The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 86 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jenica Bergere, Kristin Bell, Jeff Garlin, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Music by: Ryan Miller
Written by: Derek Connelly
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 30, 2012
When an unusual classified ad inspires three cynical Seattle magazine employees to look for the story behind it, they discover a mysterious eccentric named Kenneth, a likable but paranoid supermarket clerk, who believes he's solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. Together they embark on a hilarious, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt journey that reveals how far believing can take you.
Safety not guaranteed is an interesting film. I saw the trailer for it on another disc that I had in for review and immediately became intrigued. The story revolves around Darius an early twenty something magazine intern that wears her unhappy childhood on her sleeve. Darius isn’t complicated per se but those not willing to look below the surface would mistake her for your typical angst filled young adult. In reality she is searching, searching for a connection to someone that shares her inner strength but can identify with her fragile psyche. When she and fellow intern Arnau ( Karan Soni) volunteer to accompany senior staff writer Jeff on a bizarre assignment to track down the author of an unusual ad placed in the paper she feels an inkling that stirs thoughts of hope.
Darius is tasked with approaching Kenneth in an undercover capacity in order to ascertain the reason for his ad which states that he searching for someone to travel back in time with, they must bring their own weapons, will be paid upon their return and their safety is not guaranteed. Upon meeting with Kenneth under the guise of responding to his ad it becomes evident that perhaps Kenneth may not be operating with a “full deck”. He conducts an “interview” of Darius to ensure that she is right for the time traveling mission. Once he agrees he begins to “train” her which involves various things such as hand to hand, weapons and endurance workouts. In between the training they converse about the personal whys and wherefores associated with traveling back in time as well as past life events.
Darius begins to feel that, crazy or not, she shares a sort of kinship with Kenneth that draws her into his sense of purpose. She doesn’t share this with Jeff or Arnau but as the “mission date” gets nearer she finds it increasingly harder to continue the ruse on either side. When they accidentally discover that Kenneth’s paranoia/eccentric behavior may have foundation it raises the most obvious question of all. Can this guy really travel back in time???
Safety not guaranteed is all that I hoped it would be. It’s a story about fallible people and the emotional need in all of us that time travel might satisfy. Its strength lies in the interaction among the characters and the looming possibility in Kenneth’s fervent belief in why he is going back in time and how. Along the way are wonderfully interplayed moments that build upon one another toward the obvious question that isn’t answered until the final moment of the film. There is a little bit of everything here as the narrative balances a mix of light sentiment, romance/drama, adventure, mystery and humor which occasionally borders on laugh out funny. The subplots involving Jeff seeking out an old girlfriend and trying to help Arnau lose his virginity are smoothly integrated and complimentary. It’s the primary plotline involving Darius and Kenneth though that will keep you smiling and guessing up to the end.
Safety not guaranteed is a modest, quirky and entertaining comedy that succeeds thanks to solid script, apt direction and a well placed cast. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to a revisit.
The rating is for language and some sexual references.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Safety not guaranteed comes to Blu-ray disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.
This is a good looking high definition video presentation that is indicative of most new release films coming to Blu-ray. Images are resolved with appreciable detail that reveals plenty of visible texture during close up camera shots. The exterior pans of the rural locations featured in the story, offer lucid long range visuals and discernible levels of refinement. The film doesn’t utilize an extensive chromatic palette but tonal balance is on the money which leaves colors looking quite natural and pleasing. Fleshtones are on the pallid side but appear lifelike in depiction. White and black levels are appropriately balanced which provides punchy whites and stable blacks. I didn’t observe any deleterious video anomalies or artifacts.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is more than capable of handling the elements present in this dialogue driven comedy and sound excellent overall. Vocal reproduction is smooth and strident free through the center channel. The front oriented surround mix is delivered via a wide soundstage, with opulent detail and appropriate prioritization. Atmospheric ambience is lightly mixed to the rear channels which provides subtle venue replicating surround envelopment and music enhancement. Dynamic range is quite good as evidenced by one scene in particular but otherwise there isn’t much work for the subwoofer. Overall this is pleasing audio presentation that compliments the source material.
- (HD) Safety not guaranteed: A movie making mission – 15 minute featurette
- (HD) The AD behind the movie – 2 minutes
Safety not guaranteed is all that I hoped it would be. It’s a modest, quirky and entertaining comedy that succeeds thanks to solid script, apt direction and a well placed cast. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring satisfying high definition audio/video and a paltry supplemental package. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend that you toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.
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