Monday, June 20, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Mindbending Sci-Fi Starring Damon and Blunt Arrives on DVD

A number of the late Philip K. Dick’s science-fiction novels and short stories have been made into movies, most notably, Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report. The latest is The Adjustment Bureau, a surreal, psychological thriller co-starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.
In the original adventure, God dispatches disembodied spirits to Earth in order to ease East-West atomic tensions. But then something as simple as a dog’s failure to bark as scheduled sets in motion a destabilizing chain of events which threaten to destroy détente.
First, an insurance salesman who failed to hear the hound leaves late for work and consequently shares something he witnesses with his wife. So, it subsequently falls to angels to intervene to ensure that all still unfolds in accordance with the desire of the Creator.
Directed by George Nolfi, the screen version, by contrast, is a revision which renders the source material unrecognizable except for its supernatural elements. Now, instead of being married to each other, the protagonists are an eligible bachelor and a beautiful ballerina who meet quite by coincidence in a men’s room at the Waldorf Astoria.
Just past the point of departure, we find David Norris (Damon) practicing his concession speech after losing a race for the U.S. Senate. When wedding crasher Elise Sellas (Blunt) sheepishly emerges from a stall, the two fall in love at first sight.
However, “The Chairman” has already prescribed a preordained life for him as a prominent politician, a path which definitely excludes Elise. Therefore, a dapper quartet of ethereal emissaries sporting felt fedoras are dispatched to the planet to prevent the pair from seeing each other again.
They are led by Archangel Richardson (John Slattery) who explains that the function of the Adjustment Bureau as enforcers of God’s master plan. He even threatens David and Elise with lobotomies should they persist in pursuing a relationship.
Not surprisingly, they continue to follow their hearts, and what ensues is a special effects-driven game of cat-and mouse pitting a pair of hopelessly-smitten humans against an army of angels with an array of supernatural forces at their disposal. Thus, the picture poses the basic question: Which would win in a battle between free will and predestination?
An entertaining, if blasphemous mindbender suggesting that love conquers all, even the will of God.

Good (2 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sexuality, brief profanity and a violent image.
Running time: 106 Minutes
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, feature commentary with director George Nolfi, and 3 featurettes: “Leaping thru New York,” “Destined to Be” and “Becoming Elise.”

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