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SEVEN POUNDS (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 25, 2009 by  



“Powerful, inspiring, moving but yet a tragic film about sacrifice and redemption.  ‘SEVEN POUNDS’ is another wonderful collaboration between Director Gabriele Muccino and Will Smith since ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’.  Another magnificent performance by Smith!”

Images courtesy of © 2008 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and Beverly Blvd LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: SEVEN POUNDS

DURATION: 123 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1, English, French Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English, English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles

RATED: PG-13

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: March 31, 2009

Directed by Gabriele Muccino

Written by Grant Nieporte

Produced by Todd Black, James Lassiter, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch, Will Smith

Executive Produced by David Crockett, David Bloomfield, Ken Stovitz, Domenico Procacci

Director of Photography: Philippe Le Sourd

Production Designer: J. Michael Riva

Editor: Hughes Winborne, A.C.E.

Costume Designer: Sharen Davis

Music by Angelo Milli

Cast:

Will Smith as Ben Thomas

Rosario Dawson as Emily Posa

Woody Harrelson as Ezra Turner

Michael Ealy as Ben’s brother

Bary Pepper as Dan

Elpidia Carrillo as Connie Tepos

Robinne Lee as Sarah Jenson

Joe Nunez as Larry (Hotel Owner)

Bill Smitrovich as George Ristuccia

Tim Kelleher as Stewart Goodman

Gina Hecht as Dr. Briar

Andy Milder as George’s Doctor

Judyann Elder as Holly Apelgren

Academy Award® nominee Will Smith (2006, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, The Pursuit of Happyness) stars as Ben Thomas, a man at a crossroads searching for a way to redeem his heavy conscience. He discovers he has the power to change the circumstances of seven strangers who deserve a second chance. But when one of them captures his heart, he must decide if he should reveal his secret — even if it means giving up on his plan. From the creators of The Pursuit of Happyness, SEVEN POUNDS is an “emotionally charged, captivating mystery with a soulful, tender love story and a tearful but joyfully inspiring ending” (MOVIEGUIDE®).

Powerful, inspiring and moving.  Another wonderful collaboration between director Gabriele Muccino and Will Smith since “The Pursuit of Happyness”.  Will Smith is absolutely magnificent in this film!

“God created the world in seven days.  In seven seconds, I shattered mine.”

The film starts off with a man named (Will Smith) who calls 911 and will be committing suicide.

We are now watching a flashback of Ben Thomas, a man who works in the IRS and is currently auditing several people and trying to judge their character if they are good or if they are bad and if he is willing to help them or not.

For Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), she has a bad heart and is in need of a transplant but after being hospitalized, you see Ben trying to audit her and trying to get to know her.

For Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson) who is blind, Ben is rather mean to him in regards to his blindness on the phone.  Ezra wonders how this guy knows about him, but Ben hangs up on him.

For Connie Tepos (Elpidia Carrilo), she is an abused mother, which Ben is trying to help out.

Throughout the film, you see Ben as he tries to help all these people but the question is, why is someone working for the IRS going so far to get involved in the personal lives of these people?  Ben starts to become part of the life of Emily who she becomes attracted to  and why he continues to watch seven people and learn about their personal lives is a mystery. Ben becomes instrumental in these people lives in some way.

If anything, no one knows why Ben is behaving this way or why he is helping them.  But when they try to understand, he shuts off his emotions and doesn’t want to explain anything about himself.

You then start to see flashbacks of Ben where he works at a major corporation and happy in life with his fiance, an accident and Ben’s fiance laying bloody and obviously dead from a car accident, you then see conversations with Ben and his brother (Michael Ealy) about Ben taking something of his.   You get a sense that the way Ben is now, something bad has happened and made his life so tragic.

And you realize that Ben may not be the IRS agent that these people thinks he may be.  Who is he?

Unfortunately, I can’t go into the story much further than that because it would spoil the whole film but what I can say is that Will Smith’s performance as this man who has suffered so much in his life is wanting to give back, but give back to these seven strangers in his own way, is absolutely magnificent in this film.

Working together with director Gabriele Muccino who directed Smith’s last emotional film “The Pursuit of Happyness” (which Smith received an Oscar nomination), the two definitely have good chemistry because of all the films that we have seen of Smith, both films directed by Muccino has brought out a side of Smith that is not usually seen in his action movies.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“SEVEN POUNDS” is featured in 1080p High Definition with an aspect ratio of 2:40:1.  The film utilizes a lot of darkness with blues and blacks to showcase the life of Ben Thomas, while the life of Tim Thomas is showcased with vibrant colors.

The scenes shot outdoor are quite colorful and you can see how the character of Emily (Rosario Dawson) tries to bring Ben out of the darkness into her world which is vibrant and colorful.  Despite the fact that Emily has a bad heart, she’s able to enjoy her life and the fact is, Ben has brought her happiness and thus, picture quality showcases the transcending of dark to colorful vibrancy.  But then reverting back to the dark and painful life that Ben has lived.

