Knowing (Blu-ray / DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Nicolas Cage, Chandler Canterbury, Rose Byrne, D.G. Maloney, Nicolas Cage's Hair
Directed by Alex Proyas
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Director Alex Proyas has made a living out of creating films that are otherworldly. Star Nicolas Cage has made a career out of mostly over-acting and chewing scenery. The combination of these two cinematic icons can be combustible at best and ridiculous at worst. Knowing gives us a little bit of both with a hefty dollop of Scientology as a chaser. Sigh.
Nicolas Cage stars as John Koestler, a professor who discovers that his young son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) has recently unearthed the devil's Sudoku from a decades old school time capsule. Upon sitting with this numerical doomsday device for a while, Koestler discovers that it has been predicting catastrophes in rapid fire succession with startling accuracy. This horrid realization comes equipped with Proyas' trademark spooky Goth dudes who linger in the background and some of the most stunning disaster sequences you've ever seen complete with a flaming moose thrown in for good measure.
Cage, as goofy as he can be, is only as good as his director. Over the years he's turned out some fine performances, but he needs to be constantly monitored. If you let Nicolas Cage start playing Nicolas Cage instead of his character, your movie is all but sunk. That's pretty much what happens here. During the first two thirds of the film, he's pretty subdued, but then whammo -- he's looking to the sky, legs apart, wind blowing through his wig, trying to get in as many hero shots as humanly possible. There are times in Knowing when the weight of his cheese equals the magnitude of the film's several incredible disaster sequences.
The carnage in this flick is jaw-dropping and worth putting up with any silliness to see. Yet, even if you make it through Cage, the disasters, and everything that goes along with them, the ending is the final slap in the face that could very well end up making you hate the film. SPOILERS ARE COMING -- If you don't want to read them, skip the rest of this paragraph. It almost feels like a bait and switch. So you think you're watching an action film about the end of the world, do you? Well, say hello to the shiny aliens who save our race from the mouth of the inferno and bring us to the land of swaying trees and fluffy bunnies. I shit you not. Whatever balls the flick was showing by destroying the planet and everyone on it were quickly clipped off and tucked neatly into a purse. If John Travolta and Tom Cruise would have shown up to high-five each other in slow motion, I wouldn't have been at all surprised. Seriously -- are you kidding?
In terms of picture quality and sound you will want to own this flick in high-definition if you have the tech at your disposal. This is textbook issued Blu-ray goodness, folks. Knowing's 1080p onscreen image and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack are exemplary. It just doesn't get any better. In short ... wow! The DVD kind of holds its own, but not very well. However, the DVD and the Blu-ray share identical supplemental material save for the fact that the Blu-ray is BD Live enabled. You standard definition faithful aren't really missing anything at all. Let's take a quick look at what's included.
The goodies kick off with a very good commentary by Alex Proyas and oddly enough a guy who is never identified within the commentary or on the packaging. Can't really blame whoever this was. I would have left my name out of this stinker too. From there we get two featurettes -- the first Knowing All: The Making-of a Futuristic Thriller clocks in at just thirteen minutes and is your basic cookie-cutter stuff, and the second Visions of the Apocalypse is seventeen minutes of apocalypse analysis and hyperbole. Nope. Nothing to see here.
In the end Knowing could have been something special, but instead it feels like a gourmet meal that was left in the oven far too long. Watch it for the spectacle of destruction. Mock it for Cage and his hair. Forget it as soon as it's over.
2 1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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