Safe Haven (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 19-Jun-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romance Deleted Scenes-(5:24) 4 deleted/extended scenes (HD).
Alternate Ending-(3:33) Very little difference (HD).
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(9:15) Igniting the Romance in Safe Haven (HD).
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(3:05) Josh Duhamel's Lessons in Crabbing (HD).
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(2:18) Set Tour (HD).
Theatrical Trailer-(2:15) Very good trailer (HD).
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 115:40
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lasse Hallström
Relativity Media
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Julianne Hough
Josh Duhamel
Cobie Smulders
David Lyons
Mimi Kirkland
Noah Lomax
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Deborah Lurie

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format ?
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Vital action for 3:20 until credits.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Nicholas Sparks has certainly hit the jackpot with his formula for movie friendly novels. Since the publication of his first novel The Notebook in 1996 there have been no less than eight filmizations of his literary works, beginning with his second published novel, Message in a Bottle ( 1999). Fans can also look forward to a further two movies of his last two novels, these productions being currently in the works. Safe Haven is the first movie made from one of his novels that credits Sparks as producer. He, then, has no one to blame but himself, although as the movie was a big financial success I guess there isn't any issue of blame at all.

     In the opening scene we have a young brunette woman (Julianne Hough) fleeing from an unknown terror. She runs into a house for refuge and is next seen as a "woman on the run", only now her hair has been bobbed and bleached - just like the Dancing with the Stars champ. The blonde ends up in the North Carolina town of Southport, and has adopted the name of "Katie". She gets a job as a waitress - what else? - and buys a small house "on the edge of town" - where else? Katie befriends her neighbour, Jo (Cobie Smulders) and meets the manager of the local convenience store, Alex (Josh Duhamel). Alex has two children (Mimi Kirkland and Noah Lomax), and is widowed, his wife having died of cancer a few years earlier. ( No! You could have knocked me down with a feather!) Guess what develops between Katie and the handsome Alex.

     Meanwhile a sexy police officer is tracking down Erin, which is Katie's real name, and - you'll never guess - it turns out that the police officer is really Erin / Katie's husband, Kevin, the brute from whom she was fleeing in the first scene. Wow! Where's another feather? But the best - or worst - is yet to come. Only in its very final moments does this movie deliver its ultimate dramatic punch - and I am not going to spoil the surprise.

     This is contrived melodramatic nonsense. So was Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca, as was the classic movie Hitchcock created from the novel. Nicholas Sparks also writes contrived, melodramatic nonsense, and once again this new movie from a Sparks work has been very successful at the box office. There has been the odd dud (Dear John), but director Lasse Halstrom has given us some fine, even memorable films. I personally am grateful to him for What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat and one of last year's best films, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. (Rent that film. Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, an intelligent script, heart-warming and FUNNY!) However, Safe Haven is an overly predictable piece of melodrama that needs the performance of a real actress in the central role. The woman is the centre of this film, obvious from the opening moments. What is needed is an actress who can really perform and put the audience into her situation and predicament. We must care about this woman on the run and what happens to her as she desperately tries to find her safe haven in the world. I believe that the heroine was initially to be played by Keira Knightly, who backed out. Julianne Hough may be a very good ballroom dancer, but she is a dreary, drab screen personality who demonstrably cannot act. Josh Duhamel (Win a Date with Tad Hamilton) is cutely handsome, has a fine physique and is a likeable screen personality, but he is a limited actor. This was evident in his recent dramatic effort Fire with Fire. He fares better in comedy, and his pairing with the effervescent Katherine Heigl in Life as we Know It worked. There is, however, no chemistry here between the stars and neither is capable of giving any depth to the characters. They are paper doll cut-outs set in a postcard pretty world. Melbourne born and bred David Lyons (TV's The Cape) fares better as the abusive husband, but he is ultimately reduced to running his hands through his hair as an expression of emotion. Perhaps it was just personal frustration. The Southport setting is picturesque and beautifully captured, the kids are good, and technically the film is top drawer.

     You may need to run to your own haven when this dud of a film fades to black. I hope I haven't said too much and spoil it for you.

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Transfer Quality


     Safe Haven comes to your home entertainment system in a first rate Blu-ray transfer.

     The film is presented at the aspect ratio of 2.40:1 its original theatrical ratio.

     The film was photographed by Terry Stacey (50/50) and excellent use is made of the widescreen frame. This is a flaw free transfer. The image is sharp, smooth and clean, with great detail in every scene. The image is sharp with finely detailed close-ups and interiors, while the external location scenes are travel brochure quality. The Southport locations are vibrantly coloured, lush and lovely. There is some beautiful scenery in this film and it is depicted in glorious high definition detail. Blacks are solid and deep and skin tones are very good, with just a slight tendency towards hints of orange. Visually I cannot fault this beautiful looking disc.

     There are excellent English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired, all white and centred at the foot of the image extending into the black area at the foot of the screen.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     There are three audio streams : English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ; English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded and English Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded, delivered by a female with a British accent.

     The DTS 5.1 soundtrack enhances the film beautifully. Given the genre we don't expect any audio fireworks, but there is plenty here to satisfy the ears. Dialogue is basically front and centred, and perfect. No intelligibility or sync problems at all. There are plenty of directional effects filling the sound field and the folksy catalogue music heard throughout sounds very good indeed utilising all channels. Even more satisfying are the intermittent sections of original music composed by Deborah Lurie (2011's Footloose). The opening moments are most dramatic, with quite startling contributions coming from the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There is an attractive, though very light weight, batch of extras.


     The menu is presented over a composite of stills, with a constant shot of the couple embracing on the left and a fade out/fade in series on the right, all accompanied by music used in the film.

Start-up Trailers

     Beautiful Creatures (1:44) : 2.40:1 1080p, Silver Linings Playbook (2:26) : 2.40:1 1080p and Goddess (2.30) : 1.78:1 1080p.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (5:24)

     There are four short scenes, each of approximately one minute, all presented in 2.40:1 and HD quality equal to that of the feature.

Alternate Ending (3:33)

     Again same quality as the film itself, and very little change from what is in the film.

Igniting the Romance in Safe Haven (9:15)

     This is a mix of film footage, format as for the film, and interview comments at 1.78:1 HD. The two stars, the director, the author and one of the producers discuss the film and their participation. Miss Hough sees her contribution as being "real and organic". I wonder if Barbara Stanwyck ever viewed her own work using such terms.

Josh Duhamel's Lessons in Crabbing (3:05)

     Presented in HD 1.78:1 this is a bit of nonsense involving the personable Mr Duhamel attempting to catch a crab.

Set Tour (2:18)

     Principally the author, with some assist from the stars, gives us more glimpses of the very lovely town used for the film. This is presented as a mix of film footage, in feature quality, plus 1.78:1 HD behind the scenes glimpses.

Theatrical Trailer

     Presented 2.40:1 in HD this is a well-constructed trailer emphasising the thriller qualities of the plot, with excellent feature-like quality.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.


       The only difference between the two is that the U.S. release is a combo with Blu-ray, DVD and a digital copy, plus Spanish subtitles.


     Obviously there are millions out there in the dark who will enjoy Safe Haven. Normally this is a genre I enjoy, but this just happens to be a bad one. The pivotal female lead is played by a girl who is drab and cannot act, and the leading man gets by on looks and little talent. The plot is a mixture of total predictability with an unforgettable ending - but not in a good way. The production, image and sound are tops, and there is a decent set of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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