The Upside Blu-ray Review

A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who’s hired to help him. Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of The Upside.

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

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

89

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Genre: Comedy/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman
Directed by: Neil Burger
Music by: Rob Simonsen
Written by: Jon Hartmere – Based on the film “The Intouchables”
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: May 21, 2019

“Based on a True Story”

Synopsis:

“Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston pair up to tell the inspirational true story of a genuine and unique friendship about a discouraged out-of-work ex-con and a wealthy quadriplegic
who unexpectedly come together and help each other bring back their zest for life.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

My Take:

In The Upside recently paroled ex-convict, Dell Scott (Hart) strikes up an unusual and unlikely friendship with his new employer, a quadriplegic billionaire, Phillip Lacasse (Cranston). From worlds apart, Dell and Phillip form an unlikely bond, bridging their differences and gaining invaluable wisdom in the process, giving each man a renewed sense of passion for all of life’s possibilities.

Based on the French film The Intouchables which was inspired by a true story, The Upside is an unnecessary remake that while certainly not a bad film, pales in comparison to the original on nearly every level. The script lacks the character depth and enriching bond established between the principal characters as it strives to borrow what is purportedly the best moments from the original. What happens is that it leaves the heartwarming melody contained in the wonderful subtext found in the original and substitutes one note humor, cliched characterizations and forced drama that doesn’t work.

In addition to that, changes made to the story remove several key characters/relationships, folding three of them into the one played by Nicole Kidman, while adding one very specific and overtly dramatic encounter that derailed an important component that derailed the original film’s beautifully handled romantic element. All the things that made “The Intouchables” so moving, funny and endearing are missing from The Upside. I have no problem with the performances by Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. Nicole Kidman’s talents were completely wasted though.

As my wife and I watched we were both taken out of the film due to the poor handling of an already wonderful story about two very different men who would come to find one another and form a bond of friendship that would last forever. The Upside as a standalone comedy/drama isn’t terrible, especially if you enjoy Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston but, as a remake of one of my all-time favorite films, it’s a complete and utter misfire that would have been better off not being made.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for suggestive content and drug use.

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.**

Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

The Upside comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

High definition detail is notable as images are firmly resolved, with defining sharpness and dimensional depth. Colors are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation tonal warmth and vibrant textures. Fleshtones appear descriptive with discernible complexional variety that brings out the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast. Blacks are a solid shade of deep black with excellent dynamic range and discernible highlights. Contrast is well balanced which enriches both light and dark onscreen elements.

The lossless soundtrack doesn’t consistently engage the entire surround platform however it has moments where it comes to life and reproduces the source elements with aplomb. Dialog has definitive presence with refined vocal character and excellent room penetration. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. This soundtrack isn’t demonstration worthy but for a comedy it readily delivers a satisfying listening experience that didn’t leave me disappointed.

Bonus Features:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Onscreen Chemistry: Kevin and Bryan
  • Creating a Story of Possibility
  • Bridging Divisions
  • Embracing Positivity
  • Presenting a Different Side of Kevin Hart
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Based on the French film “The Intouchables” which is inspired by a true story The Upside is a misfire that fails to capture the heart and soul of the original. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video and a worthwhile supplemental package. The Upside is worth seeing, especially for fans of its two stars but, if you’re interested in a film that captures the essence of the friendship between the two men depicted in its story “The Intouchables” is truly wonderful.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems 

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