Film Length: 135 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
Every passing moment is another chance
to turn it all around
I hate to start a review off this way, but I
sit here asking myself, "What the hell did I
just watch?" I feel like my mind has been
seriously f--ked with for the last 2 hours, and
I still am dizzy from it all.
Vanilla Sky has got to be one of the most
bizarre films I have watched in recent memory. I
had heard some disappointing grumblings from
friends that had seen it theatrically, but nothing
could prepare me for what I had just viewed.
Vanilla Sky is a spiritless journey through the
world of dreams and reality, which, while beautiful
to look at, and well made, is sluggish and boring
in it’s setup, and silly in its resolution.
David Aames (Tom Cruise) is a handsome and
successfully wealthy publishing tycoon. He has
a no strings relationship with a beautiful model,
Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz). He has the world at
his fingertips, not to mention his celebrity friends
like Steven Spielberg who readily shows up at his
birthday party. But its the entrance of Sofia
Serrano (Penelope Cruz) that hits David like a
thunderbolt. She's absolutely beautiful, and David
is instantly mesmerized by her.
The blossoming romance between David and Sofia is
not making Julie very happy. She starts stalking
David until he agrees to go for a car ride with her.
Julie gets more and more wound up and eventually
drives her car off a bridge. The result is an
accident David survives, but leaves his face
If you think I have given away too much, don't
worry, I haven't. The film jumps from future to
past, from dream to reality, and through it all
the audience suffers by not knowing what is real
and what is not.
Fortunately this film barely manages to stay on
two legs thanks to the efforts of its stars.
Cruise's performance here is pretty amazing --
having a Phantom of the Opera style mask on his
face for lengths of the film, yet manages to
convey many things without a lot of physical
gestures. As for Penelope Cruz, well all I can
say is that her beauty is a gift from God. There
is a nighclub scene where Cruz shows so many
mixed emotions without uttering a word. Her facial
expressions are a marvel to look at. Cruz and
Cruise manage to emit powerful on-screen romantic
energy. I melt everytime I see her bite her
How is the transfer?
This could perhaps be one of the best DVD
transfers that Paramount has put out to date.
While I could sit here and nitpick about some
of the slight video noise that shows up at the
very beginning of the film and within some of
the film's darker scenes, it is the day lit
scenes of New York that will make your jaw drop.
Picture looks gorgeously stunning. As a matter
of fact, I have never seen Times Square look more
beautiful, and I am in Times Square at least once a
month. This transfer captures colors of the city
I never knew existed, standing out so vividly like
a can of fresh paint.
The 5.1 Dolby Surround is equally impressive.
Right before the opening credits even roll on
the screen, you can hear the faintest sounds of
wind rising up in the rear channels. The rears
play a very important role in this alternative
piece of film where creepish dialogue is placed
in the rear channels to in order to build suspense.
One of the best sounding scenes in the film takes
place in a nightclub where random sounds eminate
from different channels as my subwoofer pounded
out powerfull bass thanks to the rather active
LFE mix. The Dolby Digital mix is as impressive
as some of the best DTS mixes I have heard.
Paramount has included a few really cool extra
nuggets on this DVD including a commentary by
Director Cameron Crowe and Composer Nancy Wilson
which also features a conversation with Tom Cruise.
Pop in the disc and you are greeted with a new
beautiful 90th Anniversary Paramount logo. The
Main Menu appears in brilliant white as a picture
is etched in the upper corner. The menu structure
is pretty inventive. As you go from area to area,
techno music plays as the corner picture takes
on a new form.
It's interesting to see that Paramount has placed
two of the DVDs featurettes off of the Main Menu
rather than placing it in the Special Features menu.
I don't understand the reason for this, as it can
easily distract viewers from making the correct
initial choice when wanting to play the movie.
Prelude to a Dream is a really fun, but
brief featurette. It's Cameron Crowe's narrative
journey of creating this film. Haunted by the
1997 Spanish Film `Abre Los Ojos', Crowe set out
to make a psychedledic pop song remake. We get
some great glimpses of the cast rehearsing in
back offices of the Paramount lot. As the streets
of Times Square were cleared one early November
morning, we see the cinematographer planning the
shoot where Cruise runs amidst the empty streets.
Most of all, we see the cast having a great time
with each other, as much as I think you'll have
a great time watching this featurette.
(length: Approx. 6 minutes)
Hitting it Hard puts us on the red carpet
of a film premiere and takes us along on the
2001-2002 Press Tour of Vanilla Sky. Shown
mostly in Black & White, we get to see the cast
attending interviews and photo shoots. From
crowd entrenched premiers to some very private
moments, this is a very personal look at what
it takes to promote a film. This is such an
incredibly produced piece -- the kind of rare
stuff that doesn't usually get included on DVDs.
(length: approx. 10 minutes)
Taken from an Entertainment Tonight piece, An
Interview with Paul McCartney comes on the
heels of Paul's Golden Globe nomination for the
film's title song. Paul talks about how while
he was working on his newest album, Driving Rain,
Cameron Crowe approached him about writing a song
for his film. A Waiter from a french restaurant
actually gave Paul inspiratrion for the first
line of the song, and within a week, the song
was complete. (length: approx. 1.5 minutes)
The Music Video, "afrika shox" by
Letfield/Afrika Bambaataa is interesting,
pulsating techno-rap music played against
clips from the film.
Still Photographer Neal Preston gives an audio
introduction to the Photo Gallery included
on this DVD. Neal's job is to sneak around and
capture very special candid moments of the stars
on film. Divided into eight sections, there are
literally hundreds of interesting stills to look
through. Many are personal shots of the actors
on the set, including many of them walking in the
total emptiness of Times Square.
There are two trailers included on this
DVD. The first, an unreleased teaser trailer
is less dialogue-filled, backed with a techno
soundtrack. The International trailer gives
us more dialogue and insight into the story. Both
are fun to watch!
This film is not going to be widely liked by
members of this forum. I was surprised that
this film came from the Director of Almost
Famous, as it looks more like something that
would come from Stanley Kubrick.
This is another one of those rare titles where
watching the added Supplemental content is more
fun than watching the film itself. Paramount has
gone to great lengths to add unique animated
menus and really fun supplements.
This DVD will work far better as a rental than
a purchase. Rent it for the extra content alone
if you must. Nobody should blindly purchase this
title. See it with an open mind, and as much as
the film urges you to ‘Open Your Eyes', many of
you will, but won't exactly know what the hell
Release Date: May 21, 2002