The Beaver Summit Entertainment Video: 1080P, MPEG4-AVC, 25.3Mbps AWBR DTS-MA 5.1 Audio Track English, Spanish DD 5.1 Audio Track Director's Commentary Deleted Scene MSRP: $30.49 Street Date: 8/23/2011 The Film 2 / 5 Often, a major talent stands out to promote a film, to give the film box office legs. The phrase “Top Talent Opens a Film” is an old axiom that determines how valuable a celebrity casting is. 10 years ago, casting Mel Gibson would be a coup. At the height of his stardom, he could sell a film and make you great money from it. But then the wheels came off. “The Beaver”, a film that is his first real effort since that goes a long way to remind us of the real talent Gibson has. Whether you love or hate him, it’s hard to deny that he takes his roles and performances seriously and adds a great deal of depth to them. In “The Beaver” , Gibson plays Walter, the successful head of a toy company who has slowly found himself drifting into deep depression. Walter is tortured by the fact that he stumbled through birth into his job, deals with stress poorly and he slowly feels tortured by the world. Walter drifts into alcoholism, pity and a sort of doomsday view of the world. When he finally feels as though the world won’t conform to what he needs it to be, Walter makes a suicide attempt. The failure of that suicide tempt prompts Water to stumble only a toy left in the trash. The puppet (The Beaver) gives Walter a chance to see the world differently. It’s clear right off the bat that Walter has not totally given up on life, he’s just given up on his. The Puppet turns to him “I’m here to save your goddamn life!”. Walter uses the puppet as a crutch, a means to make it through his day to day life, to avoid the difficult discussions he doesn’t want to have and to start all over. Anton Yelchin, who plays Walter’s son is in a pretty unique role here too, closely resembling his performance on the Showtime series “Hutch” many years ago. This turns problematic because the scenes involving Yelchin and Gibson, the father-son tension tend to be the moments in the film that really just don’t work. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but they just don’t seem right. This leads to several moments of the audience waiting for the script to move on. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of “The Beaver”. Jodi Foster and Mel Gibson turn in solid performances. Within the extras, Foster goes out of her way to tell us that the script was not quite finished when they began work and there was a real debate as to whether or not this would be a dark comedy, a screwball kind of comedy, or a real mental health drama. It feels at the end as though they were never really sure which direction this film should go. A lot of people are going to take a pass on “The Beaver” just because of Gibson. Some will take a pass because it isn’t their cup of tea. It’s a niche film that I think will work for SOME of the audience, but the core concept was difficult for me to really buy into. That’s not a fault of the direction or the actors, Gibson and Foster are truly excellent in this; it’s just that the script doesn’t seem to lead them anywhere to go that feels real. I was also a bit troubled as to what this meant; Walter is obviously mentally disturbed; and the film never seems to stake out a real right/wrong as to getting him real help. The Picture 4 / 5 Presented in 2.40:1 scope, The Beaver has a clean and enjoyable look. It’s encoded at 25.3Mbps AWBR, in MPEG4-AVC. The film has a nice, clean look that made for a very enjoyable viewing. I didn’t detect any banding or major errors in the encode, and with the per pixel data rate, this should be a very solid conversion of the presentation on film. The Audio 4 / 5 This is a film that features no really big audio moments to stand out. The soundtrack is understated, and it is mostly a dialog heavy film. I never hold this against a film, if it’s presented as well as it was intended in the theater that would be a 5. However, here the dialog at times is murky, difficult to really listen through. I should note most of those moments are with Gibson. And it may be an intended effect, but it still made my viewing experience less enjoyable, finding I needed to backtrack to grasp dialog elements because they weren’t clear enough the first time through. The Extras 1.5 / 5 Audio Commentary with Jodi Foster – It’s hard to say this, because I really like Jodi Foster, but if you are really struggling to get some sleep, this is a commentary track for you. Long moments of dead air and mostly small talk, I never felt as though there was anything meaty said here. “Everything is going To Be OK” – 12:07. 1080P, AC3 Stereo. A fairly standard look behind the scenes of “The Beaver” Deleted Scenes 1080P, MPEG2. The disc includes 2 deleted scenes, "Puppet Pull" and "Role Play". Both feature commentary. I have had weird issues with the ability to select deleted scenes, and chosing "play all" seems to only give me one. (this information was updated to correct an error) Trailers It’s really hard to figure out what to make of the extras. The commentary is there, almost as a “must have” item, 1 deleted scene and a behind the scenes. This is a bare skeleton compliment of extras, which also helps this all stick on a single layer bluray disc. Summary: 2.5 / 5 I’d love to say this will be a love or hate it title. But it won’t be. I think more people will find themselves just apathetic. It’s a story that seems half thought through with good acting and a good transfer. The disc itself offers very little to a collector, so unless you are someone who loves the film, it’s probably not a first day buy. I would definitely rent first.