Plot: What’s it about?
If you want to really challenge (or tick off) your friends, use this film’s title during a game of charades and see how they respond. I can’t recall a longer title since Don’t be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. Of course, who’s really keeping track? If you’re like me and have grown a bit tired of live action family films that resort to cheap gags and low brow humor all too often, then Alexander (and no, I’m not going to write the entire title) is a refreshing breath of fresh air. We’ve had some quality animated films lately, but I don’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed a family film like this as much. It truly is one of the rare films that can appeal to a broad demographic without feeling as if it’s trying too hard to please. It will likely remind many people of the family flicks from the 90’s that just seemed much more wholesome than what we’ve gotten more recently. I think the fact that it’s centered around one family has a lot to do with it.
We’ve all had a bad day at some point in our lives. Some of us have had far too many. Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) seems to think bad luck follows him. He wakes up one morning with gum stuck in his hair, someone posts pictures of his face onto different bodies, all with not very good results. A more popular kid in school is having a party the same day as his, and nobody wants to come to his since it’s clearly the less popular choice. He wakes up late one night on his Birthday and makes a wish that his family will experience some of the things that he has. Sure enough, the following morning they do. His parents are played by Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell. He also has 3 siblings: an older sister and brother and a baby brother. His sister is playing Peter Pan in the school play, but gets a cold. His brother is getting his driver’s licenses, and his mother is running late for work, and to top it off, a huge typo hits the production line of the children’s book her company published. Alexander has indeed cursed the day. The rest of the film follows the family on their various calamities with Alexander finally admitting to his family that he made the wish and he believes he did curse the day. Admittedly, the plot is fairly light, but the film is still a lot of fun. The cast is in top form and the gags (while often broad) don’t resort to obvious pop culture references or gross jokes. It’s a film definitely worth checking out.
Video: How’s it look?
Disney has done a fine job here with the transfer. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio and there was a flaw to be seen. The film is certainly colorful and takes place in a sunny town. Colors are always nice and bright with really no issues to speak of. I could spot a few pores on some of the actor’s faces as well. The young baby in the film spends much of it with spilled green marker on his face and the saturation was nearly flawless. Background shots always appeared strong and detailed. This transfer will please fans of the film.
Audio: How’s it sound?
While not as strong as the transfer, the DTS HD track does still impress. I never had an issue with vocals or anything else. It got quite loud a few times with the soundtrack, but otherwise, this track serves the film as expected. The rear channels stayed busy during many of the film’s hectic sequences. Fans should have no issues here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Sadly, this is where the disc falls a bit short, but something is better than nothing.
- Alexander in Real Life – Though only 5 minutes long, this piece provides some useful information. We hear from the author of the book on which the film is based and see her real life son that inspired the novel. It’s a short, but useful feature.
- Bloopers – It’s clear the cast had a great time making this film.
- Snappy Crocs and Punchy Roos – This is a short piece highlighting the climax of the film and working with animals.
- Walkabout: A Video Diary – This is simply On-set footage showing the young actor who plays Alexander filming random stuff on the set. It’s decent, but nothing of importance.
- Music Video – Yawn
- Digital Copy
The Bottom Line
If you’re nostalgic for family films from the 90’s and before, then Alexander just may be for you. It’s the kind of film that we just don’t see a lot of anymore. I won’t say it’s perfect nor will I say it’s hilarious, but it’s almost consistently entertaining and good fun for the whole family, all while not overstaying its welcome. I’d say it is worth purchasing as well. The current sale price is relatively cheap, and while the features are a bit too thin, what we get isn’t terrible (pardon the pun). Check it out.