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

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 13, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein


    He leaves July 27th
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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
    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.
    I actually prefer the Director's Alternate
    Ending 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.
    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
    comparison 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
    Bridges 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
    Mind 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
  2. BobG

    BobG Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 9, 2001
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  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Another fine review, Ron. And despite your lukewarm assessment of the film itself, I am looking forward to this release. Thanks!
  4. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

    Aug 31, 2001
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    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. Rusty Ray

    Rusty Ray Second Unit

    Jun 26, 1999
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    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?
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Yes, that is the alternative ending.

    I am curious as to why it was on the

    theatrical version.
  7. Rusty Ray

    Rusty Ray Second Unit

    Jun 26, 1999
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    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..
  8. Josh_Hill

    Josh_Hill Screenwriter

    Jan 6, 2002
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    I loved this movie and will certainly pick up the DVD!
  9. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 7, 2002
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    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. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    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.[​IMG]
  11. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

    Jul 23, 2001
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    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. DennisP

    DennisP Stunt Coordinator

    May 5, 2000
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    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"....
  13. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

    Sep 4, 1999
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    Is it just me, or is Universal kicking it up a notch on their recent transfers?
  14. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

    Jan 25, 2001
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    They must be tired of playing second fiddle to Fox and Warners on the transfers![​IMG]
  15. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

    Aug 13, 2000
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    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. luke cav

    luke cav Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 31, 2002
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    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.[​IMG]
  17. Tom Boucher

    Tom Boucher Second Unit

    Mar 1, 1999
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    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.
  18. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

    May 12, 2001
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    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.
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    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.

  20. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

    Jan 6, 2001
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    I got K-PAX sight unseen...All I'll say is that it did indeed make me think afterwards.

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