Big Bang, The (Blu-ray) (2011)
Audio Commentary-Director Tony Krantz and Co-producer Reece Pearson.
Featurette-Making Of-Lex : Parsimoniae : The Making of The Big Bang (19:56)
Deleted Scenes-x 2 (in 1080p).
|Year Of Production||2011|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Tony Krantz|
Anchor Bay Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Excellent credits in brilliant high definition.|
†††† There are very few actors today that I would call myself a "fan" of - sorry about the preposition at the end! Antonio Banderas is certainly one. Ever since I first noticed him in Pedro Almodovar's films almost thirty years ago I have always found him, both on screen and off, to be a charmingly attractive and articulate man. His career in the U.S. has certainly had its ups and downs. After wowing audiences as "Zorro", he should have played the lead in both Phantom of the Opera and Nine, which he revived on Broadway. At least the man can sing. An unexpected "up" was his voicing of "Puss in Boots" in the Shrek films. There is now the upcoming feature starring "Puss", which should line the Banderas pockets very nicely. I was gratified to see his charm contributing to Woody Allen's most enjoyable You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, and to see that he has upcoming The Skin I Live In, which reunites him with Almodovar, and another film for Steven Soderbergh. Sadly Antonio's recent effort The Big Bang will do nothing to enhance his reputation, except to make it obvious that the now fifty-plus actor is in splendid physical shape.
†††† I suspect that I am not alone in thinking that The Big Bang is a stinker. It premiered in Bahrain and Kuwait last February, and has gone direct to video in the U.S. this month, May. The local Blu-ray release is visually and sonically dazzling, but it is all whistles and bells without any substance - just a mish-mash of genres and styles in uncontrolled frenzy dashing across the screen. Forget the "neo-noir", "Tarantinoesque" and "homage" pretensions. This is derivative nonsense.
†††† Antonio plays an L.A. private eye, Ned Croz, and the film begins in interesting noir style with Ned a captive of three crooked cops, Thomas Kretchmann, William Fichtner and Delroy Lindo. In noir style Ned narrates the tale, and for once Antonio Banderas' heavy accent gets in the way of comprehension. Too frequently I found myself guessing what he was saying. The voice over introduces a Hollywood action star, Adam Nova (James Van Der Beek), in satin kimono and Norma Desmond mode, campily lounging in suggested sin and decadence with Russell, an "albino little person" sidekick (Robert Ernie Lee). It seems that Adam is under threat of a scandalous exposť via some photographs, which we do not see, though the narration brings up the word "closet" a number of times. Adam blows up, literally, almost instantly. Here the film goes into comic book mode, with generous dollops of Tarantino. Then there's Anton, a Russian giant, really giant, ex-boxer (Robert Maillet) who is in prison for life, and is released on the confession of another lifer con. Seems the giant has information that the baddies want in order to get their hands on a stash of diamonds. Meanwhile, while in prison, the giant has struck up a romance via letters with a stripper (Sienna Guillory) who proclaims undying love for the giant. Once Anton is released he employs Ned to find the stripper. Ned encounters the gyrating beauty and also in a diner along the way a brunette, tattooed waitress (Autumn Reeser). Considerable nudity, though not full frontal, and steamy sex ensue, confirming that Antonio and the two young women are all in splendid physical condition. The stripper turns out to have a dual life, also being the wife of a crazy scientist (Sam Elliott) who is conducting some potentially Earth destroying subterranean experiment in particle physics - something about "the God particle". This allows for a climax in which Ned's speeding car is "chased" by a giant widening fissure created by the subterranean combustion. Somewhere in the mish or the mash is Snoop Dog as a porn producer, named - believe it or not - "Puss". Undoubtedly a double whammy joke - "Snoop Dog" and "Puss in Boots" see?
†††† There is a pervading feeling that you've seen all this before, only in a whole lot of other films. This shopping list of ingredients has been assembled by Erik Jendresen, who incredibly has won an Emmy along with six others - including Tom Hanks - for writing Band of Brothers.The colourful mess was directed by Tony Krantz, formerly a Hollywood agent and producer. The entire cast is wasted, particularly Van Der Beek, Kretchman, Fichtner and Lindo. Sam Elliott hits a new low. At least the girls are permitted to display their considerably physical assets, and Antonio's assets remain youthfully lean and trim.
