DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Elektra

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Osadciw, Apr 3, 2005.

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  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]

    ELEKTRA





    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Film Year: 2005

    Rating: PG-13

    Film Length: 96 minutes
    Genre: Action/Fantasy

    Aspect Ratio:[*] 2.35:1, widescreen enhanced
    Colour/B&W: Colour

    Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround[*] English DTS 5.1 Surround[*] French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
    Subtitles: English, Spanish
    Closed Captioned: Yes
    SLP: US $23.98






    Release Date: April 5, 2005.



    Film Rating: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Entertainment Rating: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Starring: Jennifer Garner (Elektra), Goran Visnjic (Mark Miller), Kirsten Prout (Abby Miller), Will Yun Lee (Kirigi), Terence Stamp (Stick)

    Directed by: Rob Bowman


    She was left for dead. Now she’s back with vengeance.



    The movie Elektra is the response to the popularity of the Marvel female character from the Daredevil comic books as well as the movie made several years ago. Jennifer Garner is back reprising her role as this human, but emotionless sai-spinning superhero, ready to take a stab at any man standing in the way of her work.

    We learn that Elektra is brought back to life by Stick, the same man who taught Matt Murdoch/Daredevil how to fight. He’s a man who is very in touch with his inner self and the powers around him that he has this amazing ability resurrect. Learning the fighting skills that Daredevil has, Elektra comes back with even more of a vengeance. She is unable to get in touch with good and understands only violence and hate. Expelled by her sensei she is put back into the real world. But unlike Daredevil, she’s not here to help save people – she’s back to kill.

    She’s now a top assassin who is requested by all. She has fantastic martial arts skills and has an ability to see into the future. She’s known to be quick and to whisper in the ear of the person before she kills them. If you were to catch a glimpse of her, she’s donned in a red satin suit and her good looks can kill.

    But Elektra is not without her own problems. She is still a human and her feelings can get in the way of her work. Despite her wantonness to kill without emotion, she soon finds her weakness during her next assignment. Will this event signify an end to Elektra’s career as an assassin or will it elevate her soul to a new level? She will have to make some tough decisions and re-establish severed relationships, all while she’s hot on her heels running from another group of assassins more powerful than her. Her second life may time out quicker than her first.

    I am unsure what direction the writers wanted to take this film. It is mixed with odd character development and unfolds a plot that shifts the story from reality to superhero fantasy. In Daredevil, I never thought of the Elektra character as anything more than a regular woman with martial arts ability. The end of that film heightened her character’s abilities to be superhero-like, but not much beyond that. This film begins in a manner that I thought was going to be a cool thriller. The concept of her being a cold-blooded assassin seemed to fit nicely, but it seemed out of character in relation to the first film. We see little development of her life beyond her new career.

    Beyond her death, I also thought the movie failed to tell why all of a sudden this woman is so angry and taking such a vengeance. But this flat character development is for all who are featured in this movie; Stick, the Millers, as well as the antagonists are all crying for more screen time to tell about themselves. Alas, this is a fast moving action picture that seems to suffer the same fate as the theatrical release as Daredevil. Lots of action, little character. You would think those in charge of this project would learn from that last time, wouldn’t you? I guess not. The irony of this is that when this movie was advertised it avoided referencing it to Daredevil because of its poor reviews (for lack of character development). Instead it would associate itself to X-Men, a superhero film that I though had much better character development and was also reviewed much better by the media. Yet, the same mistake was made here again which is unfortunate. I thought this film was going to be a bit more mystical, but instead we are left with what I think is a poorly contrived and developed story based on themes we’ve seen and read about hundreds of times. In this respect, the film was a yawn.

    Aside: Daredevil was released in as a Director’s Cut in 2004 on DVD and was reviewed on Home Theater Forum here. With almost 30 minutes of deleted footage mostly containing character development, this was a far better film and I invite anyone who has not to see this film to watch only the Director’s Cut. The film also moved from a PG-13 rating to an R. Elektra’s original cut was also pieced together as Restricted. But due to contractual agreements, the film had to be cut to PG-13. I am not saying the R rated cut is going to be any better because it could be just small trims to the violence in this film.

    On the other hand, the action sequences are very involving and it’s a shame the same effort couldn’t be put into developing the characters or the story that feels very compressed. There are some great visuals here and moments that will leave you suspended in the action. I thought these scenes were very well done, although I’m not quite convinced Jennifer Garner has mastered the sai (something that can be hidden with quick cuts and good choreography – check out one of the deleted scenes and you’ve find Garner be less than fluid while rotating this rather heavy piece of metal).

