Limitless (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus pops some NZT and provides an early review for the Limitless DVD...
Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) just lost his girlfriend (Abbie Cornish), is about to lose his book deal because he hasn’t written a single word of his book, and is generally one of those movie losers who needs something to get him out of his predicament. Then he meets his ex-wife’s brother Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), who offers him a pill that will help and Eddie’s life begins to turn itself around.
The drug, NZT-48, allows Eddie to access all of his possible brain power. Every memory, every passing factoid, the ability to piece fragments of information together and the almost superhuman ability to stay ahead of everyone around him, enabling him to make money, charm women and become more successful than he could ever have imagined. That is until he starts experiencing huge blackouts where he can’t account for massive chunks of time and the realisation that is he doesn’t continue to take the pills he’s going to get ill quick. Remember kids, drugs are bad.
Limitless is structured exactly like a superhero origin movie. In fact it is a superhero movie, just minus the supervillian or the city-in-peril finale. Bradley Cooper carries the weight of all this pretty effortlessly, playing both the loser and the drug fuelled winner with the same sort of charisma Tom Cruise built an entire career on. While De Niro’s inclusion in the movie is pretty thin it still gives Cooper a chance to go toe to toe with a genuine movie icon, which always makes a star on the climb feel like they’re working their way up the movie star ladder.
As for the movie itself, it’s an easy watch. The first two acts handle the dilemma of 'Should Eddie keep taking the pills?' pretty well and the drama of the situation strikes a nice balance between keeping it fun and adding weight to the darker moments. However it’s the payoff that lets the movie down. Limitless doesn’t feel like it has a finale. There’s a whole lot of set up and none of it comes to a head. Anna Friel’s role as Eddie’s ex-wife who has come off of NZT is so loose its inclusion feels forced just to present some facts about NZT. The question of whether Eddie killed a woman in a hotel room is set adrift just as you think it’s about to get answered. The convenience of getting Eddie’s stash back feels very weak and with no real villain or “thing” to overcome the movie literally just ends before jumping to a twelve months later epilogue which raises a question about Eddie that feels a little additional to everything that’s already been seen.
It’s here that the superhero movie similarities come up again. This feels like an origin story and as we all know the superhero origin movie (especially the ones this year) can now get away with offering up a first chapter that feels like two thirds of a movie rather than a complete tale because sequels will be on the way in a few years. I’m pretty sure Limitless won’t have that luxury so I came away from this one feeling like it had dropped the ball at the finishing line and for me that made the whole thing a little disappointing.
There’s two distinct looks to this movie. Off of NZT and on NZT. Off of the drug everything is a touch darker, there’s a green tint to the image and everything feels a little run down and drab very much akin to those dark side of drugs movies. When we’re on NZT everything gets boosted. Bradley Cooper looks more like the bronzed movie star we’ve all grown accustomed to. His blue eyes are ramped up to piercing levels, his skin literally glows and the world around him feels infused with colour and the more intense the trip the more intense the colours. The bad trips also offer a whole variety of visual tricks that give the transfer a run for its money. Lots of zooms that are full of depth, lots of quick cuts with quick colour changes and despite the slight softness on this standard definition DVD, you can see this bright, glossy looking movie could look really impressive in HD.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is quite an immersive experience in the NZT boosted moments, with some good balance between the front and rear speakers and quite a dynamic use of the cross overs. Cooper's voice overs are very strong in the centre speakers and there are some subtleties in the score that are felt in the rear, though I will say I found the main body of the score to feel a little weaker in the rear speakers a lot of the time. The track isn’t consistently punchy but does have its show off moments and overall it’s a serviceable track but never feels like it’s showing off.
The disc opens with trailers for The Vanishing on 9th Street, Red Hill, The Mechanic and The Woman in Black. Moving onto the Limitless features, we start with ‘A Man Without Limits’ (04:19) which is a simple EPK overviewing the premise of the movie.
The commentary by director Neil Burger is a well-paced track that offers up lots of information about his approach to the film, the actors, the set pieces, the shoot and pretty much everything a commentary track should offer. It’s quite a routine track but it’s still a good track, especially for a solo effort.
‘Taking It to the Limit’ (11:09) is the making of. It’s more of the same but offers a broad view of how the movie got made but being so short only really skims the surface.
The ‘Alternative Ending’ (06:13) is an ever so slight variation to the epilogue segment at the end of the movie which I think makes for a more satisfying wrap up and rather than jumping to a moment that raised more questions, it actually attempted to give a bit of insight into what Eddie would have to do with his addiction. As I say it’s only a slight variation but I liked it more. Wrapping up there’s the trailer (01:46).
Limitless is a good idea and for the most part it's executed well but its weak ending peters out as opposed to going out on a high and that left me a little bit too underwhelmed so be able to say I liked the movie as a whole. The disc looks and sounds great, the extras are fluffy but are held up with a solid commentary track, so all in all it’s not a bad release, just a fairly straight forward one.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 1st August 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Extras: Featurettes, Commentary, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Neil Burger
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi and Thriller
Length: 100 minutes
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