†††† This film is never boring, and the widescreen image is almost always interesting to look at, particularly in dazzling high definition. Colours vary from a more sombre, almost black and white, noir look to electrifying comic book primaries. The sound is also extremely dynamic and alive, with the psychedelic music of Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths, sure to please many. I guess that, plus the violence and the nudity, will be enough to satisfy some. But then maybe not. Remember Bahrain and Kuwait?
†††† The image quality on this disc is absolutely stunning. The image is presented at 2.40:1 in a dazzling widescreen transfer, largely due, it seems, to this incredible Weiss equipment capable of two thousand frames per second at 1080p.
†††† The palette varies from an almost black and white monochrome to the most dazzling comic book bursts of vivid primary colours. Blacks are inky black, and shadow detail is outstanding. Indeed, detail is everywhere exemplary, whether in close-ups of Antonio Banderas' eyeball or wide shots of the underground science experiment. The rare exteriors in the desert are also stunning.
†††† The entire film is a non-stop assault of arresting images that help occupy the eye while the mind is numbed by the silliness of the plot. No artefacts, no faults, just brilliant widescreen clarity. The movie may be a stinker, but this is the disc I would choose to demonstrate the impact of high definition.
†††† There are English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which were sampled and found to be excellent.
†††† There are two audio streams, the main default being English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 at 48 kHz, with the audio commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded at 48kHz. .
†††† The soundtrack is a perfect match for the dynamic visuals. Full use is made of all channels, with the dialogue front and centre, and the occasional line from the sides. All dialogue is crystal clear, apart from the occasional problem I had with the accent of the leading man. My viewing partner had the same problem. Surrounds are used extensively, for ambience as well as the enormous range of auditory effects.
†††† The music also envelops us in the viewing experience, with all channels contributing and extra special oomph coming from the subwoofer. Johnny Marr's totally appropriate music appears to have been arranged with the capabilities of multi-channel reproduction in mind.
†††† As it is for the visuals, this is an excellent disc to show off your sound system.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† There is a modest collection of extras, but satisfying for an undeniably unusual film.
†††† The menu is presented with a montage of scenes from the film, plus Johnny Marr's music, all looking brilliant in high definition.
†††† The feature length commentary is provided by producer / director Tony Krantz and co-producer Reece Pearson. Despite my dismissal of this film the commentary reveals obvious sincerity and commitment to the making of this film. There is intelligent commentary regarding the economic, technical and physical hurdles that were overcome. It is pleasing to hear the very positive references to the commitment of the star of the film. Also interesting was the information regarding the use of the Weisscam, capable of shooting at two thousand frames per second in 1080p. I also shamefacedly had to go back and have a second look at the credits after hearing their explanation that the visuals depicted "the history of the Universe". This all adds up to a very enjoyable commentary, ending on a rather humble note as the contributions of many are acknowledged while the two filmmakers watch the final credit crawl.
†††† Presented in high definition at 2.40:1 this is a very predictable self congratulatory piece. It is no surprise that the makers view their film as "a homage to" - today's euphemism for "stealing from" - Raymond Chandler. The business regarding the "search for the God particle" is seen as an "analogue (sic) for a detective story". Did he mean to say "analogy"? This is all pretty pretentious stuff for a film that has borrowed from about six different movies from the past.
†††† Here we have two extended scenes. The first (3:36) has more of the single scene which features James Van Der Beek, in which there is a bit more overacting on the staircase, while the second is a boxing sequence (0:35) featuring the giant boxer.
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†††† This film is absolute nonsense. The makers have pretensions about "neo-noir" and supposed "homages", but it all adds up to a shopping trolley of a film with its ingredients plucked at random from the vaults of some "B" grade studio. However, the image on this Blu-ray disc is a knockout, and the audio almost as good. I imagine that there are many who will be quite satisfied with the inane plot and waste of considerable acting talent, totally diverted by the sensational visuals and impressive sound, not to mention the moderate violence and fairly generous nudity and sex. The extras are moderate, with a quite good audio commentary. A very good disc to show off your system.
|DVD||SONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 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 Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||VAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)|