Charlie St Cloud Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
The cover for Charlie St. Cloud is a nice collection of Charlie and Tess in a warm embrace, mixed with a shot of Charlie and his little brother Sam on a dock with a sailboat in the background.  It is a nice little cover, if not a bit hokey.

Features: 4/10

  • Deleted Scenes With optional Commentary By Director Burr Steers – The deleted scenes last about  10 minutes.  The scenes include commentary by director Burr Steers, and some of the information he hands out is quite good.
  • On Location With Zac Efron – This behind the scenes extra runs about 13 minutes, and discusses some of the on-location shots.  A large chunk of this is dedicated to the opening sailing in the movie.
  • Zac Efron, Leading Man – This is a rather strange set of interviews all about Zac Efron, and his huge potential as an actor.  The crew and other actors gush about the young star, and it is almost creepy in nature.
  • Feature Commentary With Director Burr Steers – The movie also has a full commentary with Director  Burr Steers, which was actually a decent little commentary.  I don;t think I could make it through it again, but one listen was enough.
  • The In Between World – This feature focuses on the ghostly, other world aspects of both the movie and the Ben Sherwood book that the movie is based on.

    The Movie: 5/10
    Charlie St. Cloud is a movie about Charlie, played by Zac Efron.  At the beginning of the movie Charlie is on top of the world.  He races sailboats, and is exceptional good at it.  His first mate is his younger brother Sam (played by Charlie Tahan).  When Charlie is left at home to watch over his little brother by his mother (Kim Basinger), Charlie and Sam are in a car accident, which leaves Sam dead as a result.  Charlie takes the death hard, and in a twist, Charlie, who had promised Sam that he would help him practice baseball each day, ends up seeing an apparition of little Sam.  As a result, Charlie basically puts his life on hold, foregoing a college scholarship in order to stay in his small hometown, so that he can meet up in the forest with Sam to practice baseball.  Charlie is hell bent on keeping his promise. 

    Charlie St. Cloud has good intentions, and the movie, based on the book by the same name by Ben Sherwood, is decent enough.  We get to see Charlie as he struggles with his own demons, as he feels his little brother’s death is his own fault.  Charlie struggles with the “why me” that is so often a part of these types of disasters.  Ray Liotta plays the paramedic who pulls Charlie from the car wreck and brings him back to life, and he poses to Charlie (Liotta is not used nearly enough in this movie) that Charlie survived for a reason, and that Charlie has to find out what that reason is.

    The movie itself takes a turn when one of Charlie’s racing buddies Tess (Amanda Crew) is lost at sea as she herself tests her racing abilities.  Charlie is then forced to decide whether to help find Tess or stay with his brother.  Charlie’s decision is basically whether to move on in life, or stay in his past.

    Zac Efron does a decent job in this movie, and the story and attempt are well placed, but the overall effect is just a bit shallow.  My wife quite liked Charlie St. Cloud, and I didn’t mind it, but it just seemed to rush at times, and I felt that some of the relationships and drama could have been more focused.  It is not as if this was a bad movie, but it just didn’t resonate with me.  This is one of those movies where I think I would have liked the book better.

    Audio & Video: 8/10
    The video for Charlie St. Cloud is pretty lovely actually.  the colours and detail are amazing (it doesn’t hurt to have great locations for the film either.)  I was more than impressed with the solid 2.40:1 AVC encode on this Blu-ray.  The colors were nicely done and somewhat understated, and the facial details were as sharp as the outdoor scenes.  This movie looks great.

    The audio is also very well done, if not as good as the video.  There is a nice use of the surround speakers with some of the ocean scenes, and the dialogue was decent.  The mis seemed a bit all over the place, as some scenes were too loud, while in other areas it was difficult to hear.  It just seemed a slight bit off, but okay overall.

    Value: 5/10
    My wife quite liked Charlie St. Cloud, and I too thought it was a decent little movie, if not a but forced.  It is definitely worth a watch, but it is one of those movies that seems a bit too plastic.  There was not enough here to make this a great movie, simply because it seems like they  focused way too much on Charlie, to the point where the story and other characters get lost.  It is a decent movie, but nothing special.  The extras again focus primarily on Zac Efron, which is understandable, but it is a bit too much.  I guess if you are a huge Zac Efron fan, then this movie is perfect for you.  For the rest of us, this Blu-ray is worth a viewing, but probably not a spot on your Blu-ray shelf.

    Overall Score 6/10