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Her (Blu-ray Review)

Her (Blu-ray Review)Truth be told, had I been living among the stars and privileged in life last year in Los Angeles, Her would have been my #2 film of 2013 easily knocking down The Wolf of Wall Street here.  Oh no!  The cat’s out of the bag over how much I love this film!  Now don’t fret!  We’ll spend more time talking about the film in great detail below and why it’s so critically acclaimed, but for now just know this.  It’s been quite some time since I have been witness to a movie that has been so deep and undeniably in-tune with the complexities and dynamics of “human” relationships.  And don’t get me wrong.  I know how absolutely absurd that sounds especially when the main plot of the film is about a brokenhearted sap who has a romantic relationship with his phone, but I think it’s that light sci-fi (my favorite genre) setting that really pushes the envelope and propels this feature into new realms and undertakings that’s really going to surprise first time viewers who were either reluctant to catch it in the theater due to its obscene premise or just weren’t fortunate enough to have it play near them (I know how that feels).  Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Her.

Her (Blu-ray Review)

Film 

I guess in simplest terms one could describe Her as a love story for the “modern” era.  Honestly, that would describe it pretty accurately, but to me it’s so much more.  This Blu-ray review being my second time watching Her, I was amazed just how much more sucked in I was, acutely aware and drawn to the incredibly raw and emotional story of just how complexed and for lack of a better term, effed up relationships can be…if you let them.  It’s funny how we all seem to learn from our mistakes in most ways, but when it comes to relationships if you don’t really give it your all or pay full attention, it’s amazing how much you eff up things over and over again.  So with that being said and it all being kind of obvious, let’s spend a few moments chatting about what Her is all about and who’s all involved.  Cool beans?

Her was written and directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Jonze, also known for Being John Malkovich and Where the Wild Things Are.  Although Spike recently walked away with Best Original Screenplay for Her at the Academy Awards it’s a shame that more attention wasn’t given to this Best Picture nominated film than the sham, in my opinion, that is 12 Years A Slave.  Her is so much deeper and rich with emotion than Slave, again in my opinion, but I digress (that’s a very sore subject for me).  But let’s not give Spike all the credit, Her also contains some pretty powerful performances from the film’s leading man, Joaquin Phoenix, as well as Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde and of course Scarlett Johansson as the voice of Samantha.

I’m trying to find the best words I can think of to accurately paint a visual picture of what the story of Her is all about.  Don’t let that boring a$$ looking Blu-ray cover art deceive you into thinking this one’s a dud.  If you thought that way, you’d be dead wrong.  Her is quite the firecracker if you give it a chance to engulf you.  After all, thee’s a reason why it’s one of my favorite films of 2013 (and that of others too) and why it gets crowned with a perfect score.

Her is set in the slight future within the City of Angels, Los Angeles.  The story follows our leading man, Theodore (Phoenix), who try as he might just can’t let go of the pain and disappointment his personal life has succumbed to because his wife (Mara) is divorcing him.  I guess you can say Theodore is reluctantly cursed with some serious denial here, as to be expected in a situation like this.  You can think of Theodore as a very complex man due to what he is going through, but also very soulful and kind too.  He makes a living writing personal, touching letters for other people.  Man I tell you, some people really have some cool jobs (hey jealousy).  During an afternoon stroll he catches an advertisement for a new operating system from Element Software called OS1.  The marketing campaign is intriguing as it promises an interacting, artificial intelligence like none other before, one that will grow and evolve with you.  Naturally, like I would do too, Theodore gives in, downloads and installs it.

Right from the get go, Theodore is smitten by Samantha’s seductive, sultry and playfully innocent voice (that of Scarlett Johansson).  She seems to know Theodore like no one else does and is actually quite funny, witting and challenging to him also.  However, this is where the story gets quite tricky.  Samantha needs Theodore as much as he needs her.  They both rely on each other to evolve and grow.  How can I say this while still being politically correct?  Their friendship deepens and blossoms into something so much more, a mutual love for each other, and yes…even intercourse so to speak (virtually of course).

I guess you can say that everything I just wrote about up above raises some serious questions, both moral and social.  However, I would like to tackle the social part of the debate here and forgo any arguments regarding morality (I’m no holy person).  Is it socially acceptable to avoid sharing real emotions and connections with a physical human being, but instead with that of an abstract operating system?  How does that look and even feel out in public?  What will others think and will that cause Theodore to become a recluse?  Thankfully for Theodore, much of society starts forming bonds with their operating systems and before you know it society almost seems like it is okay with others who choose relationships with their OS rather than in the arms of another human.  It opens up new world adventures and some pretty interesting double dating scenarios.  However, what I like about all of this is just because you think you have the perfect relationship dating a non-physical OS, don’t you dare think that it does not come with the same strings attached as a real relationship does.  People change.  Operating systems change.  Everyone and everything evolves and unfortunately that also means “they” grow apart too.  Ladies and gentlemen, if you have not seen it already, I strongly encourage you to check out Her.  I know from an outside looking in that everything I said up above may sound totally absurd, but I have not seen a deeper character relationship piece like this in quite some time and I’m a disciple to this one.

Her (Blu-ray Review)

Video

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings Her to the Blu-ray format with a HD video presentation that’s as intriguing as the subject matter itself is.  I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll tread very lightly here.  Let’s just say when we first meet Theodore he’s not in the best of places in life, personally, but as we follow him his life gets much happier thanks to a new love interest.  So let’s just say that artistically speaking the same goes for the video.  Things are initially muted, dull and lifeless in Theodore’s world, but once love and friendship grab ahold of him the presentation becomes razor sharp, more vivid and everything we love about Blu-ray video.  I hope that makes sense.  Now I will try to answer the below questions as best as possible.

  • Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Clarity/Detail: For the most I have no qualms here.  Initially, as I made reference to up above, thinks are a bit murky and soft, but later on things are distinctively sharp, everything from pores to mustache follicles, and even the wooden frames that adorn the computer monitors within the feature.  Want proof of how sharp things are?  Wait until you see that downtown LA nighttime skyline.  Oo la la.
  • Depth: What I love about this presentation is that even when the onscreen visuals are at their absolute softest, the characters still all popped.  Of course things really go crack, snapple, pop when Theodore is happy and in love, but all in all this one has that three-dimensional pop we all come to know and love on the Blu-ray format.
  • Black Levels: I absolutely won’t lie to you and say these are all deep and inky, but like the clarity up above, this one kind of goes hand and hand with Theodore’s moods.  With that being said, I will say they’re all acceptable.  How’s that?
  • Color Reproduction: Once again, the colors really depend on Theodore’s mood.  There is a pastel, salmon like tonal quality to it all, but everything here is of artistic intent so take any negative comments or moments of lifelessness with a grain of salt in this one.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones pretty much remain natural and accurate throughout.  I never really have any issues with these at all.
  • Noise/Artifacts: There’s not a single speck of dirt, debris or ugliness in this print to distract you from taking it all in and enjoying this HD presentation.

Her (Blu-ray Review)

Audio

I wish I had a lot to say here like I did up above for the video section, but truth be told this is pretty much your everyday run of the mill audio presentation that you would expect from a relationship drama.  Now with that being said, let’s address the following.

  • Audio Format: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French (Dubbed in Quebec) 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Dynamics: The dynamics in this track are pretty much on par and in the every changing score that coincides with moods and onscreen themes as well as the ambient effects of the light sci-fi future landscape we see painted on-screen.  This one is nothing to write home about because being of the drama genre you would not expect a bombastic track.  However, what you do have is an organic one that evolves with you throughout the story.
  • Low Frequency Extension: I really only heard the subwoofer kick in with the occasional ambient effects.  Again, this is a drama folks, not a wild action romp.  
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The rear channels were mostly only reserved for bleeding score and ambient effects.  There was really nothing directional in the onscreen events so don’t expect that with the audio surround track either.  It is what it is…acceptable.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Here’s something that really shines and resonates with this surround sound presentation.  Every spoken word is loud, clear and intelligible.  I like that!

Her (Blu-ray Review)

Extras 

Unfortunately, besides the Digital HD UltraViolet version of the film (redeemable via the code inside this Blu-ray Combo package) and an additional DVD (SD version of the film), Warner Bros. Home Entertainment gives us only three bonus supplements to speak of here.  Sadly, I would have loved to seen or should I say hear an audio commentary track from Director Spike Jonze, but beggars can’t be choosers.  At least I have one of my favorite films from 2013 finally home on the Blu-ray format!  That’s worth the price of admission right there!  So let’s get down to business.  What say you?  Besides all the aforementioned items we just covered sentences ago, here’s everything else you can find on the Blu-ray disc and of course, what you can expect.  Enjoy!

  • The Untitled Rick Howard Project (HD, 24:19) – This short film by Lance Bangs basically takes us behind-the-scenes of the making of Her.  I have to admit.  It was kind of cool seeing the scenes all labeled and laid out on a cork board wall.  I love the rawness of filmmaking there!
  • How Do You Share Your Life with Somebody (HD, 3:56) – This one kind of just plays out with film footage and recaps the story shared between Theodore and Samantha as he tells her about his marriage, his ex and how things ultimately fell apart and where he’s at now in life.   I guess you should just consider this your extended film trailer.
  • Her: Love in the Modern Age (HD, 15:10) – This one kind of explores what is love, how important is it, what does it look like and the technology in the center of it all while clips of the film play out and authors, actors, etc. chat about the topic at hand.  In all honesty, this one kind of depresses me because it also talks about the ugly ending and separations of relationships, etc.  If you are looking for something upbeat, by all means skip this.  Just like the movie, this one will drag you down to your lowest.  You’ve been warned.

Her (Blu-ray Review)

Summary 

With the exception of a weak supplemental features package, there’s really nothing else that screams DO NOT buy this one.  It’s more like RUN, DON’T WALK and DO buy this one!  Click on that pre-order link below.  I can’t stress that enough.  And while I can appreciate the fact that Her may not be everyone’s proverbial cup of tea, I think it’s one that every disciple of fine cinema will really love and appreciate.  Her painfully addresses head on and answers the questions of what it’s like to lose someone you care about and what it’s tragically like to leave someone alone in the relationship.  Unless you’re a virgin, we’ve probably all been there at one point or another in our lives.  Love is a tricky thing and Her reminds us just how delicate and truly beautiful it can be.  Truth be told, this one was probably one of the most enjoyable Blu-ray reviews I have ever written.   It practically wrote itself.  That’s how much Her means to me and I’m so stoked to finally welcome it to my Blu-ray collection.

Her releases on Blu-ray and DVD May 13th, and if you like everything I said up above, you can help support our site by pre-ordering it here.  Thanks for reading and from one fan to another, enjoy Her.

Her (Blu-ray Review)

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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