City of Angels has some cheesy moments and Nic Cage early on doesn’t quite exude leading man who can act creepy yet still nab pretty (and smart) surgeon, but once you get beyond that, the story mostly works and somehow Cage and Ryan share good on-screen chemistry.
Genre(s): Drama, Romance
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 114 min. – $19.98 | February 4, 2014
Directed by: Brad Silberling
Writer(s): Wim Wenders, Richard Reitinger and Peter Handke (film Wings of Desire); Dana Stevens (screenplay)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Dennis Franz, Andre Braugher, Colm Feore
Theatrical Release Date: April 10, 1998
Features: Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 5.1), Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0), Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0), Polish (Dolby Digital 2.0), Russian (Dolby Digital 2.0), Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English, Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian
Disc Size: 34.7 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Plot Outline: Seth (NICOLAS CAGE) is an angel who overlooks humans, listening in on thoughts, comforting those who have passed on and, oh, creepily stalks cute surgeons who are at their lowest after losing a patient. Seth becomes obsessed with surgeon Maggie Rice (MEG RYAN) and although she cannot see him, she has come to believe a person’s life is not entirely in her hands and that the possibility of a higher power at work.
In the angel world, while most can’t see them, if the angel wants it, the person can and he begins a relationship with Maggie. Even though Seth is creepy as hell, wears black and never blinks, Maggie sees something in him that draws her in. At the same time, she’s also in a serious relationship with fellow surgeon Jordan (COLM FEORE) who really has little to offer and more or less disappears throughout.
So, in addition to being able to choose whether Maggie sees him, he learns from a hospital patient named Messinger (DENNIS FRANZ) that angels can choose to fall and become human and outlines how it happens and the benefits which includes being able to breathe in the air, taste food and all the things humans take for granted and, of course, the touch of another person. You can take a guess what happens next…
Quick Hit Review: I’ve never been a big fan of City of Angels mainly because Nic Cage is so damn creepy through two acts to the point that I have no idea why someone like Maggie would even remotely be interested and based on the things Seth says, wouldn’t just run the other way whenever he appears. But I guess there are some things in a romance film one has to set aside, and once you do, CoA actually isn’t a terrible movie and does feature some solid performances from Meg Ryan, Dennis Franz and even Cage once we get into the third act, albeit after his stoic nature prior, had to unleash the Cage craziness we all know and love from the thespian actor.
Directed by Brad Silberling (Land of the Lost) and based on the 1987 film Wings of Desire, City of Angels certainly has its issues yet by the end I did manages to care for Seth and Maggie so on that front, it’s a moderately successful film, not to mention the film also gave us a couple good songs from the 90s.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
All the features from the DVD have been ported over and are in standard definition.
Audio Commentaries – There are two tracks: 1) Director Brad Silberling and 2) Writer Dana Stevens & Producer Charles Roven. Both tracks are pretty good with Silberling outlining his research into the movie, working with the actors, etc. while the second one is along the same lines but gets a bit more into the weeds about the screenplay.
Scene Specific Commentaries (both 17:36) – Director of Photographer John Seale provides one scene-specific track while Production Designer Lilly Kilvert gives her perspective on certain scenes.
Making Angels (29:30) is your basic behind-the-scenes featurette with on-set interviews with the cast and crew as they chat about the plot and characters.
The Making of the Visual Effects for City of Angels (10:28) looks at the, well, VFX, done in the movie and how it was accomplished.
Additional Scenes (12:39) – Scenes that were cut are offered up here with the option of a commentary with the director.
Also included are the Music Videos for “If God Will Send His Angels” by U2 (4:46) and “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls (3:50) plus the Theatrical Trailer (2:04).
VIDEO – 3.75/5
Warner Brothers falls from heaven to bring us lowly mortals the Blu-ray release of City of Angels presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. This is one of those releases that is a mixed bag: on the one hand it has an edge over its DVD counterpart with decent detail levels but on the other, it’s not the prettiest looking Blu-ray I’ve comes across even from the era (1998). The picture is fairly dark even during daylight scenes but that’s how it was intended to look where colors are muted. During those dim scenes, though, it appears to be clean and free of major artifacts and dust marks.
AUDIO – 3.5/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is adequate, of course this never was a movie known for big action scenes except for when Seth took the fall and the loud city noises started closing in; this is the only point when the track showed much depth. Otherwise, the bulk of the channels are filled with dialogue (through the center speaker), dramatic score or catchy hit songs strewn throughout.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, City of Angels has some cheesy moments and Nic Cage early on doesn’t quite exude leading man who can act creepy yet still nab pretty (and smart) surgeon, but once you get beyond that, the story mostly works and somehow Cage and Ryan share good on-screen chemistry. The Blu-ray released by Warner includes all the bonus material from the original release and the audio/video transfer, while nothing amazing, are decent enough.