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The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: 2010 - Screen Gems
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 108 minutes
Genre: Drama/Romance/War

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Henry Thomas, Scott Porter
Directed by: Lasse Hallström
Music by: Deborah Lurie
Written by: Jamie Linden (screenplay), Nicholas Sparks (novel)
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 25, 2010

"Is Duty enough reason to live a lie?"

Film Synopsis:

It was two weeks that would change their lives forever. Soon after John and Savannah fall madly in love, their relationship is put on hold. With one leaving to complete his service, and the other to complete her college education, they pass the time by exchanging a continuous stream of love letters, until they can be reunited permanently a year later. But when war breaks out, their separation is extended indefinitely. Will their relationship survive the greatest test of all: the test of time?

My Take:

Dear Reader,

It has been a week since I last wrote you and so much has happened. I miss staring into your pixels and bits and long until the next time you press my keys. I don't know where to begin but I think it best to cut to the chase. 'Dear John' felt like a second rate clone of 'The Notebook'. It was like the writers took the outline for 'The Notebook' and changed up the story just enough to make it 'seem' like a different work. The formula felt watered down and didn't do what it was supposed to--make me feel something...anything.

'Dear John' is based on a novel by 'Nicholas Sparks' (The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe), and stars Amanda Seyfried (Big Love, Mama Mia) and Channing Tatum (Step Up, G.I. Joe). This week’s it-girl, Seyfried got me through this movie as my eye candy; unfortunately her acting was not up to snuff. Her performance seemed to go downhill from the moment she had to emote (when she held her hands to her face after some bad news). However, I was surprised by Channing Tatum (Step Up, G.I. Joe); after G.I Joe I was expecting the worst from him but he delivered a solid performance. Technically it was a fine movie, it looked nice and was well directed.

The plot is far from uncharted territories. Rich girl falls for bad boy. Bad boy has family issues and can’t seem to see what he has in front of him until it’s too late. Plop the lead male in the military and set-it before, during and after 9/11 to give the film the its over used and waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too drawn out letter writing sub-plot. Then the drama begins, the years pass, and you guessed the rest. Well guess or have seen?? Sounds like another movie, right? Not that being unoriginal is always a bad thing (in Hollywood), if they could have just made me care about these people. Shouldn't I feel bad when the main character's love is on the rocks? Shouldn't I feel giddy and all warm inside when they are kissing for the first time and having a clichéd 'long walk on the beach'? Shouldn't I feel for a child with Autism and his single father (E.T.'s own Elliot-Henry Thomas)?? The only character I felt for was 'John's' (Channing) mentally ill dad played to the tee by the always superb Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Six Feet Under). Ill admit that the first act of the movie was pretty decent. The beginning of their relationship was natural and did have an endearing real-life feel to it. I think the movies weak sense of cadence was what inevitably lead to my disconnect with the characters. Things just happened out of the blue and without explanation--and at times, too fast. Ill file this one under 'Been there, done that...and better'.

Parental Guide:

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality and violence.

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)

Audio: 86

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

Video: 92

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

'Dear John' comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 mbps.

To all the romantic videophiles out there, have no fear as Sony delivers with its treatment of 'Dear John's' Blu-ray release. Everything just looked right. Details, black levels, colors...all were spot-on. I really could not find anything to fault with the production and transfer of the image. There was a nice bit depth and the film was sharp while still showing a small amount of film grain. The only thing keeping it from a perfect score was it was missing the secret sauce that gives it that total 'wow factor'. It's always fun putting in a Blu-ray and it looking like a 'film' but knowing it looked better on my system than most commercial theaters.

The DTS MA audio track was well mixed, prioritizing dialogue, as it should be in a film of this nature. I didn't notice much in the effect channels, even with the scenes at the beach where I would expect some wind or birds filling my room. There was not much need for the LFE track to go very low. The quick war scenes had dynamic gunfire but never dug down very deep. Those faults really are nitpicking as the track was perfectly suitable for what was on screen.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) A Conversation with Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, and Lasse Hallström

  • (HD) Alternate Ending

  • (HD) Outakes, Deleted and Alternate Scenes

  • (HD) Transforming Charleston

  • (HD) Military in Movies: Dear John's Military Advisors

  • (HD) Mr. Tyree, The Mule, and Benny Dietz

  • (HD) The Story of Braeden Reed

  • (HD) Trailers

  • movieIQ+sync

  • BD-Live Enabled

Final Thoughts:

I am usually a sap for a good romance, unfortunately 'Dear John' didn't tug on my heart-strings. It felt as if it were too busy trying to 'be all it could be', that it never felt like a complete thought. Too many unturned stones (what happened to all the mom's?), too many rushed major plot-points and overdrawn lead-ups too them. Sony's Blu-ray release sure is a great one; packed with extras like the most tear-jerking part of the release, 'The Story of Braeden Reed'. Braeden Reed is an autistic actor who plays the 6 years old Alan; it's worth a watch. Adding in top tier Audio and Video, 'Dear John' is a must have Blu-ray for fans of the film. For people who are merely interested, I believe a rental is the best choice.

Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)

Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen

Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)

Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)

SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer

17,220 Posts
I wondered about this one. It's been trailered to death. Probably skip this one unless the wife picks it up when I'm not around. Thanks for the review

1,359 Posts
Review pretty much matches the impression I got from the trailers when it appeared theatrically. Glad to hear that my gut-instinct is still spot-on! Will be just a (probably coerced) rental for me.

129 Posts
Oh, this is already on preorder for my wife. Maybe I can make some margaritas for when we view this (more for me than for her).

1,190 Posts
I concur with Lee on his final thoughts on this one. Somehow instead of focusing on Channing and Amanda's blooming romance it was more of a military thing going on. Certain scenes were somewhat stale and sad but i think overall it was an ok movie. Collecting this one based on it's score.


2,947 Posts
Well, I found this one to just be plain awkward. From the scene early on where he beats up three guys at the summer beach party to the reunion at the farm/stable house toward the end. As Lee noted, Richard Jenkins was just fantastic, as always....the rest of the acting I just couldn't get into. The story didn't flow at all, particularly in the 2nd half.

Definitely can't recommend this one

1,347 Posts
Very good review Lee, thanks! I score this one a little higher, not still not in the very good to great category.

I enjoyed it. There were some excellent natural romantic moments (mainly in the first act as mentioned), and some awkward scenes. Overall, I could see how this would make for a very good novel, but it didn't translate to the screen 100%.

I thought Channing Tatum did a fantastic job, even in the highly emotional scenes. Well done, and his father played by Richard Jenkins was very well acted also. I agree!

Amanda Seyfried was fine, but couldn't pull off the depth that her role needed. She also seemed very young for her part later in the movie.

Overall, I still enjoyed it. Worth a watch.

PQ was very nice, good detail, and some beautiful scenes. SQ was also good, with nice clear dialogue.

PQ: 4 out of 5, SQ: 4 out of 5, Film 3 out of 5


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