Next (2007) Blu Ray Jan 31, 2010 22:09:38 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Jan 31, 2010 22:09:38 GMT -5
A Nicolas Cage movie is like a box of chocolates...
OK, not really, but you never really know how good the movie will be when Cage is the star. Sometimes you get a really good movie and a darned good performance out of Cage, and sometimes, well - you don't.
With Next, thankfully, Cage leads a solid cast in a really good action thriller with a sci-fi edge. Cage plays Cris Johnson, a man with the ability to see up to two minutes into the future - specifically, his future. He cannot see the future for anyone else. To take advantage of his abilities - and hide them in plain sight - he creates a lowbrow Vegas magic act under the stage name Frank Cadillac.
Enter FBI special agent Callie Ferris, played with intensity by Julianne Moore. Ferris has become aware of Cadillac/Johnson, and attempts to recruit him to aid in the recovery of a nuclear bomb, smuggled into Los Angeles by European terrorists. Their goals are never stated, as that part of the story is intentionally kept vague. Are they really terrorists? Or are they part of a plot created and executed by a rogue state? We never find out, and as far as the story is concerned it doesn't matter.
What matters is that Johnson does not believe that he can help due to the limited nature of his abilities, but he does believe that once in government hands he will never be free again. So he runs. With his ability to see into the future he can almost always stay one or two steps ahead of his pursuers.
There is one exception to his limited abilities. A girl, who he has never met and whose name he does not know, has shown up in visions - visions that do not necessarily involve him (until he intentionally goes to meet her), and ones that can go significantly farther into the future than two minutes.
The script cleverly uses the two minute vision into the future well, as Johnson is able to change the future he can see. He avoids capture and even death more than once. But the bad guys are also aware of Johnson, and they want him dead (simply because agent Ferris wants his help so badly). This leads to what is essentially a chase movie. It's a game of cat and mouse with a lot of action. The CGI isn't great, but it's not bad, either. It works well enough to continue the suspension of disbelief for the viewer.
Next is an exciting, entertaining movie, and as noted before, it's fairly clever as well. It's based on yet another story by Philip K. Dick (Total Recall, Blade Runner, Minority Report), so with strong source material the writers (Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh, and Paul Bernbaum) would have had to work hard to go completely wrong. The pacing is great, the direction is good, and the cast as a whole is very strong (including Jessica Biel as the girl of Johnson's visions).
The one thing about that movie that may rub some people the wrong way is the ending. It's a bit of a cheat, but it also fits the overall concept of the movie - just taking it to a much larger, but still somewhat logical conclusion. The ending works, but it's not 100% satisfying. Still, it doesn't ruin the movie in any way, so as a piece of entertainment Next still succeeds.
As for the Blu Ray, the picture is pristine. Clean, clear, crisp - with colors that pop and great contrast this is one nice looking Blu Ray. It may be just a tad too clean (it was shot on digital video, so there isn't any real film grain), but it still looks very nice overall. The sound is excellent as well (as would be expected for a movie this recent).
While not exactly a runaway hit at the box office Next is, in reality, a winner.