Plot: What’s it about?
Depending on your stance on the murder/mystery genre of films, you’re either feeling pretty good or rolling your eyes. Granted, it’s not like these movies are taking over, but there’s something intriguing about the “whodunnit” that seems to strike a chord with folks. 2022 gave us a sequel to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express – Death on the Nile. It was, essentially, the same movie as its predecessor, just in a different locale. And it didn’t seem to resonate with critics or audiences. This brings us to Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story, the follow-up to 2019’s Knives Out. Thankfully Rian Johnson’s sequel didn’t fall into the same trap that Death on the Nile did. We get a more colorful, over-the-top cast with one returning character – Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc. It’s “more of the same”, but in a totally different way and that’s part of (OK, most) of the fun.
Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is one of several people who have received a strange puzzle box in the mail. Solving it grants the owner an invitation to a private Greek island owned by Miles Bron (Edward Norton), an eccentric billionaire. Along for the ride is Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom, Jr.), Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), Duke Cody (Dave Bautista) and his girlfriend, Whiskey (Madelyn Cline). Naturally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Miles’ ex-business partner, Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe). Miles’ goal is simple: he’s arranged a faux murder and they’ll have the weekend to figure out who did it. This plan takes a backseat when someone is murdered for real. And then, truly, the game begins.
Glass Onion succeeds in that it takes what worked from the first film, namely an assortment of colorful characters. And it’s been a while since we’ve seen some of these faces like Kate Hudson. Truthfully, there’s not a weak link in the bunch and I found that I was in the minority when I said I preferred this one to the original. This one has a lot more going on, but it’s more action-oriented, whereas the first was trying to find the pieces to the puzzle for it all to make sense. Regardless, if you enjoyed Knives Out, I can’t see how this one wouldn’t provide some enjoyment as well. Whatever the case, Rian Johnson has managed to do what many others couldn’t – provide a sequel that’s just as good, if not better, than its predecessor.
Video: How’s it look?
Despite their similarities, the two films couldn’t look more different. I found Knives Out looking a bit dull and drab, with the darkened interior shots, muted tones due to the perpetual overcast skies and whatnot. Glass Onion basks in color. The 1.85:1 HD image leaves very little to the imagination with azure blue skies everywhere and the interior shots have a different look and feel to them. Flesh tones seem warm and natural, detail is impressive as well (if you’ve ever wanted to see Dave Bautista in a speedo – now’s your chance). I might have had a few reservations prior to seeing the movie, but the quality of the picture wasn’t among them.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I watched this on Netflix which caused the Dolby Atmos light on my receiver to come on. I didn’t see a Dolby Atmos logo on the Netflix page, but I’ll trust my receiver over a web site. Having said that, this one isn’t too challenging on your system, mainly the front stage gets the lion’s share of the action. That and if you’re a fan of Daniel Craig’s “Froghorn Leghorn” accent, then you’ll be in heaven. Surrounds are active during the film’s final act, though I didn’t get that “all encompassing” effect that I’ve had with other films. Simply put, it gets the job done but it wasn’t anything that blew me away.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Unless I’m totally missing something, this has no supplemental materials. I’m sure this will eventually get a disc release and we’ll have some extras to report.
The Bottom Line
Knives Out and Glass Onion pack a nice one-two punch that’s sure to please fans of the first film. The ensemble cast is great as well, though I felt that Edward Norton essentially played the same character he did in The Italian Job (not a bad thing, it’s one of my favorites). But if the murder/mystery thing is up your alley, then you’ll like what you see here.