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Wanted (2008) - DVD Review

By Widge - posted 12.22.08 @ 2:21 am
Wanted DVD cover art

Film:
DVD:

Written by: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Chris Morgan, based on a story by Brandt and Haas, which was in turn based on the comic book by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Starring: James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann

Features:

  • Extended scene
  • Cast and characters featurette
  • L Train stunt featurette
  • Two stunts featurettes
  • Graphic novel featurette
  • Director featurette
  • Eight motion comics
  • "Little Things" music video
  • Video game making-of

Released by: Universal
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Nice, but wait for the deluxe version.

Wesley Gibson (McAvoy) is not just a has-been, he's also a never-was. If you'll allow me a really screwed up metaphor, he was the mosquito trapped in amber waiting for Richard Attenborough to come along and restore him to life. The screwed up part of the metaphor is that in it, Angelina Jolie is Attenborough. Because apparently Wesley is the heir to a particular talent: killing people several dozen ways of dead. His father, who has been missing from his life, turns out was an assassin and is now rather dead. And the person who killed him is looking for Wesley wanting to reunite the family, so to speak. Now Wesley has to get up to speed quickly and find his father's killer before the guy finds him.

Okay, I'm not going to completely rehash my review of the movie, except to say that it holds up on a second watch. The action and violence are all ludicrous and glorious, the story is even more ludicrous, but as stated previously, if you go with, then you're in for a ride.

The DVD's ride is fairly decent. You get an extended scene as part of Wesley's training, which is rather amusing and gives more for Common to do. The Cast & Characters Featurette is par for the course for such things: it's reflections by everybody on the experience and their characters. Nice, but it does leave you wanting more. More on that in a minute. There's also a stunt featurette for the L Train jumping sequence, which gives you a really good primer for the crazy FX in the film: the gist is that the train wasn't moving--the bridge was. And the majority of the stuff was greenscreened in. Nice.

James McAvoy in Wanted

There's two additional FX featurettes, which go into detail for some of the insanity. I think I've gotten so used to everything being CG that I'm surprised to see live action stuff even in the shot. Like the car flipping over the cops in the film: this was accomplished by taking a car and putting it on the equivalent of a giant spool that would then turn and flip over the cops, with both McAvoy and Jolie on the ride. This and the way they did the train accident sequence later on are rather impressive.

What follows is a graphic novel featurette which has lots of writer Mark Millar in it, and it and the eight motion comics really make me look forward to the day when somebody actually makes a movie out of the comic--here they took some of the basic ideas and ran a completely different (and slightly more big budget movie friendly) direction. I still want the original notion of a world run by secret cabals of super-villains to come to the screen at some point. The motion comics are exactly what the name implies: they've voice cast the characters and slightly animated panels from the original comic to show you where certain scenes in the movie came from. Nice commercial for the comic, anyway.

Timur Bekmambetov from Wanted

There's also a director featurette focusing on Bekmambetov, which makes sense seeing as how he's a new name for people who don't know his wacked out trilogy that started with Night Watch. Everyone talks about how it was working with him and how different his style is and how completely mental he is. The best bit is Millar explaining how Russians are even darker writers than Brits since it's even colder and darker in Russia.

There is a music video for the song "Little Things," which we wouldn't even mention except that it is Danny Elfman, and he's always worth mentioning. Lastly, there's a making-of for the tie-in game, which seems to have done a good job of letting you do all the crazy shit you would want to do in such a game: curving bullets, screwing with time, the whole nine.

Behind the scenes from Wanted

There's really not a bad feature on here, except that they're all relatively short--what you really want from this is a bigass docu covering the whole nine and a commentary. It's the lack of commentary which leads me to believe there's a better version coming. That and the fact that they're trying to work up a sequel. While this two-disc set is more than acceptable if you really need to own this thing and get some re-watch out of it, if you're good on the film for now, I'd say hold off. I'm convinced something more is coming.

Leaving the office from Wanted

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Widgett Walls is Need Coffee's Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. He is the author of the novel Mystics on the Road to Vanishing Point, and two collections of short stories, Magnificent Desolation and Something Else: The Complete First Season. He is also co-author of the children's book There's a Zombie in My Treehouse! All of those books are available in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon. He is also the narrator and publisher of the first unabridged recording of Seneca's letters, available here. He is active on both Twitter and Facebook. (If you befriend him on Facebook, do say you came via Need Coffee.) He lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He hardly ever sleeps.

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