    So how does this dual-layer disc perform in terms of A/V quality? Let’s find out…


    [​IMG]VIDEO QUALITY
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The photography has a lot of silhouetted imagery that I can honestly not tell if it was intended or if was just bad lighting because its screen time is inconsistent. The image does have dark and deep black levels that are solid without grain. But throughout the movie something didn’t look right. I’m going to attribute this feeling to the mild ghosting that appears around edges and conclude this gave the picture a mild blurriness that just wouldn’t go away. I wanted to think that I could adjust the focus on my projector for better results but I know that’s not the case. It also doesn’t help there are several shots in the film that are naturally blurry for whatever reason. I wasn’t impressed at all. (This blurriness was evident on the special features too).

    Still, the image was clean from compression artefacts and film grain. I have zero complaints about that. One other minor quibble I have that is not DVD quality related is the orange flesh tones in many indoor scenes. I know this is representative of what was seen theatrically and I’m not sure why it was chosen to do this, but it looks unnatural and everyone looks like rotting mangos.

    This DVD is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is widescreen enhanced. There is a separate 4:3 fullscreen version available that you would only need to see if you like missing 45% of the original film frame.


    [​IMG]AUDIO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Whatever pizzazz the video lacks the definitely audio makes up for. Both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack options are available here and both are outstanding in terms of performance. If I were to give a definition of “sound effects” to someone I would refer them to this film. Sounds effects are much exaggerated for this movie giving the impression of a wide soundscape all around the viewer. In many scenes, such as at the cottage on the lake, the front channels alone give the impression of a surround environment. Dialogue is clear and never too emphasised, and the theme music (that I really liked) marched to Elektra’s downbeat character.

    This is an action film so it is expected the sound effects are as dynamic as the visuals. A trend that I’m starting to see recently is the loudness of these soundtracks. I’m used to keeping my volume level at a particular reference point for all movies, but this was a soundtrack I had to turn down a little to save both my ears and my HiFi equipment. I could tell this soundtrack was pushing the limits of both my amplifiers and speakers and it was necessary to trim the volume back a bit. Louder volumes can give an audible glare to some equipment and no doubt it was probably putting a bit of stress on my speakers, which require a lot less power to drive than what my amps are capable of giving to them.

    What I was hearing though was not entirely equipment related. After trimming the volume back a bit, I’ve decided that this soundtrack was definitely designed for – and only for - theatrical playback systems. It’s just not optimized for home theatre playback because of the obviously heavy EQing for theatrical systems. The bass was overpowering and the mid-bass in sound effects was overwhelming (didn’t affect the dialogue). While there is a lot of high frequency, I didn’t find it bright like other movie soundtracks sometimes suffer from; but that could be because I was deafened part-way through.

    This soundtrack is LOUD and I advise you to exercise caution if you also have your favourite “reference level” when watching movies. The need for ALL film soundtracks to be repurposed for home environments is desperately needed.

    Switching between DTS and Dolby Digital is as easy as tapping the “audio” button on the remote control. What differences did I hear? They appeared to be the same level in volume, bass was much punchier on the DTS soundtrack and the high frequencies were more extended on the Dolby Digital soundtrack. The Dolby soundtrack was forward and leaner in the mid-bass making vocals sounding more naked in comparison to the DTS encoding, which sounded more rounded in that area as well as making it sound deeper in the soundstage.


    [​IMG]SPECIAL FEATURES [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    There are three deleted scenes that add up to about 5 minutes. One of them includes the cameo by Ben Affleck in his role as Matt Murdoch; a scene that I’m glad was edited out of the picture. There is no other reference to Daredevil in the movie making this scene useless. Plus, Affleck is in casual attire: running shoes, pants and a long-sleeves shirt and it looks like he just stopped by to film a scene on a coffee break (not to mention the poor dialogue and unconvincing performance).

    Next we have The Making of Elektra, a thirteen minute behind the scenes look at the movie mixed with scenes from the film and interviews with cast and crew. In my opinion, it is of moderate value and is edited to death during the interviews – you can hear where sentences have been shortened to keep the fast pace of the featurette.

    The minute-and-a-half San Diego Comic Con Presentation is included here as well as a quick little Inside the Editing Room featurette presented by the director. While the title may suggest this is a feature discussing how the film was edited together, it really isn’t. It’s just a quick discussion of why he chose to present certain scenes with a particular look and then the scene from the movie was played. Not very informative, but at least something was included.

