The Cell might look nice with amazing visuals by director Tarsem Singh and the production design team and conceptually it is an intriguing idea, but man its hard not to realize how dumb the movie is while watching. I suppose if viewing for the first time one might get lost in the effects and style, but drilling down, the substance is lacking to go along with one-dimensional characters (though Lopez for her part wasn’t terrible).
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Suspense/Thriller, Horror
Warner Home Video | R – 109 min. – $14.98 | July 7, 2015
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Plot Outline: When a serial killer (VINCENT D’ONOFRIO) falls into a coma before his last victim can be found, a child therapist (JENNIFER LOPEZ) must use an experimental treatment to enter his mind and learn his secrets before it’s too late. The visually haunting world threatens her very existence when she becomes trapped by the terror inside. Now, an FBI agent (VINCE VAUGHN) must rescue her from the killer’s nightmare mind before he too is lost to the twisted world forever.
Quick Hit Review: “His mind is her prison.” Dumb tagline for sure but conceptually, The Cell was an interesting science fiction crime drama mixing Silence of the Lambs with The Matrix and upon my initial viewing dating back to 2000… I loved it. And I even enjoyed it a couple years later seeing it on DVD. Fast forward 10 odd years and it really doesn’t hold up. Yes, the visual effects are (mostly) decent and visually Tarsem Singh’s direction is stunning, but story wise, this is a really stupid movie where my younger self got overly wrapped up with the visuals and not so much on… well, everything else.
With all that said, and acknowledging this is not a very intelligent movie, or as intelligent as the filmmakers think it is, The Cell has a few things going for it from the strictly visual aspects (and I’m talking more about Jennifer Lopez) to seeing Vince Vaughn attempting to do serious drama though he’s taking another stab at playing a lawman in the latest season of “True Detective”; although in fairness, at least he wasn’t using his fast-talking schtick which can get annoying. In any case, there is plenty here to mock including the make-up they had adorned on Vincent D’Onofrio…
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
Not all of the features from the “New Line Platinum Series” DVD release were ported over save for DVD-ROM content and those useless production notes.
Audio Commentaries – There are two tracks: 1) with Director Tarsem Singh and 2) with the production team featuring Paul Alford (Director of Photography), Tom Foden (production designer), Michelle Burke (make-up supervisor), Eiko Ishioka (costume designer), Kevin Haug (visual effects supervisor), Howard Shore (composer)
Style as Substance: Reflections on Tarsem (11:51; SD) is a love fest toward the director and his vision with sound bites from the cast and crew.
Deleted Scenes (20:04; SD) – We get 8 scenes either removed or cut down and although nice to watch and all, doesn’t amount to much nor would’ve made the movie any better, in fact one where we see Stargher’s room crawls at a snail’s pace. You also have an option to watch them with commentary by Singh.
Special Effects Multi-Angle Vignettes (1:10:45; SD) allows to see the construction of some of the more elaborate visual effects from the movie.
Last up are the Theatrical (1:23; SD) and International (1:20; SD) trailers.
VIDEO – 3.5/5
Warner Home Video releases The Cell onto Blu-ray presented with a 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). Unfortunately it’s no longer a surprise with some of their catalogue titles that the picture quality struggles looking murky in spots and not offering great detail levels, though there is some especially in close-ups. Colors are also a bit mixed with some scenes showcasing Singh’s visual flair while others are somewhat drab. Although it’s not the most impressive HD transfer, it’s certainly adequate enough and a slight upgrade over the DVD version.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The movie gets a pleasing if not average DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which offers clear dialogue levels throughout while giving good depth for the more action-oriented sequences as well as Howard Shore’s out there score which at times was a bit grating on the ears, so thank god we get to hear it in HD quality! Still, it’s a fine track that, like the video, is a slight improvement over its DVD counterpart.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, The Cell might look nice with amazing visuals by director Tarsem Singh and the production design team and conceptually it is an intriguing idea, but man its hard not to realize how dumb the movie is while watching. I suppose if viewing for the first time one might get lost in the effects and style, but drilling down, the substance is lacking to go along with one-dimensional characters (though Lopez for her part wasn’t terrible).
The Blu-ray released by Warner is a basic catalogue title that ports over a fair portion of the features and offers video and audio transfers that aren’t fantastic yet improves upon the DVD release.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.