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Vanilla Sky: Paramount Presents Blu-ray Review

“Vanilla Sky” isn’t quite on par with “Open Your Eyes.”

2001’s “Vanilla Sky” (which is a remake of “Open Your Eyes” AKA “Abre Los Ojos”) revolves around a NY playboy (David) who inherited a magazine empire from his late parents. David spends time with an obsessive FWB (Julie), but finds himself falling for a woman named Sophia. Before that relationship can develop, he gets into an accident when the jealous Julie intentionally crashes a car. Julie dies in the crash, but David survives and becomes disfigured. This is where things start getting strange. David gets facial surgery but begins to see things (including a mystery man) and have odd dreams. He finds himself unable to differentiate between reality and fiction. Is he losing his mind, is he dead or is something else going on entirely?

Written and directed by Cameron Crowe (who is best known for “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous”), “Vanilla Sky” is a bit of a departure for the filmmaker. Yes, there is a central romance between David Aames and Sophia, but this movie has a darker edge not to mention a sci-fi angle (no spoilers about that). Although the editing is strange, the dialogue a bit clunky (see the 7 minute elevator ride exposition dump) and the time jumps can be a bit jarring (especially when it cuts to David talking to the psychologist early on), “Vanilla Sky” remains a compelling mystery about dreams, reality, love and life. At the same time, it’s also a remake that doesn’t quite compare to the original. ‘Sky’ is essentially a bigger budget version of “Open Your Eyes” with more star power. While that all sounds good on paper, the original film’s creativity and artistry stands out more. 

Cast wise this movie is stacked. Expect to see Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Jason Lee, Kurt Russell, Michael Shannon, Timothy Spall, Johnny Galecki, Alicia Witt, Noah Taylor, and Tilda Swinton. This is a different role for Cruise who isn’t afraid to hide his looks or delve into a more challenging role. Cameron Diaz gives one of her best performances as the unstable Julie. Penelope Cruz (who also starred in the same role in “Open Your Eyes”) shines as Sofia.

As tends to be the case with any Crowe film, expect another amazing soundtrack here which contains Radiohead, R.E.M., Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, and Paul McCartney (whose titles track was nominated for an Oscar).

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? This new remaster is a decent upgrade but the colors are a bit muted for my taste.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The audio track is layered.

Extras:
* Digital copy
* Alternate ending and 13 deleted scenes (3 with production audio) with optional commentary by Cameron Crowe on all.
* Credits
* Unreleased teaser and International trailers.
* Mask test with optional commentary by Cameron Crowe.
* A green screen Kurt Russell Single Take with optional commentary by Crowe.
* A music video for Leftfield and Afrika Bambaataa’s “Afrika Shox.”
* A photo gallery with an intro by photographer Neal Preston.
* A gag reel.
* “Prelude To A Dream”- Crowe narrates behind-the-scenes footage and talks about the production.
* “Hitting It Hard”- A behind-the-scenes look at the press tour.
* An ET interview with Paul McCartney who talks about the title song.
* A brand new “Filmmaker Focus” interview with Cameron Crowe who talks about making the movie.

November 24, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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