DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Forgotten

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Aaron Silverman, Jan 19, 2005.

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  1. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    [​IMG]

    The Forgotten[​IMG]

    US Theatrical Release: September 24, 2004 (Columbia - TriStar)
    US DVD Release: January 18, 2005
    Running Time: 1:31:02 (The total time code is 1:39:15, but the theatrical cut of the film ends and returns to the menu at 1:31:02. The total time code when watching the branching extended/ alternate version is 1:42:27, and the film ends and returns to the menu at 1:34:15.) (28 chapter stops in both cuts)
    Rating: PG-13 (Intense Thematic Material, Some Violence And Brief Language)
    Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic (Extra Features: 1.33:1)
    Audio: English DD5.1, French DD5.1, Thai DD5.1 (Extra features: English DD2.0; the deleted scenes and alternate ending have the same audio options as the main feature)
    Subtitles: English, French, Chinese, Korean, Thai (Extra Features: Korean) (The deleted scenes and alternate ending are subtitled in the other languages as well.)
    TV-Generated Closed Captions: English (Extra Features: None)
    Menus: Lightly animated and skippable.
    Packaging: Standard keepcase with paper slipcover; single-sheet insert contains a poster image for this film on one side and cover images from other titles on the other side. The slipcover has exactly the same art as the case.
    MSRP: $28.95

    THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT IT: 2/5

    There are two kinds of suspense thrillers. There is the kind that ties up all the loose ends, and there is the kind that just sort of finishes up. The latter can provide an extra chapter of post-film fun as the viewer catalogs the parts that didn’t quite fit in or make sense when looking at the film as a whole. The Forgotten lives somewhere between the two: It resolves its main plot line satisfactorily, but it also has its share of scenes that, while creepy, in retrospect didn’t really belong.

    Julianne Moore slums it up as Telly, a Brooklyn woman still grieving a year after the loss of her 9-year-old son in a plane crash. She often spends time in his room, going through his things and remembering. Her husband, Jim (Anthony Edwards), and her therapist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise), are gently trying to help her move on.

    After about 8 minutes of small talk and spooky incidental music, weird stuff begins happening. First, Telly notices that a picture of her, her husband, and her son has been replaced with a nearly identical photo of only Telly and Jim. Soon after, she discovers that everything has been removed from the scrapbook in her son’s room and that her home movies have been erased. Why has Jim done these cruel things?

    When Telly confronts Jim, he and Dr. Munce tell her that she never had a son – that she’s delusional due to a miscarriage. Telly can’t believe her ears. But when she tries to show that she isn’t crazy, she has a tougher time of it than she expected. She can’t find any evidence that her son ever existed – or even of the plane crash that took his life.

    The only person left for Telly to turn to is her neighbor Ash (Dominic West), who lost his daughter in the same plane crash. He seems to have forgotten about his child, just like Telly’s husband did, but at this point, she has no other choice but to try and convince him to help her figure out what’s going on.

    There’s not much more to say about the plot that won’t reveal its few twists and surprises. Much of the film consists of Telly and Ash hiding or being chased. They don’t find many clues along the way as to what’s going on – just a hint here and there until the very end of the film. And while the ending does explain what’s been going on, it doesn’t take much deep thought to come up with a list of “what was the point of that part?” questions.

    The fine cast, also featuring Alfre Woodard, carries itself well despite the B material. Perhaps the script led them to believe that there was more to the film than there ended up being. It takes itself deathly seriously, and it was likely pitched as having something deep to say. In the end, though, it just isn’t all that interesting.


    THE WAY I SEE IT: 3/5

    The image is quite grainy, but that seems to be par for the course with Sony these days. Edge enhancement is also consistent with other recent Sony releases, more noticeable in some scenes than in others. Most of the picture is dark and shadowy, with a deep blue tone. The exceptions are a number of brief flashbacks, which are very bright and tinted a sandy, golden orange. Black levels are decent – perhaps a bit too decent, as much of the film is overly dark. The picture is generally a bit soft, without a lot of detail, but between the grain, shadowy lighting, and narrow depth-of-field of nearly all the cinematography, that’s just the look of the film. Although I did not see it at the cinema, my guess is that it doesn’t look all that different from the original theatrical exhibition.


