Plot: What’s it about?
I don’t recall who said it, but I know it’s a saying – “All you need is love.” Was it The Beatles? Again, I don’t know. Still, that emotion has been a trademark of novels, music and films since each medium’s inception. And it should be; after all if you don’t have love then what’s the point of living? However in The Age of Adaline, our heroine not only fights off love but this ageless beauty will outlive any suitor who dares entice her. The thought of living forever might be enticing for a bit, but seeing your friends and family age and die while you still exist might seem like a form of torture. This film has been kicked around for years and at one time had Katherine Heigel set to star in the lead role, she declined to spend more time with her family. So Gossip Girl star Blake Lively stepped into the spotlight and gave it a go. Ready for romance for the ages?
Born in the early 20th century Adaline (Blake Lively) called San Francisco home. She met a man, got married and had a child only to lose her husband in a freak accident. Years later Adaline is fatally injured in a car accident only to be saved by a supernatural occurrence. As a result she’s now immune to ravages of time. Moving to present day we find Adaline working to help preserve historic documents and films for the city of San Francisco. As fate would have it, she meets a young philanthropist named Ellis (Michiel Huisman). Ellis made a fortune in college and now uses his time and resources to help the city. He’s smitten with Adaline and though she initially shuns his advances, eventually concedes. Things get weird when they meet his parents (Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker), as her past seems to have finally caught up with her. Will Adeline’s curse get the best of her or will she finally allow herself to live and love?
Admittedly this is an intriguing concept for a film and though I didn’t care for some of the narration (unless it was done by Morgan Freeman, of course – and it’s not), it does help spell out what’s going on early on. Thought the theme of the film revolves around love, it seems to avoid it at most every cost. That’s a strange way of looking at it, I know, but it’s the best I could think of. Still, it’s amazing the lengths that we go through to look younger for as long as we can, though actually having that gift would seem to be a curse. Go figure. While entertaining, I found that I much preferred another “supernatural romance” that I saw not too long ago – About Time. In it, a man and his son can travel back and forwards through time thus finding out the many ways in which love works. I found The Age of Adaline entertaining, certainly not plausible, but well worth a viewing.
Video: How’s it look?
For some reason I was instantly reminded of Watchmen when I started watching this film. Granted the two have a lot in common visually, so if you see period pieces shot in slow-motion, maybe your mind will wander there as well. Or maybe it won’t? Having said that, I can say that this movie pretty much has it all, visually-speaking. Director Lee Toland Krieger paints a very unique picture that showcases the beauty of San Francisco. Tones range from warm to cool, even a few shots from outer space make an appearance and some visually aggressive vignetting shots seem to enhance the mood. It’s not overdone, but enough to give the film a very unique look and feel.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I was a bit surprised when I saw the Dolby Atmos “demo reel” prior to the movie’s opening credits and thought to myself “Well that’s a bit of an overkill.” With only a handful of Atmos titles out there this does seem like an odd choice. And, as is the case with other Atmos titles – if your receiver isn’t equipped, it translates into a Dolby TrueHD track. Ok, having said that, I can say that this does have a pretty strong sound to it. There aren’t many moments for the soundtrack to shine, but there seems to be a fine, subtle presence going on throughout the film. Vocals are crisp, Harrison Ford’s voice (both old and young) booms across the channel and with surrounds adding some allure to the mix (in a literal sense), it makes for a very interesting track. A nice effort.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Lee Toland Krieger oozes his appreciation for the film in this commentary. He tells how he’s been attached to the project since 2008 and how he’s been waiting to make it. He comments on the cast, the visual style of the film and details about the shoot. It’s a very good and informative track.
- A Love Story for the Ages – More than your standard EPK, this 30 minute feature pretty much gives us all we need to know about the film, its production, casting and visual look and feel. It’s well worth a viewing if you have the interest.
- Style Throughout the Ages – Looking at the title, I’d figured it would be about the costume design and in a way it is, but more so it’s the visual look and feel of the film, re-creating some of the period pieces juxtaposed with the modern sets. Clearly Krieger is an artist with the camera and this pretty much confirms it.
- Discovering Young Harrison Ford: Anthony Ingruber, An Online Sensation – I don’t know if “online sensation” is the correct verbiage for this young actor, but when watching the movie I figured they’d dubbed Harrison Ford’s voice over this actor. Nope. It turns out that this Australian not only bears a more than passing resemblance to Mr. Ford, but sounds like him as well. Both of these, in no small way, got him the part. Check out his impressions of Harrison Ford on YouTube.
- Deleted Scenes
- Previews – The Hunger Games: Mockingly Part II, Divergent, The Duff, and Love and Mercy
- DVD/Digital HD Copy
The Bottom Line
Admittedly the “supernatural romance” genre isn’t too robust, but this one worked for me. It’s not the greatest romance and, truthfully, I preferred About Time, but there is some subdued charm in The Age of Adaline. The Blu-ray offers up a superb picture and sports a very robust Dolby Atmos/True HD mix while giving us just enough supplements to warrant a purchase.