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DVD Review: Wanted (Blu-ray)
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Wanted
Wanted
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Starring James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Common, Thomas Kretschmann
Universal Home Entertainment
Release date: December 2, 2008

There is a line of dialogue that is as sharp, lethal, and beautiful as all the extreme violence in Mark Millar and J.G. Jones’ comic book to movie adaptation Wanted: “He can conduct a symphony orchestra with a pistol.” Russian-born director Timur Bekmambetov does exactly that in stylish fashion to produce a creation that’s the zestiest and sexiest movie of the summer. It’s the first movie in a while to deal with self-worth in such an inventive way. Let’s just say Wanted is a mix between Fight Club and Matrix. But in severe risk of having his movie lean on the fringe of mindless action banter and pointless shoot ’em up sequences , Bekmambetov weaves a gut-wrenching story where the action scenes double as pristine pieces of adored art work.

We become involved with a miserable office worker named Wesley. As each day passes he becomes more of a drone. He’s played with an emotional vigor that goes through the roof by James McAvoy who, for his first action film, succeeds very well after playing a totally different character in last year’s Atonement. Dealing with a ignorant fat lady as a boss who always tries to evoke his vulnerability, which is his high anxiety that leaves him in a state of panic, to his best friend who also doubles as Wesley’s girlfriend’s sex toy, he needs a revelation to happen to him. By God he gets just that. His revelation also happens to be the movie’s revelation as Angelina Jolie shows up.

Jolie plays Fox, a member of the Fraternity, a 1,000-year-old secret society of assassins who kill bad people by demand of The Loom of Fate (don’t ask me). She informs him that he has a bloodline that ran through the Fraternity, which is now headed by Sloan (Morgan Freeman). It turns out the bloodline was to his father, a skilled assassin who got a bullet in his skull by Cross, a man with the same skills and who also lurks the streets of Europe and preys in the streets of Chicago like a Terminator (Thomas Kretschmann is oozing cool).

After finding all this out Wesley doesn’t act like the timid shit he’s known for. He grows balls. Well I guess anyone would, especially when Jolie’s Fox enters with him into his girlfriend’s apartment and lays a big wet one on him in front of her. That scene radiates a wave of jealousy that eventually reaches the audience and wishes we were McAvoy. Geeks rejoice and be on the lookout for Fox in your local grocery store.

Fox and Wesley’s relationship is what rises the film above its clunky script to provide the film with something more conventional. Jolie, covered with tattoos from head to toe, and McAvoy, a weeping self-pitying man, are two totally different characters. When they are together, though, they create a strange, yet strongly felt, relationship that allows the film to bypass the label of a “guilty pleasure” movie.

Wanted concentrates its action scenes on following bullets and the allowance of time to be slowed down. Bekmambetov prances on this and levitates above the normality that we have been getting with recent action movies and ascends into a worthy class of movies whose groundbreaking images are soon imitated by many — The Matrix anyone? There is more flash and flamboyance than blood and gore (remember that computer keyboard?). From Jolie sliding under a bypass on top of a speeding train to a beautifully crafted suicide that comes when the rug is pulled from under you in the denouement, Wanted crackles like fireworks as it raises heavy questions (“What did he do to deserve to die?”) and supplies a product that isn’t stale. You leave exhilarated and energized with spew drooling from your mouth.

DVD Features

Picture: Blu-Ray show-off stuff, plain and simple. If you want your friends to hate you just pop in Wanted and show them the Jolie scene of her getting out of a tub covered only in tattoos from head to toe. It’s scenes like that, and trust me there’s plenty, which make Wanted on Blu-ray so perfect. The disc’s picture makes all we lust and desire for (exotic cars and Jolie) all the more beautiful. Usually, films that contain an excess of explosions, jump cuts, and car chases tend to be on the murky side when it gets a high-definition transfer. Wanted is that film that lives off of its fierce special effects. Dwells on them so much that they ultimately drive the movie. This Universal Blu-ray transfer has nothing to complain about and everything to rejoice about. Every scene contains a precise transfer that choppiness and murkiness never becomes a factor. The movie takes a unique approach as it follows bullets when they are fired from a gun. There’s a lot of these scenes and they usually play in a slow motion giving viewers more time to admire the clarity and the details of the bullets. What we are left with is a dazzling picture that does Wanted even more justice, making it the most hyper-kinetic film of 2008.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Cast and Characters
(19mins) HD- Behind the scenes with Jolie, McAvoy, Freeman, and Common as they each discuss their experiences with the film and their characters they play.

Stunts on the L Train
(3mins) HD- The exhilarating train sequence gets broken down by the film’s stunt supervisors. They show us how Jolie and McAvoy performed the sequence.

Special Effects: The Art of the Impossible
(8mins) HD- The effects team discusses how they made the action so real and in your face.

Groundbreaking Visual Effects: From Imagination to Execution
(8mins) HD- All the effects are shown in their early and rough stages of production.

The Origins of WANTED: Bringing the graphic novel to life
(8mins) HD- The director, producer, screenwriters, and the graphic novel’s creator all discuss in detail and in enjoyment of how they all worked together to make such a movie.

Through the eyes of visionary director Timur Bekmambetov
(9mins) HD- A video portrait of the director himself and some interviews with cast members Jolie, McAvoy, and Freeman.

The making of WANTED the video game
(10mins) HD

Extended Scene
(2mins) SD- a horrible feature that showcases McAvoy’s character in training.

Digital copy of the film that you can put on your PC or ipod.

EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY:

Alternate Opening Sequence
(3min) HD- Better than the theatrical opening, this sequence is top notch and never-before-seen.

U-Control HD-
An intimidating feature at first, but when viewers become compatible with it (thanks to a user’s guide) they will realize this feature is gold. So much goodies such as:
picture-in-picture — access cast and crew interviews while watching the movie.
assassin profile — every character’s vital information is displayed when they appear on screen
motion comics — see how the graphic novel compares to the movie as it’s displayed while the movie is being played out.
scene explorer — the best feature. Viewers can watch three of the biggest action scenes (car chase, L train sequence and train crash scene) while three PIP boxes display on the left hand screen detailing different information about the scene.

My scenes:
Clip, cut, and share your favorite “WANTED” scenes online via BD-LIVE.

Movie- 3.5 out of 4
Disc- 3.5 out of 4

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