The Box Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 2/10
Oh, where do I start. Would I have this as a poster? No. It’s boring and a poor throwback to a somewhat flimsy 70’s vibe. It’s the faces of the famous folk slashed up with some red, for whatever reason. I don’t like it and it’s most definitely one of those designs I’m sure I could do better, but why bother.

Features: 6/10

  • Commentary By Director Richard Kelly – A full length feature commentary with the director.  If the movie leaves you feeling a little puzzled Richard clears it up for you. (sort of)
  • The Box: Grounded In Reality – A short talking head type featurette with interviews with the director and his mother and father. This is the best extra in the package. It really shows the motivation of the director and how the story came about.
  • Music Video Prequels – These music video’s are fairly strange. I wouldn’t exactly call them music videos. They are more of a prequel that hints at some of the supernatural elements of the movie.
  • Visual Effects Revealed – Three little shorts that show how the main effects in the movie are done. My favorite is the one that shows how they made the city Snowy without a hint of the real stuff.
  • Richard Matheson In His Own Words – A really brief interview with the man who wrote the original short story. Most of you will know who Richard Matheson is already hes kind-of a big deal.
  • Digital Copy – The standard Digital copy that works on your Iphone or Ipod.
  • DVD Version Of Movie –A DVD disc of the movie perfect to take with you on the go.

The Movie: 5/10
A mediocre movie that did one thing bigger than it should have, it got us talking. The Box has a simple concept, a couple is presented with a button to press in order to get a million dollars and the consequence is that someone they do not know will die. Ok, it’s a “what if” kind of moral tale. I get it. That on its own is pretty boring and hum drum to me. The interesting part begins when I realize, about half way through the movie, the rest of the movie is smoke and mirrors, or at least in my interpretation.

So, you have this question, push or don’t push, a couple who make their choice and then the action begins. It turns into a Sci Fi muddled puddle of ideas that don’t do much to make it entertaining or interesting. At best the turn of events that take us down the extraordinary path are a tiny bit of eye candy. There is intentional confusion, conspiracy theory tension, government cover up stuff, it’s all here, but not particularly done in a way that brings it all together to be a good movie.

Sometimes, when boxes of water appear and splash down, or when nose bleeds have no real explanation, well, that’s the hokey shit that kind of makes it, blah. I love mystery, don’t you? (watch the movie and you’ll get it.) I do love mystery but not when it’s dangled in front of me to prove that I’m either geeky enough to figure out every reference or dumb enough to be wide eyed and lost through the whole thing.

Not only did the obscurity throw me off, but the performances were all flat, even wooden. I don’t mean in that way that Neo is wooden and it happens to work for the Matrix. I mean wooden like they were all afraid to tell Diaz that she was sounding like a doll with a string in her back. I didn’t care much about the characters, except that I did appreciate their love story. That was a nice thing, the foot, the puppy dog eyes he has for her, that’s sweet and comes off really well. The rest though, a middle class couple not thinking they have enough already, wanting more, it just didn’t endear me to them at all.

I’ll go back to the original concept, do you push the button even if someone will die/suffer? I think that’s an analogy for every button we push everyday. If you don’t like animal cruelty, don’t eat meat. There’s a button you don’t have to push. If you don’t want people to work in sweat shops to make your expensive shoes, don’t buy the shoes…buttons come in all shapes an sizes. It’s a good talking movie, even if it’s trying more to be a thinking movie, and it doesn’t succeed.

Ascully says the button is the apple in the garden of Eden, which started us on an hour long discussion of that topic. Is it about submission and blind faith so as to not think for our selves, or is it about not wanting the knowledge of the realities of life to protect you from the truth…and on and on and on…it was a good conversation, we should have recorded it.

Overall I say give The Box a try, I know it doesn’t sound like I would recommend it. However, it’s worth it if you get a good conversation out of it like we did.

Audio & Video: 8/10 (By Ascully)
Like The Informant last week, The Box is a period piece set in the 1970’s. What is interesting is that the two movies use the same style to convey the look of that era. Whoever lit the movie needs an award of some kind (it reminded me of Fincher’s Zodiac which was a masterpiece in terms of lighting and set design).

So how does the Blu-Ray fare? Considering Warner used a 25GB single layer BD it looks incredible, shot in HD on video (again like Zodiac), this is impressive stuff. While some people will complain the picture is soft, it is obviously intentional to give the feel of a 70’s movie with overblown whites and a brownish filter added in post. Not once do you see any artifacting, or any signs of DNR this is a great looking stylistic HD transfer that should blow you away.

The score of The Box is also impressive. It’s the kind of music that puts you on edge and the DTS-HD Master Audio mix is as impressive as the transfer. Dialog is mixed perfectly and there are some impressive surround moments (hint Water Coffins). Overall The Box is one of those movies that will polarize the audience, but the same can’t be said for the HD presentation this is simply top notch stuff.

Value: 3/10
I might not be flipping around in a state of movie watching bliss about this movie, and the score is fairly low, but that doesn’t mean I think it should be avoided. I say rent it, along with something else like Halloween 3. Trust me, it will make a good long evening of strangely compelling storytelling.

Overall Score 5/10