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

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

82






Studio and Year: Summit Entertainment - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 91 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Mel Gibson, Anton Yelchin, Jodie Foster, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by: Jodie Foster
Music by: Marcel Zarvos
Written by: Kyle Killen
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 23, 2011







"He's here to save Walter's life"



Film Synopsis:


Walter, once a successful and happy family man, has hit rock bottom. But, in his darkest hour, he finds a rather unusual savior: a beaver hand-puppet that takes over Walter's life in an attempt to change things for the better.



My Take:


The Beaver is an emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life. Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from severe depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can't seem to get himself back on track...until The Beaver, a hand puppet, enters his life.

The plotline primarily revolves around Walter, a man who somewhere along the line finds that the important things in his life have lost meaning. As he stands perched on the precipice of depression induced self destruction Walter develops an alternate personality represented by a beaver hand puppet through which he now communicates. The Beaver helps him recover and begin to reestablishes his relationships both at home and work. There is an integral subplot involving Walter's teenage son Porter, who struggles with feelings of resentment toward his father (for the familial issues resulting from his illness) while trying to find balance in the ungratifying social environment at school. Porter finds warmth in his new found relationship with Norah, the class valedictorian, who is struggling with a difficult personal loss. Walter and Porter exist on different planes however there is a parallel that binds them. Each will find that in truth the answers required to heal them can be found in the strength of the familial bonds that they have both taken for granted.

This is an interesting film. Depending on your outlook this could easily be dismissed as an attempt at dark comedy that completely misses the mark. Looking at little closer the narrative walks a fine between absurdity and tragic relevancy relative to the tone of the subject matter. I think that screenwriter Kyle Killen and director Jodie Foster successfully convey a sense of irony via wonderfully interwoven humor and character derived interplay. I have to admit that I found the film's approach relative to the serious subject of mental illness to be refreshing. By design it isn't overtly humorous but it's easy to detect and plays well against the elements of drama that it underlines. Mel Gibson's terrific performance anchors the ensemble cast that features solid turns from Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence and my girl Jodie Foster who is equally adept on both sides of the camera. I found The Beaver to be rewardingly bizarre in its compassionate and sometimes funny portrayal of the complexities and difficulties faced by those with mental illness and their families.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for mature thematic material, some disturbing content, sexuality and language including a drug reference.





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: 78


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 86


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

The Beaver comes to Blu-ray from Summit Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.

This a solid video presentation that offers excellent refinement during close ups and discernibly crisp definition within objects during mid level camera pans. The color range sets the film's thematic tone and has a reserved aesthetic that rarely offers bright, eye catching hues. Rendering is clean and depth is appropriate. Fleshtones keep pace with the look of the rest of the film and have a balmy but natural texture. Spot on contrast yielded crisp, bright whites and blacks were stable but slightly elevated which leaves them appearing less dynamic and occasionally flat. I didn't see this as a problem based upon the visual style of the film. I saw no overt signs of video related artifacts or anomalies.

The lossless audio soundtrack capably renders the recording's elements and sounds fine. High level detail provides plenty of depth and audible texture to voices. Subtle background effects within the listening area are clearly audible as well. Being a film driven predominantly by dialogue doesn't afford this mix a lot of opportunities for involving surround sound. Its use is primarily to provide subtle atmospherics and spatial enhancement for the music score. Dynamic range is limited but appropriate for the source material.



Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with director Jodie Foster

  • (HD) 2 deleted scenes with optional director commentary

  • (HD) Everything is going to be ok: Making of The Beaver - 12 minute featurette





Final Thoughts:


The Beaver is a somewhat bizarre albeit refreshing expose on the complexities and difficulties faced by those with mental illness and its effects on their families. It's wonderfully balanced script contains enriching elements of drama and humor that are accented by the well placed cast and Jodie Foster's apt direction. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Summit Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition audio/video and a complimentary offering of bonus supplements. The Beaver may not be everyone's cup of tea but I think it is well worth checking out. Toss it in your rental queue and see for yourself.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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I actually found this film a little boring for the first 20 mins, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It ended up being pretty intense, particularly with regard to the family dynamics and the impact that Walter's issue has on the various relationships. I thought it was pretty well acted, and once it gets going it evolves into a pretty interesting film.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa
I actually found this film a little boring for the first 20 mins, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It ended up being pretty intense, particularly with regard to the family dynamics and the impact that Walter's issue has on the various relationships. I thought it was pretty well acted, and once it gets going it evolves into a pretty interesting film.
will have to give it a go.
 

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Total box-office disaster, and an obvious difficult sale. However, I will likely rent it. Gibson is an interesting person, and has some fine qualities along with some horrible demons. I hope he slays the latter completely. Meanwhile, Jodie Foster is also an intriguing mix, and she is bold in her choices. This one is at least interesting to me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAM4UK /forum/post/20846687


Total box-office disaster, and an obvious difficult sale. However, I will likely rent it. Gibson is an interesting person, and has some fine qualities along with some horrible demons. I hope he slays the latter completely. Meanwhile, Jodie Foster is also an intriguing mix, and she is bold in her choices. This one is at least interesting to me.

I really paid attention to Gibson in this film, cause it's the first time I've seen him on screen since his most recent "episode" with his girlfriend. Anyway, he's always been one of my favorite actors, and I have typically enjoyed his films, but what I've realized is that he's a very weak character actor. What I mean by that is his mannerisms, gestures, etc are nearly the same in every film. He portrays emotions very similarly across the board.


As opposed to someone like a Paul Giamatti or Phillip Seymour Hoffman, or even a younger actor like a Joseph Gordon Levitt, all three of whom I consider some of the best character actors on screen today. Each of them can immerse themselves into the intricacies and nuances of the characters they are portraying. Hoffman, DeNiro, Javier Bardem, Sean Penn, and even someone like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise (very underrated character actor)...all great actors who can disappear from our minds and completely take on a role. Gibson just is not in this group - not even close, IMO. And that's not to say I like him any less, it's just something I've noticed about him.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSmith83 /forum/post/20848476


I have never seen Ms. Foster's Beaver, but it certainly sounds fascinating enough to give a chance.

Excellent!
 

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Day 1 purchase. Unlike an earlier post, I feel Gibson is the one person who can immerse himself in a role such as this. Who could play crazy better than Mel? It's short list.
 

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I view this a some sort of lame redemption attempt by Gibson for his past anti-semitic rant as well as the alleged violence / phone madness issue .. which included additional non-forgivable racist language ..


Until these issues surfaced, I really liked Gibson, all the way back from "Mad Max" ..


Although I know his personal behavior has no bearing on his work, In vino veritas ... “in wine [there is the] truth".


Thus, no Beaver for me ..


However, I would like to thank Ralph for another review ..
 

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I followed this one since I first saw its preview quite a while back, and was disappointed to see that it was not released at a single theater in the Denver area. I streamed it through Zune on Xbox on its DVD release day.


Very pleased with it, takes on a much darker visage than I had anticipated, which is required to convey the struggles of mental illness and to bring a more appropriate resolution to the film.


I know it was boycotted due to Mel Gibson, but he really sells Walter.

Even without ever getting into the acting of it, he LOOKS the role. Gibson has a very melancholy face.
 

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Casting Gibson in a role of a person with mental issues is very apropos. Foster's director projects are usually off the beaten path and this film seems in keeping with her modus operandi. Wasn't planning on renting this until I read Ralph's review but I'm still debating whether I will or not.
 

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This is an odd one for sure and one I was on the fence as far as renting. But I have not been doing real well as far as getting the titles I want from netflix so I guess I will be watching this soon enough since it is on the way to me now.
 
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