KPAX. I saw this movie and was disgusted and disappointed with it. I was getting sleepy at the end too. I stayed glued to screen trying to resolve something postitive dispite my severe disinterest. I didn't like anything at all in this movie. I can't remember if I gave it a -3 or a +4. Seriously. This and Unbreakable are the worst and most uninteresting and unbelievable movies I've ever seen. Boring writing, poor acting, poor directing and just bad. I hate to be negative, but I really hated this movie. And as far as the thinking goes, it doesn't matter whether I thought about it deeply or I did or did not understand it. That had no effect. I've seen lots of movies that made me think or I didn't quite understand and I liked them. Oh well. To each there own. The Shipping News is another bad one. I think I gave that a less than 5 rating. Oh boy. Just my personal opinion. I'm a tough critic I guess.
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P

#19 of 39 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted March 29 2002 - 07:35 PM

Actually, the alternate ending with Bridges looking into the sky at the stars is still present after the end credits are done. In the audio commentary, the director stated that he liked the message of the scene so much, he decided to leave it in the film at the very end of the credits. Crawdaddy



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#20 of 39 OFFLINE   Chuck C

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Posted March 29 2002 - 10:30 PM

I got K-PAX sight unseen...All I'll say is that it did indeed make me think afterwards.

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