    THE WAY I HEAR IT: 3.5/5

    The film is pretty much dialogue-driven, with a couple of action sequences that feature the occasional loud bang. The surrounds are used rather sparingly outside of the action scenes, during which they pop in and drop out in a slightly jarring way. The LFE track is pretty mellow – it’s there, but it’s not going to rattle your seat much. James Horner’s score is fairly forgettable, but it works reasonably well in setting the mood throughout the film. This audio track won’t blow anyone away, but it gets the job done.


    THE SWAG: 3/5 (rating combines quality and quantity)

    Commentary Track:

    Director Joseph Ruben and writer Gerald DiPego discuss the production. There is a bit of dead space, but for the most part they have some good things to say. It’s a decent but unexciting track.

    Remembering The Forgotten (19:57)

    The bulk of this featurette covers the preproduction, from the dream that inspired the screenwriter (always nice to see an original script get made!) to story development to casting. It also includes about 6 minutes of material on some of the special effects. It features interviews with the writer and crew, as well as some behind-the-scenes footage.

    On The Set: The Making Of The Forgotten: (14:17)

    This is a run-of-the-mill promotional featurette. It’s a bit heavy on film clips, and has plenty of the usual EPK-style cast interviews.

    Deleted Scenes:
    Two deleted scenes (one is 0:37 and the other is 2:53) and an alternate ending sequence (9:19) are included. When the feature film is selected from the main menu, the viewer is given the option of watching the theatrical cut or watching it with the deleted scenes and alternate ending incorporated. The deleted and alternate scenes can also be viewed individually (including the ubiquitous “Play All” option) from the Special Features menu. The deleted scenes are only mildly interesting, and don’t add much to the film. The alternate ending isn’t very different from the theatrical ending – it goes to the same place; it just gets there in a different way. Still, it’s an interesting alternate take, and some may prefer it.

    Previews:

    Eleven trailers are included. All except for The Fifth Element are anamorphic, and all except for Spanglish and The Fifth Element have DD5.1 audio. When the disc is first loaded, the trailers for Are We There Yet?, Guess Who, and The Grudge play automatically. They may be skipped.
    • The Forgotten (Teaser Trailer) (1:40)
    • The Forgotten (Theatrical Trailer) (2:32)
    • Hitch (2:27)
    • House Of Flying Daggers (0:46)
    • Are We There Yet? (2:32)
    • Guess Who (2:15)
    • The Grudge (1:27)
    • Spanglish (3:08)
    • Little Black Book (2:32)
    • Boogeyman (2:23)
    • The Fifth Element Ultimate Edition (DVD) (1:34)
    SUMMING IT ALL UP

    The Way I Feel About It: 2/5
    The Way I See It: 3/5
    The Way I Hear It: 3.5/5
    The Swag: 3/5


    An A-list cast and a lot of publicity have been wasted on what amounts to a mediocre 90-minute episode of The X-Files sans Mulder and Scully (in fact, add Mulder and Scully chasing Telly and Ash, throw in 30 minutes of commercials, and you would literally have a 2-part X-Files episode). The A/V quality is respectable, and the extras are decent, so The Forgotten may be worth a rental for fans of that type of story or for fans of Julianne Moore. Finally, I want to give it props for actually filming in New York City instead of one of the many substitute NYCs (i.e., Toronto) to which we’ll never get fully accustomed.

    One side note: it seems that Sony is experimenting with different combinations of language tracks and subtitles -- every screener that I receive is different. Why The Forgotten features DD5.1 Thai audio and Korean-only subtitles on the extra features is beyond me. [​IMG]
     
  2. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    You forgot to mention the deleted scenes have all subtitle options.
     