    Also on this disc is the theatrical teaser and the theatrical trailer, both are not widescreen enhanced and the latter having the proper aspect ratio. There is a quick bit on the soundtrack available in stores as well as television previews for the next seasons of American Dad and Family Guy. Also there is a three and a half minute inside look at upcoming projects from FOX.


    IN THE END…

    While not quite satisfying in terms of storytelling, Elektra will satisfy fans of this genre with the emphasis on action, martial arts and villains. While the video could have been a lot better, the audio is a real knock-out. Try it out and see what you think. You may like this action filled adventure.

    Michael Osadciw
    April 03, 2005.
     
  2. dave bula

    dave bula Stunt Coordinator

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    Now, I hope this doesn't seem like I'm picking on the reviewer here. That is not my intention at all. I always read, enjoy, and appreciate his reviews. But this quote from the review contains a pet peeve of mine that just drives me up a wall. One that I'm seeing over and over again from all sorts of people in all sorts of places, including professionally published books.

    Role, as in film role, is spelled R-O-L-E. Not R-O-L-L. Spellcheckers won't ever catch this, since both are proper words when used correctly.

    Ben Affleck played the "role" of Matt Murdoch. "Roll" would be for a roll of scotch tape or toilet paper, or for rolling a rock down a hill or someone rolling on the floor.
     
  3. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Are you reffering to dynamic compression like Underworld was suffering from , or just loud dynamic peaks at times which is preffereable to me,like Master and Commander?
     
  4. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    David

    You are absolutely correct - I made a spelling error and I am aware that it is spelt as "role". Generally I re-read my review several times over a few days and pick up on little errors. Sometimes it takes a few days to catch them; so thank you for pointing it out. Private messages are preferable on this subject to keep the thread clean.


    Lewis

    The loudness I am referring to is dynamic peaks - an attribute of a soundtrack that I prefer as well. In the case of Underworld the soundtrack is loud but it is excessively harsh in the treble and it very uncomfortable to listen to. This boost in treble is good for movie theaters with speakers behind the screen (where treble has a difficult time getting through) but is unacceptable for home theatre.

    The case of Elektra is slightly different. The soundtrack is clearly dynamic like the recent film Flight of the Phoenix that I also reviewed. But in this case, sound effects are very emphasized in the midbass making it difficult even for a 7" driver to reproduce loudly without stress (and in my case it's crossed over so the bass goes to the subwoofer associated with that particular channel). Having a larger driver won't solve the problem because all we'd hear is bloated mid-bass and turning it down reduces the overall effect of the soundtrack's dynamic range.

    I wish more film soundtracks would be repurposed in a near-field environment for home theater systems. They must be done so they are less gimmicky on effects and have the sounds integrated to give a better impression of reality. Theatrical soundtracks are meant for emphasis of effects - the audience is intended to FEEL the punches and one way to acheive this is by high SPL at key frequencies with some sound effects. In a home environment where the room is smaller as well as the playback equipment, I believe there should be less emphasis in this area. But I also don't belive in butchering a soundtrack either to cater to small satellite/sub systems either.

    I belive that under no circumstances should any soundtrack be reduced to a level in quality that doesn't qualify as a good recording. But even the opinions of what qualifies as a good recording will vary. Unfortunately, movie soundtracks are years behind before they catch up in quality to the best music recordings. They also suffer from such highly compressed delivery technogies such as Dolby Digital and DTS wereas up to 94% of the original soundtrack is discarded. Yes - 94%. I belive, with industry support, that film soundtracks can one day highten to a level of a very good recording and be delived with a lossless audio technology. As long as the rest of the audio chain delivers in performance, we'll all get to enjoy very dynamic movie soundtracks with the best clarity they are able to offer.

    Mike
     
  5. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Technology is not the cuplprit here, people are,and not by selecting lossy formats but by releasing crappy soundtracks. There are plenty of examples of good DD and DTS encoded films out there.In any case just wanted to get a "clarification" on your original statement.
    Thanks!
     
  6. Rick Lyon

    Rick Lyon Stunt Coordinator

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    DareDevil sucked because they destroyed the DD story. The original story. King Pin is white, not black, and a lot bigger then the actor they chose. So, right off the bat, whoooa, they screwed up. The Electra character, they dropped the ball on her and her story, the dropped the ball on how her father died, where and by who. Bullseye didn't even exist when Electra's dad was killed!! They screwed up that story so bad that fans of DD were disgusted. I know I was. Matt/Ben barely had red hair. And the gel!?!? Matt had a clean parted to one side style. I mean they can give Wolverine and Scott/Cyclops their correct respected hairstyle but not DareDevil!?!? The DD sucked on so many levels concerning it's original comicbook story, good character developments won't save it. I will have to see it just to make sure, just not looking forward to forking over the $5 rental fee when I've already wasted the $20 on the movie. It was the most disappointing movie for me, with the exception of Starsky and Hutch.

