Click on Blu-ray
Who wouldn't want to have a universal remote control you can use to take over your life?
On the other hand, be careful what you wish for.
Both these points are the focus of Click, the Adam Sandler/Kate Beckinsale/Christopher Walken outing that looks funnier in the trailers than it is in the real experience, but which is still well worth seeing for a variety of reasons. Click is funny at times, but there's more to it than that: it's also quite sentimental, romantic and bittersweet. Cautionary, too.
Sandler plays architect Michael Newman, who is having trouble balancing his career (and his plans for advancement) and his young family. He just can't come through at home because his boss is driving him to newer and bigger and better - and faster - projects. One night, this technophobe who can't even turn on his TV set heads out to buy a universal remote control he figures will make life with his electronics at home easier. And here he meets the mysterious Morty (Walken), who offers him what has to be the coolest remote ever - and it's priced so right he can't turn it down!
So Michael takes this nifty remote home, and before long has discovered that it can control not only his TV, but his environment. Yep, he can stop, pause, rewind and fast-forward the world around him, which is a lot of fun right off the bat as he uses it to play tricks on family, neighbors and the like. He can also use it to fast forward through boring - or bothersome - parts of his life, jumping for example to a point at which a particular work project has been completed, rather than having to go through the high pressure drudgery of actually doing the work.
Then, almost like in "It's a Wonderful Life" when George Bailey is given the "gift" of seeing what the world would be like without him, the movie turns much darker. This isn't just a universal remote, it's a learning remote, and it remembers how he has used it in the past and continues to perform those functions whenever they crop up again in Michael's life - whether or not Michael wants it to!
So Michael discovers that his life is zipping by, seemingly at random. He jumps into the future years at a time, only to discover that his success at work has come at an awful price: his wife has left him, his kids have abandoned him (or was it the other way around?) and he and everyone around him ages seemingly instantly (thanks to the typically incredible work of makeup effects master Rick Baker).
We won't dwell on the rest of the ups and downs of the plot because it really deserves to be experienced. We will tell you that there's an A Christmas Carol-like climax that could have been schmaltzy but which actually ended up working quite well - and on the whole this movie that starts out as yet another Adam Sandler comedy turns out to be very, very much more.
The picture quality of the Blu-ray disc is very good overall, but spotty in places. Apparently shot in high def, you'd think the transfer would be straightforward and magnificent, but there are places where it's just a bit too soft - though this could be a deliberate choice on the part of the film makers. Blacks are very deep, though, and the contrast is very smooth; there's plenty of detail on hand, though we also noticed a bit of noise occasionally.
The audio is offered in PCM 5.1 uncompressed and conventional 5.1, and it's fine. This isn't a soundtrack that'll rattle your home theater, and for some reasons they didn't think to include Dolby TrueHD or dts HD (a darn shame if you ask us).
The movie is dialog-driven for the most part, and that affects its overall sound - there are no big explosions or space ships whizzing around. But the dynamic range is very good, the sound stage is nice and wide and the low bass extension is also good when they use it. Surround is used quite well when Sandler's messing with the remote control.
Extras include a series of featurettes (in HD!) including an interesting one on the makeup effects, more "fat suit" footage, a look at the special effect, etc. It's decent stuff. You also get some deleted scenes and a group commentary track.
Click, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.