Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (UK - BD RB)
Marcus finds a friend for the end of the world as he reviews this new Blu-ray...
Asteroid Matilda is on a collision course with Earth and the last chance at stopping it has failed. Dodge Petersen (Steve Carell) is alone after his wife leaves him and when he discovers the ‘love of his life’ Olivia would like to see him again before the end of the world, Dodge makes the decision to leave town to spend the last days with her. As a riot breaks out, Dodge helps out newly be-friended neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley) and explains that he knows someone with a plane and he may be able to help her get to England to reunite with her family. The pair set out on a road trip and soon find out how others are coping with the looming end of the world and also discover more about one another.
From early on I had a good feeling about Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World. My tastes are quite varied when it comes to film but something about the angle of this one was right up my street somehow. I love films that have a huge scale backdrop (such as the end of the world) but instead focus on the day to day lives of the people that have to deal with it as opposed to action heroes out on a mission to stop the devastation. Of course I love those bigger movies too (when they don’t go all stupid) but I’ve really grown to love seeing the smaller scale everymen and women trying their best to find happiness with that ticking clock giving them a limited time to find it. This year we’ve already had 4:44, the Willam Dafoe countdown to the end of the world movie that pulled off a small scale very well (despite all the bleakness and lots of Skype) but Seeking a Friend opts for something a little different, a Rom-com for the end of days... Gulp!C
Okay, Okay, when I say Rom-Com I mean it’s a drama that happens to have elements of romance and comedy but still, pulling off gags with the end of the world looming is a brave move none the less. Once again, Steve Carell does this lost and lonely middle aged guy thing so damn well. He’s so good in the much under appreciated Dan in Real Life and he’s bringing much the same approach to Seeking a Friend. You can’t really help but feel for the guy and as Dodge moves through the day to day motions of his life there’s a real sense he’s just going to keep on going until everything just stops.
Enter Keira. Now generally I’m not a fan of Miss Knightley. Other than A Dangerous Method, where she was great, I never quite buy her performances. All I really see is her Stan Marsh triangle smile and not a lot else going on. If I'm honest, for the most part she’s still the weak link here but it doesn't seem to bother me that much because screenwriter/director Lorene Scafaria can handle believable relationships with ease it seems and the enjoyment of being around Dodge and Penny manages to outweigh any issues I may still have with Keira’s acting abilities.
So anyway, Seeking A Friend For The End of the World ends up being a delight and made all the more delightful because it doesn't cop out on its premise. The bleakness remains a sturdy underpinning of the film but never the overwhelming factor. These characters aren't avoiding the fact their world is coming to an end but they aren't dwelling on it either and I dig that about this sort of thing. Somehow the tried and testing formula of romance and comedy (which once again involves a guy who has a good twenty years on his new love interest and we’re all good with that) can hold up even when the world is coming to an end and the two leads aren't in a spaceship trying to stop it from happening.
This is a very strong, warm coloured presentation, that brings everything to life with an HD glow. The orange lighting here can really bring the darker scenes to life, enabling blacks to feel deep and solid and in the brighter day time scenes everything feels pleasant and idyllic.
Exterior scenes glow with sunlight and small details really come to life such as skin textures, landscapes and well, pretty much everything. This is an HD presentation that isn't very natural to look at due to its boosted colours but really has that wow factor that Blu-ray thrives on. The image really pops in all the rights places and offers up some HD visuals that far surpasses what I expected of the movie on home release.
Seeking a Friend is a largely quiet film to generate the softness and growing closeness between its two leads. Dialogue remains crisp and clear and small ambient elements add layers to the track. However a handful of scenes really do step it up. The riot scene is a good example of the track really coming to life and the musical choices on film's soundtrack make great use of the surrounds. Additionally the film's minimal action sequences have a whole lot going on in the to create a wider feel to moments and make this audio experience quite a deep one when it needs to be.
There's not a great deal in the extras department and most of them are short and sweet EPK style affairs. 'A Look Inside Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (04:57 HD) and 'Music for the End of the World' (02:15) are fluffy and generally the cast giving quirky insights into what they'd do in the dire circumstances the film depicts The outakes (08:36) are quite amusing and then all we're left with is the trailer and some pretty cool News coverage style menus.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a highlight on my 2012 movie watches so far. I like the leads and their interactions together and I like seeing a more human keep calm and carry on angle to Earth’s last days as opposed to the recent influx of Walking Dead style post-apocalyptic, 'let’s get a gang together and survive' set ups. The disc looks and sounds pretty darn great and far outshines what I expected from it and while the extras are a little thin, they were fun while they lasted.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 5th November 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Stereo LPCM 2.0 English
Subtitles: Audio Description, English HoH
Extras: Outtakes, A Look Inside, Music For the end of the World, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Cast: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley
Genre: Comedy, Drama and Romance
Length: 101 minutes
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