    I was hoping the Electra movie would stay true to the story. It looked like it, she dies, is resurrected, goes to Asia I think, meets up with The Hand. Leaves the Hand, is trained, etc. But she was a cold blooded, heartless, vengeful assassin. Why? (So it helps to know the comic book when watching comic book movies.) Because her dad was murdered indirectly caused by her true love, DareDevil. She doesn't care about anything, other then killing. She tries to kill Dare Devil many times, even after knowing is identity. Knowing that, what the hell is she doing saving a little girl?!?!? She's an assassin, heartless, ruthless, nasty, and yet she saves a child?!!? That's dumb. I hope they don't screw up the whole story around that. Electra was mean and lifeless while being extremely deadly. Sh may have too much emotion in the movie, we'll see.


    DD sucked hard. I'm holing out hope for Electra, tho I'd ready for disappointment.

    When reviewing comicbook movies, it may be cool to also include reviews based on the story/crossover accuracies. Spiderman, the Hulk and the X-Men were nearly dead on. DD sucked, Electra may suck and the Punisher, while a cool movie, I'm not familiar enough with to know for sure. Fantastic Four looks fairly accurate as well. i hate this either hey stay true, or they make their own version crap. They will only offend the fans, who are the biggest reason to make it into a movie at all.
     
  7. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    "King Pin is white, not black, and a lot bigger then the actor they chose. So, right off the bat, whoooa, they screwed up."

    The race of the actor had zero impact on the movie. When I heard that Michael Clark Duncan was cast in the movie, I felt it was done for political correctness. When I saw the movie, I realized that he was the best actor for the role of the Kingpin and his race was meaningless.

    "They screwed up that story so bad that fans of DD were disgusted. I know I was. Matt/Ben barely had red hair. And the gel!?!? Matt had a clean parted to one side style."

    Who cares about his haircut? The people behind the movie chose to make a very minor change, you just have to let some things go.

    But if you have problems like this with Daredevil, you'll HATE Elektra. Hell, Daredevil looks like Citizen Kane compared to Elektra.
     
  8. Dave>h

    Dave>h Second Unit

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    Hey,

    Count me in as one Daredevil fan who was neither disgusted or disappointed with the movie version. In fact, I was thrilled with Daredevil. Sure it wasn't perfect but I really thought they did the character justice.

    Elektra is far from perfect to and they had to make some inevitable changes to the character. Let's face it, Elektra, the comic book character, isn't particularly likable and isn't exactly someone teenage girls everywhere are going to want to emulate or idolize. Not exactly Wonder Woman of the merchandising world. So the changes they made, had to be made to make Elektra a heroine, outside of the DD world.

    As I recall, the reason we had any sympathy for Elektra in the DD comics was that she couldn't kill Foggy Nelson, that was her only redeeming quality; that and Matt loved her once and thought there was some good left in her.

    IN DD the movie, Elektra is sort of tragic and vengeful because she thinks DD killed her father. In Elektra the movie, we aren't told why she has become an Assassin, just that she is one and is ruthless. She wasn't set up as a heroine in DD and isn't set up as one in Elektra so they had to do something to garner some sympathy (pardon the pun).

    You may agree or disagree with their choices but personally, I can see the reason the choices were made. Movies aren't comics, and movie producers and writers don't have the luxury of months and months of story arcs to move the audience.

    I think Elekta is a flawed movie but not because they screwed up the character.

    My .02

    Dave
     
  9. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    i enjoyed Elektra, but will readily concede it could have been much stronger.
    but to criticize it because it changes the character for no reason from the way she was (poorly) characterized in another film is doing it a disservice.
    the Elektra i know from reading the original Miller DDs is more closely essayed here than in Affleks vehicle.


    the 'not quite right' look you mention is something that was present in the theatrical presentation.
    i was almost going to get up and ask the projection to focus the pj better, but i didn't want to miss any of the movie (like i said, i enjoyed it).
    sad to hear that it is an inherent quality to this film, and for that reason i may just avoid this until its on an HD media.
    or, if they come out with an alternate cut of the film before that i may be tempted to pick it up.
    given its poor BO , i don't know if thats a given with this title though
     
  10. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    True. Watching Elektra a couple of weeks ago made me want to watch the most excellent Daredevil DC again.
     
