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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: 7/17/2007
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/10/2007
I would have to assume that most people watch movies to be entertained, and in a sense, have fun. Following that logic, no one should want to walk away from a film feeling angry and confused. But this can often happen when a film deals with time-travel. Movies like Donnie Darko or The Jacket can leave audiences scratching their heads as they attempt to unravel the plot. Even seemingly innocuous films like Meet the Robinsons or the Back to the Future films can be headache-inducing if one thinks about them too much. Maybe it's best to sometimes just sit back and enjoy the ride and not delve too deeply into a movie. That's the case with the latest Sandra Bullock film Premonition.
Bullock stars in Premonition as Linda Hanson, a woman who is married to Jim (Julian McMahon), and has two daughters, Megan (Shyann McClure) and Bridgette (Courtney Taylor Burness). One seemingly normal day, Linda is going through her daily routine -- taking the girls to school, shopping, etc. -- when Sheriff Reilly (Marc Macaulay) arrives on her doorstep to inform her that Jim died in a car wreck the day before. Linda is shocked and can barely find the strength to tell her daughters. Exhausted, Linda falls asleep.
When Linda awakens the next day, she finds Jim to be alive. She is very surprised and wonders if she dreamt about him dying. That idea slips away as Linda notices similarity between this day and the day in which Jim died. Despite these ominous omens, Linda is simply glad to have Jim back. Until the next day when she again awakens to a world in which Jim has died. Obviously, Linda begins to question her sanity. But, insane or not, she starts to see patterns and realizes that she is bouncing back and forth between the time before and after Jim was killed. Does that mean that she could save him?
In many ways, the script for Premonition is quite ingenious. Writer Bill Kelly has taken two distinct genres and melded them together. First of all, we have the time-travel properties of the story, as Linda goes to and from the time before and after Jim's death. Despite the fact that there's no time machine or any typical apparatus to induce the time travel, it occurs nonetheless. At the same time, the film gives us a "What is reality?" story ala Jacob's Ladder or Brain Dead. As Linda goes from day to day, she has no idea what is happening in each time. Thus, despite the fact that she's in her normal surroundings, the events all seem foreign. However, everyone around her is behaving normally and is shocked by the fact that she is so disoriented (even given the fact that her husband has just died). This makes Linda question her own judgment, and until the third act of the movie, the audience is right there with her. There is also a sly mystery element to Premonition, as Jim's death reveals some secrets about his life.
The best part of Premonition is also its weakest point. The way in which the story bounces back and forth is a nice idea and it creates a true sense of unease in the audience. But, as is always a possibility in time travel films, it opens up a great deal of plotholes. There is a scene involving a psychiatrist which doesn't make any sense whatsoever. In this scene, the reality surrounding Linda totally collapses and those around her are suddenly the ones acting strange. This may have been done on purpose to represent the depth of Linda's turmoil, but while watching the film, the viewer is left saying, "Huh?". Another sticking point is a scene in which a second tragedy befalls Linda. I won't give anything away, but I must say this -- You live in a house for 10 years, and you suddenly realize a safety precaution which you need to take? That's a bad thing in a film which can be quite confusing to begin with. I found the film's ending to be quite satisfying, but the coda was completely unnecessary and instead of being intriguing, it's confusing.
In my opinion, Premonition is an OK movie, and I've certainly seen much worse movies. So, then why does the film have an 8% (out of 100%) rating on RottenTomatoes.com? The only explanation that I can think of is that the movie is very confusing at times, and despite some inconsistencies and plotholes, the movie never cheats. However, I can see how many would find the movie frustrating, and for many the ending will be upsetting, and the coda infuriating. In short, Premonition could produce some strong emotions in the viewer. But, that doesn't make it a bad film. On the contrary, if a movie can push your buttons, then it's doing something right. (By way of comparison, the movie has a 5.6 (out of 10) rating on IMDB.com, based on votes by nearly 6000 visitors.)
In a world where video stores are flooded with thrillers, Premonition is a nice change of pace. Not only for us the viewer, but for star Sandra Bullock as well, who does a nice job breaking out of her cutesy, romantic-comedy mold. The movie is far from perfect, and the viewer must really pay attention to the particulars of the story. But, those who like movies which constantly try to trick the viewer will most likely find something to like here.
Premonition looks into the future of DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has come to DVD in two separate releases, one widescreen and the other fullscreen. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version has been viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The transfer looks quite good as the image is sharp and clear, showing basically no grain and no defects from the source material. The movie has a decidedly dark color palette, but the hues look fine and the occasional bright colors, such as red, are very good. The image reveals a slight amount of edge-enhancement, but otherwise it looks fine. The DVD has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track which delivers clear dialogue and sound effects. For the most part, the audio sticks to the front and center channels, but in several scenes, we get impressive surround and subwoofer effects. Even in quite films, Sony DVDs always deliver excellent sound quality.
The Premonition DVD offers a few extra features. Sandra Bullock and director Mennan Yapo provide an AUDIO COMMENTARY for the film. This is an average talk as they discuss the film's production, locations, and the cast. There are few silent passages, but neither is a very enthusiastic speakers and the commentary does drag at times. The DVD contains 5 DELETED SCENES, which can be viewed with optional commentary from Yapo. All of these scenes are brief and are of little consequence. The alternate ending included here is very similar to the one in the finished film. There is a 3-minute GAG REEL. "Glimpses of the Future: Making Premonition" is a 16-minute featurette which offers comments from the cast, the director, the writer, and the producer. Bullock talks about how shooting the film actually had a disorienting and stressful effect on her, with Yapo encouraged her to use. In a unique move, Yapo hosts "Bringing Order to Chaos" (12 minutes), which presents the film in its chronological order. The final extras are filed under "Real Premonitions". Both "Waking Dreams" (29 minutes) and "Seeing the Future" (15 minutes) are mini-documentaries which examine people who have had premonitions. It's always a plus when a DVD offers a real-life featurette.
Review Copyright 2007 by Mike Long