Poor Things Blu-ray Review

2.5 Stars Completely bonkers
poor things review screenshot

Winner of four Academy Awards including Best Actress for Emma Stone, Poor Things is now available on Blu-ray.

Poor Things (2023)
Released: 27 Feb 2024
Rated: R
Runtime: 141 min
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Cast: Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe
Writer(s): Tony McNamara, Alasdair Gray
Plot: The incredible tale about the fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter.
IMDB rating: 8.3
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Disney
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 DD, Spanish 5.1 DTS, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: R
Run Time: 2 Hr. 21 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: Blu-ray keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 03/12/2024
MSRP: $34.99

The Production: 2.5/5

Based on the novel by Alasdair Gray, Poor Things is a take on the Frankenstein legend with maybe a little Alice in Wonderland thrown in for good measure. Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe) is a respected surgeon, teaching his techniques at the nearby medical school. When a young pregnant woman commits suicide by jumping off the Tower Bridge, Dr. Baxter gets the idea to replace the brain of the dead woman with that of her unborn child. Thus, Bella Baxter (Emma Stone) is “born,” a grown and matured woman with the mind on an infant. To assist him with taking notes on this experiment, Dr. Baxter hires medical student Max McCandles (Ramy Youssef), who develops a fondness for Bella, despite her anti-social quirks, especially when her infant brain begins to recognize puberty. Max soon asks for Bella’s hand in marriage, to which she and the doctor accept, but Bella is seeking her identity, and quickly escapes her imprisonment by Dr. Baxter with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), who takes her out into the world of high society. When Bella develops compassion for those less fortunate than herself, she hands Duncan’s casino winnings to a community ravished by poverty. Now penniless, Bella and Duncan are put off the cruise ship in Paris, where Bella finds shelter in a brothel, learning more about humanity, while Duncan is forced to live on the streets. Having earned enough money at the brothel, she books passage for she and Duncan back to London, reuniting her with Max and the doctor, setting a wedding date. At the wedding, things get further complicated when the husband to Bella’s former self, General Alfie Blessington, shows up, demanding that Bella come home with him. She agrees, only to soon discover why her former self, Victoria, committed suicide, taking matters into her own hands.

Poor Things is one of the weirdest movies I have had to review, possibly ever, for HomeTheaterForum. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster), it is a gorgeous movie to look at (its recent Oscar wins for Production and Costume Designs were well-deserved), but Bella’s adventures are just bizarre, almost for the sake of being, well, bizarre, and definitely not for everyone. This reviewer found himself checking out a few times during his initial sit-through. Emma Stone is excellent (another well-deserved Oscar win) as the child-like Bella, capturing the curiosity, mannerisms, and lack of coordination of a child.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Poor Things was shot on 35mm film stock (including a 35mm Ektachrome reversal stock brought out of retirement specifically for this film) using Arricam ST, LT, Arriflex 765 and 416 Plus cameras using the Super 35 process and completed as a 4K digital intermediate in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Disney is releasing Poor Things on Blu-ray physical media (a 4K digital is available) and shows what a Blu-ray disc is still capable of. Where this disc truly shines is in the color sequences, which are intentionally rich in saturated color and heightened contrast (a byproduct of the Ektachrome reversal stock). The black and white sequences are extraordinary, as well. Detail is also excellent, revealing intricate fabric textures and facial features.

Audio: 4.5/5

Poor Things includes a very impressive DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix (the 4K digital includes a Dolby Atmos mix on those services that support the format). The track features active surrounds and a wide front soundstage that match the surreal imagery on the screen. LFE adds a nice low-end enhancement to the mix. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 2/5

Possessing Beauty: The Making od “Poor Things” (1080p; 21:12): An above average piece on the making of the film, from locating the book to casting and film stock and lens options.

Deleted Things (1080p; 3:16): Three deleted scenes are included – Brothel Doctor, Alfie’s Chapter and Bella’s Notebook.

Digital Copy: A Movies Anywhere code is included to redeem a digital HD copy.

Overall: 3.5/5

Poor Things is a rather divisive movie, with most either praising it or hating it. I found the film to be just too strange for me, so a hard pass for me, but YMMV.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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Ronald Epstein

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I can't argue with anyone who didn't enjoy POOR THINGS as much as I did.

I haven't found too many people in my circle that appreciated this film. I watched it on digital with my brother and he was dumbfounded by it all after the viewing.

The film is very out-of-the-box which I suppose, as someone who watches a lot of Wes Anderson films (he did not direct this) can appreciate. I don't know if that is a fair comparison to make, but that's what this film felt like.

It's beautiful to watch but could be a bit odd for most. I was 100% immersed in this film and its story from start to finish.

For this year's Oscars, I wanted to see Lily Gladstone take the award. However, there was no dispute that Emma Stone deserved the win. She owns this film, giving a performance that is nothing short of astounding.

My only wish, as others have already expressed, is that this would have had a 4k release.
 

Malcolm R

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but Bella’s adventures are just bizarre, almost for the sake of being, well, bizarre,
That's been my perception based on the clips I've seen and articles I've read.
 

Walter Kittel

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Quoting myself from the Poor Things thread in Movies...

James Whale meets David Cronenberg meets Tim Burton meets Terry Gilliam meets Pedro Almodovar.

It isn't for everyone, but I absolutely loved everything about this film. While the adventures are bizarre, they are the vehicle to drive some social commentary. Told from a childlike perspective, the film examines the mores of polite society during the Victorian era, among other things.

While I disagree with Todd about the film, I do agree with his assessment of the technical aspects of the production. Wonderfully realized and deserving of the Academy Awards that it was awarded (including Best Actress.)

- Walter.
 

JohnRice

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I fully expect to enjoy and appreciate this film, but I've been in such a crappy state of mind lately that I realized when I tried to watch it a few days ago, it was not the right time. So I decided to come back to it later.
 

Tino

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That's been my perception based on the clips I've seen and articles I've read.
Every one of Bella’s adventures has been an evolution of her character and her journey of discovery about herself. Each has deep meaning for her.

Watch it and see if you agree. It’s a remarkable film.
 

JohnRice

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That's been my perception based on the clips I've seen and articles I've read.
This is just my personal opinion, but I prefer to know as little as possible when going into a new film. Just a general idea of what it might be, but nothing more. I find it far more rewarding to enjoy the exploration of what it is, and try to stay open-minded.
 

DaveF

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Is this a 5/5 video relative to what 1080p Blu-Ray can do or relative to what it looks like in (digital streaming) 4K? I've realized I'm unsure how discs are reviewed and scored for DVD and Blu-Ray in the age of 4K streaming and UHD discs.
 

Todd Erwin

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Is this a 5/5 video relative to what 1080p Blu-Ray can do or relative to what it looks like in (digital streaming) 4K? I've realized I'm unsure how discs are reviewed and scored for DVD and Blu-Ray in the age of 4K streaming and UHD discs.
As I stated in my review, it “shows what a Blu-ray disc is still capable of. Where this disc truly shines is in the color sequences, which are intentionally rich in saturated color and heightened contrast (a byproduct of the Ektachrome reversal stock).”
 
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