  11. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    [​IMG]

    Michael Clarke Duncan was cast because he was probably the only one with the size for the role, and had the acting ability to pull it off. Daredevil didn't fail because of him. Daredevil failed because of the edits (I haven't seen the DC, so I don't know how much of an improvement that is), and
    Ben's pretty spotty acting. (I don't think even a DC can make up for that completely.)

    I have read reviews that Elektra is closer to her comic book origins, but I do understand the reviewer's complaints. You need to explain why characters are the way they are, and the fact that Daredevil fell down on this mark makes it more imperitive that you do it right in this film. Unfortunatly, that didn't happen.

    Jason
     
  12. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    While fans of Elektra may know the source of Elektra's anger, it wasn't at all explained in this film. I am not familiar with the comic, thus my impressions of this film are probably what every other person is thinking who is completely unaware of her character (but I do know what happens in Daredevil...I can put two and two together, but it shouldn't be that way).

    They should have made connections to Daredevil for clarification or else they'd have to really stray from the comic. But it was something they chose to ignore completely.

    Mike
     
  13. john mcfadden

    john mcfadden Stunt Coordinator

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    Bought it today , and put it up on ebay half way through the movie. I loved Daredevil , but this one didnt work for me . The one saving grace of the disc is the promo for Family guy . [​IMG]
     
  14. Dave>h

    Dave>h Second Unit

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    John,

    I didn't think it started to suck until about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through, and then it didn't suck, I just didn't agree with the way they took the film.

    Elektra, IMO, failed because of some deliberate choices made by the Writers or the Director. They opted for the show down ending, when I think the catching up with ending would have been better. That is, instead of having Elektra calling out the baddies for the final showdown, it would have been better to have the baddies catch Elektra and her group, have them invade Sticks camp and have the battle then and there. That would have kept the suspense up, would have kept the momentum moving forward and would hav ebeen more in keeping with the events of the film up to that point.

    As it stands, the movie comes to a grinding halt when Elektra calls the bad guys out for the showdown. That is the point where the movie lost its way, IMO. Up to that point I was pretty interested.

    Then, I am easily amused...

    Dave
     
  15. EnricoE

    EnricoE Supporting Actor

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    just in case you wanna know: the inside look are the theatrical teaser for fantastic four and the theatrical trailer for mr. and mrs. smith. both are in anamorphic widescreen with audio in dolby surround 2.0.

    thank you fox [​IMG]
     
  16. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    I'm surprised, but again it looks like the UK will be getting a better edition. If features the short TV-Friendly "Making Of" featurette, as well as a 52 minute indepth documentary

    Link Here to BBFC listing - ELEKTRA - FEATURETTE - INCARNATIONS.

    I suspect Fox may have been planning another of their international 2 disc releases, until the film tanked. After all, shove on a commentary on the first disc, DTS and a few "previews" for other movies, and include a 1 hour doc, the shorter "making of" featurette and pad out with Elektra trailers and music videos and - behold a 2 disc set. (Some of the Fox 2 disc sets have DVD5s as the second disc).
     
  17. Donnie Eldridge

    Donnie Eldridge Supporting Actor

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    I just got thru watching Elektra last night. Did it suck? IMO, no. Was it great? IMO, no. It was extremely mediocre. I'm not sure what was left on the cutting room floor, but my guess is quite a bit. There also wasn't really much in the way of fighting or action after the opening scence. What I didn't care for was the quick elimination of Typhoid Mary, Tattoo, and Stone. The same exact formula was used for each scene. Elektra attack... attack doesn't work... badguy knocks Elektra out...Elektra wakes up...Elektra easily defeats badguy.
     
  18. Dave>h

    Dave>h Second Unit

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    I forgot to mention Typhoid MAry. She was the best part of the movie. Not sure what actress played her but she gets my vote!

    Never familiar with the character, I think she showed up in DD after I had stopped reading comic books but I like the character, liked the Tattoo guy too, cool power.

    Anyway, more Typhoid Mary, maybe they can bring her back if there is ever a Daredevil 2 (please make a Daredevil 2!!)

    How bad did Elektra do at the box office? It could not have been that expensive to make so I can't see it not breaking even at least. On a world widescale that is. And with the DVD sales, it shoud warrant another attempt.

    Dave
     
  19. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    $43m budget

    $24m gross

    It was a dud.

    Jason
     
  20. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Plus, Jennifer Garner was contracted/forced to do the movie. And when it came time to do publicity for it, she got conveniently sick and couldn't do the press junket. So I don't think she enjoyed it too much[​IMG]
     

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