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Midnight Sun (2018)

Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/19/2018

All Ratings out of

Review by Stephanie Long, Posted on 6/19/2018

Over time, teen movies have run the gamut from light-hearted to serious with varying degrees of success. My generation grew up with John Hughes movies in which being a teenager brought a fair amount of angst since being a teen typically comes with feeling misunderstood as you are caught between childhood and emerging adulthood expectations. The majority of teen movies find the hero or heroine trying to find their way in the world, their independence, and their purpose. Midnight Sun takes this whole idea up a notch by asking the question of what happens when these same issues could also lead to your own demise?

Sounds pretty serious, but the plot of Midnight Sun does center around Katie(Bella Thorne), a young girl who has just graduated high school and also happens to be dealing with a rare disease in which any amount of sunlight is deadly. Her life has been lived indoors during the day, and her views of the outside word have been mostly through her best friend Morgan, and her crush on the boy next door Charlie (Patrick Schwarnzeneggar), who she has watched from her window since she was a child. A chance encounter one night at a train station sparks a romance between them and things become complicated as she chooses not to tell him about her condition initially. Instead, she finds ways to see him only at nighttime, and eventually they fall in love as they bring out the best in one another and champion each otherís dreams. Of course all good things come to an end, and a date that goes too late into the next morning sparks a chain of events in which KatieĎs condition is accelerated and her health begins to fail.

Midnight Sun is based on a Japanese film of the same name, and one canít help but wonder if that movie had more emotional presence than the American version. Bella Thorne seems to be in a ton of teen movies (usually playing a mean girl), and she is fine in this one, but the focus always seems to go on how ďhotĒ she is (they say it throughout the movie as if that is why it is so tragic she is confined to the house so much). Patrick Schwarzeneggar is also fine in that his acting is adequate, but he has no real presence on screen other than being attractive and looking like his dad (Arnold) from the side when he smiles or laughs. There is a lack of any chemistry between the two despite the filmís best attempts to remind us that it is so sad she has a fatal disease since they are such an attractive couple with big dreams centered around eachís talents (she is a singer and he had been a swimming scholarship recipient before an injury that has kept him from going back after his former glory). Predictably, they both work hard to make the otherís dreams come true, although either could have easily done the same things for themselves.

And that is where the movie really fails- both characters are the stock of any romance novel. They are one dimensional and seem written only to illustrate your dreams can come true if you have the right romantic partner to make It happen. The movie is one note, and that note does not carry much emotional weight. Even Rob Riggle, playing Katieís dad, is wasted in the movie. Why canít there be a little genuine humor in the tragedy? It would have gone a long way to make the film more fleshed out and less like a romanticized fan fic story of first love with a tragic ending.

Midnight Sun made me wish that XP was an XBox/Playstation hybrid 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 36 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no obvious grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good and the depth allows the actors to be obvious separate from the backgrounds. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.8 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The party scene and the concert scene offer notable subwoofer and surround effects. We also get some moments where sounds coming from off-screen figure prominently in the stereo channels.

The lone extra on the Midnight Sun Blu-ray Disc is "Midnight Sun: An Inside Look" (2 minutes) is a brief piece in which Director Scott Speer and the cast describe the story and characters.

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long