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Endless Love (2014)

Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/27/2014

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/9/2014

In this age of remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings, we are often bombarded with movies which look or sound familiar. Whether it's the film's title or the content seen in the trailer, we get the sense that this has been done before. Of course, that's all part of the marketing plan, as the powers that be assume that familiarity is a good thing and that we want our movies to be the visual equivalent of comfort food. But, have you ever gotten the feeling that the recognizable label was slapped on something new just to get your attention? Endless Love is ostensibly a remake of the controversial 1981 film, but a second glance reveals that the title may be misleading...or someone was playing it way too safe.

David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer) is graduating from high school. The son of an auto mechanic, he doesn't have big plans for the future. His main goal is to talk to Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde), who he's admired from afar for years. David works as a valet at the country club, where Jade's family are members, and he introduces himself there. When the shy and reclusive Jade asks her parents, Hugh (Bruce Greenwood) and Anne (Joely Richardson), for a graduation party, they oblige and she invites David. That night, they get to know one another, and form a bond. But, as Jade is leaving in two weeks to begin a medical internship, she doesn't expect anything else to happen. But, she and David find themselves drawn to one another, despite the fact that her father does not approve of the boy. Jade, who have never rebelled in her life, begins to sneak out to see David, which makes Hugh determined to see David out of Jade's life.

Franco Zeffirelli's 1981 film Endless Love stirred controversy from the outset due to the fact that it dealt with sex between minors (statutory rape if you want to be blunt) and the fact that star Brooke Shields was only 16-years old at the time of the film's release. The film also featured some questionable behavior and mental illness. At its core was the love story between two youths who felt that they were destined to be together. Of course, the movie was best known for the theme song which featured a duet between Lionel Richie and Diana Ross.

The only thing controversial about this new film entitled Endless Love is how milquetoast it is. As with the original film, this movie is credited as being based on the novel by Scott Spencer and it features main characters with the same names, but that's where the similarities end. Here, both characters are 18, so everything is legal, even if it is frowned upon. David shows some poor judgment, but he's never truly reckless or dangerous. Jade, having been under the wing of her parents her whole life, acts out, but, again, her behavior would barely register as a blip on primetime TV.

This Endless Love is almost insanely homogenized and it's stuffed with cliches and simply odd behavior. It seems that only in movies do people graduate from high school and then must immediately go to college. Of course, it's at this time that they meet their soulmate. Jade's family is rich and she has had everything that she could ever want, but she's truly kind and down-to-Earth. She had an older brother who died and this event still haunts the family. David is a working-class kid, but he's never portrayed as truly being poor. Apparently his dad, played by Robert Patrick, does OK for himself, and in a nice twist, he's actually a nice guy. However, Jade's dad, who is, of course, a hypocrite, doesn't like this boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and he is actually the one who shows poor judgment in his attempts to keep the kids apart. This movie takes place in a world where the kids have nice houses and pool parties, and no one does anything truly bad. The movie reaches its low-point very early with the dance competition which Jade's brother (Rhys Wakefield) organizes at her graduation party. Those crazy kids!

Endless Love reveals itself to be the most uptight, squeaky-clean movie about rebellion that I've ever seen. Those looking for anything which even approaches genuine emotion or tension will need to look elsewhere. Instead of being about underage love, the film seems to be going in the opposite direction, as Pettyfer looks like he's at least 30-years old. Co-Writer/Director Shana Feste has created a nice-looking film, but we learn through the deleted scenes found on this Blu-ray Disc that story changes lead to some odd editing choices. Stories like this are meant to be cautionary tales to parents and wild dreams to teens, but this film will simply make everyone, no matter their age, wonder why these kids are so dull.

Endless Love sticks it to the man through zoological shenanigans on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 32 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no obvious defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth is noticeably good here, as the actor's are clearly separate from the background. The level of detail is good as well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo and surround effects during the party sequences really stand out, and it's clear that the rear channels aren't simply mimicking the front. The stereo separation is good and the music (and an event in the second half) provide some nice subwoofer action.

The Endless Love Blu-ray Disc contains only a few extras. "The Making of Endless Love" (18 minutes) contains interviews with the creative team and the actors. This features an exploration of the story and the film's themes, as well as profiling each of the main characters and the cast. The actors also talk about their experiences working on the film. The Disc contains nineteen DELETED/ EXTENDED/ALTERNATE SCENES which run about 30 minutes. Most of these are brief and simply offer shots which weren't in the finished film. The only real differences come from an incident in the third act, which was clearly something that the filmmakers struggled to get right. In addition, we also get an "Extended Ending" (3 minutes) which doesn't change how the film concludes.

Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long