Phenomenon is a well acted and finely dramatic film that seemed primed to be Oscar bait, especially in the acting category if you see a few of the scenes. However, it doesn’t hold much replay value because while the story is well done and features some fine direction by Jon Turteltaub, it’s just one of those movies that’s only worth one viewing every few years, despite a fine performance from John Travolta.
Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy
Buena Vista | PG – 123 min. – $20.00 | July 3, 2012
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Writer(s): Gerald DiPego (written by)
Cast: John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker, Robert Duvall
Theatrical Release Date: July 3, 1996
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 30.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Plot Synopsis: On the night of his 37th birthday, George Malley (JOHN TRAVOLTA) is knocked to the ground by a mysterious blinding light and develops amazing mental abilities. With his newfound knowledge, George astounds everyone in town, but comes to realize that his wondrous experience has changed him and all those around him forever.
Quick Hit Review: Directed by Jon Turteltaub, who would go on to helm two National Treasure movies and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Phenomenon is a decent movie but a bit heavy-handed especially towards the third act. However, the movie is well acted mainly from John Travolta, although I’m sure there were a couple scenes which the producers thought were Oscar gold, while his supporting cast keep along well enough. Although the film itself is easy to get through, I can’t say I have much desire to revisit it.
Phenomenon was written by Gerald DiPego whose credits include Angel Eyes, Instinct, The Forgotten and Phenomenon II, a made-for-television film which I had no clue actually existed and is not exactly a sequel or remake, though it has the same basic story, just not as Hollywood, or well acted, as the theatrical version. As I understand, it might also have been a failed TV pilot…
As I said, I wasn’t entirely enamored with Phenomenon but it features some good performances and is well directed with an almost romanticized, small-town, tone. The story itself is interesting and provides enough twists to keep you engaged.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0.5/5
The only feature is the Theatrical Trailer.
VIDEO – 3.5/5
Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases Phenomenon with a fine, albeit not outstanding, looking 1080p high-definition transfer. The film is presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and while it’s not the sharpest and clearest Blu-ray I’ve come across, it does seem relatively clean and free of artifacts and other flaws. The picture itself has some OK detail levels but the colors seem a bit drained, even bland. Having not owned the DVD, I can’t compare the two yet I have to assume it’s a step up in quality.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track provides a good aural experience though as you can imagine, this is almost entirely dialogue driven coming via the center channel while the other speakers are comprised of ambient noises, side chatter and Thomas Newman’s dramatic score.
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, Phenomenon is a well acted and finely dramatic film that seemed primed to be Oscar bait, especially in the acting category if you see a few of the scenes. However, it doesn’t hold much replay value because while the story is well done and features some fine direction by Jon Turteltaub, it’s just one of those movies that’s only worth one viewing every few years, despite a fine performance from John Travolta. The Blu-ray is pretty basic with only a trailer and adequate video/audio transfers.