Overall, the picture quality was well done and it was captured well on film and in high definition.

As for audio, audio is presented in Dolby True HD 5.1 (for English and French).  The film is pretty much dialogue-based but there are some instances where you can hear outdoor ambience of people through your rear channel speakers.  There is usage of classic music during the film which also comes out clear but overall, the film is a dialogue-based film that comes out clearly through the front channel.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

For the special features of “SEVEN POUNDS”, the following features are included:

  • Commentary with Director Gabriele Muccino – Listening to the commentary, you learn that Muccino is a gentleman and appreciative of what his crew has done for him.  You learn a lot about his filmmaking style and what he wanted to accomplish in the film.  But if there was one caveat about the commentary, Muccino speaks with a heavy Italian accent with some broken English and thus is difficult to understand a little but otherwise, really good insight on the film.
  • Seven Views on Seven Pounds – This segment features seven views from those who worked on the film.

THE WRITERS –  In this four minute segment, writer Grant Nieporte talks about how he was inspired to write about the film.  He got the idea from a man he met at a party who was so sad and killed himself.  He came to learn that the man died because he was responsible for a disaster and never recovered from it.

THE PRODUCERS –  A three minute segment featuring interviews with producers Jason Blumenthall, Todd Black and James Lassister of reuniting with the team behind “The Pursuit of Happyness” and also Will Smith’s first role as a producer.

THE DIRECTOR –  A six minute segment on Gabriele Muccino and working together with Will Smith again.

THE LOCATION MANAGER –  A six minute interview with Kei Rowan-Young who was the location manager and trying to find various locations to shoot and behind hired early, so she can find the right beach house in So. Cal.

THE DESIGNER – A two minute segment featuring an interview with Michael Riva in regards to designs for Will Smith, of his character who is highly organized and clean.

THE EDITOR –  A five minute interview with editor Hughes Winborne about working with Gabriele Muccino but also Will Smith and how the final scene was so difficult and emotional for him to cut.

THE COMPOSER – A six minute featurette with an interview with Angelo Milli and creating music that would show the various layers of Will Smith’s character.  Complex, disturbed and finding beauty.

  • Creating the Perfect Ensemble – This 13 minute featurette features interviews with casting director Denise Chamian and how she came to select certain people from their role.  How Gabriele knew Woody Harrelson and stayed with his family in Hawaii and gave him a role on the film.
  • Emily’s Passion: The Art of the Printing Press – In the film, the character of Emily collects old vintage printing press.  In this nine minute segment, Mark Barbour, director and curator of the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA gives us a tour of the Internationa Printing Museum in Carson, CA and showing us certain press, especially those used in the film.
  • The Box Jellyfish: World’s Deadliest Co-Star – A five minute featurette about jellyfish and how people stung by it have died or felt excruciating pain and how vinegar is used by life guards to prevent the stinging cells from clinging to the human body.
  • Deleted Scenes – Four short deleted scenes.  The only significant scene was Smith’s character visiting a doctor and the doctor worried about Smith’s character lying to the hospital.

The Blu-ray disc release of “SEVEN POUNDS” also comes with a digital copy of the film.

I was truly moved by “SEVEN POUNDS”.  Will Smith is just magnificent in this film and I have no doubt that people who watch this film will be in tears.  It’s a powerful, inspiring and sad film but it’s also a film that can be thought of as controversial.  I can’t really go into the specifics without spoiling the film but Will Smith and his ability to showcase his acting ability in a role of a devastated man who has lived with torment and now wanting to give back and help others.

Rosario Dawson is definitely no lightweight as Emily, a woman who has a bad heart and knows she doesn’t have much time to live if she doesn’t find a heart donor.  Dawson just owns this role and does a fantastic job.

The storyline is quite moving but viewers can easily figure out of why Will Smith is doing what he is doing halfway before the end of the film.  It’s just watching to see how he goes through this journey of a man in the dark, having to be back in the light but then knowing that for him, to change the life of others, he has to carry out his plan.

The Blu-ray really brings out the different layers of Will Smith’s character by showcasing color in various manners.  These transitions in color look absolutely beautiful on Blu-ray and and during the darker scenes, I don’t recall seeing any artifacts or high noise levels.  So, this film does look good in High-Definition.

Overall, “SEVEN POUNDS” is all about sacrifice and a character trying to redeem himself after a tragic incident in his life that has weighed tremendously in his heart.

Despite it’s lukewarm response by movie critics, personally, I felt “SEVEN POUNDS” was just powerful.  I was ultimately moved and despite the decisions that the character makes, it was a decision that was made in order to help people and change their lives for the best.

“SEVEN POUNDS” is a powerful, inspiring and but yet is also a heartbreaking and tragic film worth watching.    Recommended!






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