  3. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Thanks, David. I had a feeling that that might be what the menu was referring to, but then I forgot to check. I appreciate the addendum!

    I've updated the review to reflect this.
     
  4. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Hey David, right back at ya -- in your review, you have the running time of the extended cut about 5 minutes longer than it actually is (it's 94, not 99 minutes). [​IMG]

    It's all about teamwork in the Internet DVD reviewing community! [​IMG]
     
  5. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    I already fixed it. I just had a busy week with watching 4 different DVDs (AvP, SKY CAPTAIN, FORGOTTEN, and THE VILLAGE) and one I didn't survive through it (that crappy Buried Secret of M. Night) in addition to some unrelated writing projects I'm working on.
     
  6. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    Nothing great about the about the movie, but it has a couple of the best "jump out of your seat moments" I have ever seen

    when the SUV slammed into the side of their car
    I almost pissed myself.
     
  7. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Yeah, that was a good one. A cheap scare to be sure, but it really got me!

    The scene in the cabin would have been one of the all-time classic jump-out-of-your-seat moments if they hadn't spoiled it in every trailer and commercial.
     
  8. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I just finished watching this and all I thought afterward was: WTF?! Sure, "those" scenes looked cool, but what the hell were they going for in the end?
     
  9. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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  10. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    Until I read the spoilers, I thought some insightful Hollywood types had just remade Bunny Lake is Missing.
     
  11. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    I had that thought as well -- especially since Bunny Lake comes out next week! I haven't seen Bunny Lake yet -- glad to hear that it's completely different. (I hope they send me a screener soon -- a lot of people here are very interested!)
     
  12. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    Bunny Lake is a real guilty pleasure - on its release no one thought much of it and it was fairly trounced by critics and ignored by audiences. I enjoyed it, though, and love the score by Paul Glass, and all the performances. It's ultimately a trifle, but a really well-directed trifle. I cannot wait for the DVD - the letterboxed print they've shown on TCM is fantastic, so I'm sure the DVD will look equally so and even better.
     
  13. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    Ah, I only watched the alternate ending version and thought that maybe I missed something, as I just couldn't bring myself to watching it again.
     
  14. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Nah, it's not that different. If you want to see the original ending, you could just play it and skip to the last chapter. It's only about 10 minutes.
     
  15. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Not to continue off-topic, but I received a Bunny Lake screener yesterday and will be reviewing it this weekend. Let's save the rest of that discussion for that thread. [​IMG]
     
  16. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    I saw this in theaters and although I didnt think it was horrible, I was disappointed because based on the trailers, I thought this movie could have been a lot more than it turned out to be.

    Films like this make me wonder where things went wrong? Was it the original script, was it the direction by the director, was it the acting, was it editing, or was it an amalgum of all of these factors? As Aaron said, there are some talented actors/actresses in this film, and their performances were okay, so it must've been in either the original direction or editing.

    Either way, I just think this could have been much better than it turned out. Oh, and I totally agree about comparing this to an X-Files episode.
     
  17. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    To me, it felt like they wanted to be out there but just couldn't commit to taking that leap of faith. If I had not seen the trailer, I may have liked this movie way more, as "those" scenes would have been a completely "WOW!" moment.
     
  18. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I had a blast watching it, and made sure I didn't think about it too much afterwards, kinda like Paycheck - it wouldn't survive scrutiny...

    --
    H
     
  19. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Remineded me a bit of the old Twilight Zone with the eperimental plane pilots that came back and were disapearing one by one, and being forgotten by all that knew them. Cept for Rod Taylor who knew something was wrong, but once he was gone he was also forgotten.
     
  20. Ian_H

    Ian_H Supporting Actor

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    I have this as a rental and from what I read I probably won't sit through it again so which is the best version to watch? The theatrical or the extended w/ alternate ending?

    Thanks!!


    --Ian
     

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