Blu-ray Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World on Blogcritics.
Every once in a while, somebody does something right — and manages to make a highly enjoyable movie. Naturally, said flick goes largely unnoticed by the populace; an act of negligence that only makes this less-than-perfect world even inferior — and which should condemn them all to be doomed in my book. Coincidentally, Lorene Scafaria’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is about a less-than-perfect world’s final days, wherein the Earth and all its inhabitants are about to be destroyed by an oncoming asteroid. But this isn’t your average Roland Emmerich atrocity, folks: this one’s actually a love story, completely devoid of such burdening contemporary cinematic elements like shallow characters, bad acting, and excessive amounts of CGI.
And let’s face it: when would there be a better time for us all to at long last find that one true love we’ve been waiting all our lives for? Ms. Scafaria creates a tale that is the epitome of irony to say the very least; simultaneously crafting a beautiful romance between two extremely unlikely protagonists. Steve Carell takes the lead as Dodge, a boring everyday fellow whose life has been so uninteresting up to this point in time that he has never even noticed. Opposite Mr. Carell is Keira Knightley as Penny: a younger, carefree connoisseur of good music who only wants to see her family for one last time before the second big bang occurs, while Dodge is determined to meet up with his high school sweetheart.
And thus, the two set out to escape from the city to fulfill their last wishes, which an otherwise unfair world has apparently deemed fit to grant them. Along the way, naturally, a bond between this Yin-Yang gang is developed, as the two face their own fears and uncertainties of both the past and present. Also appearing in this delightful apocalyptic fable of romance is Adam Brody, William Petersen, Patton Oswalt, Rob Corddry, Melanie Lynskey, Connie Britton, and Martin Sheen as Carell’s estranged father. Writer/director Scafaria — who also penned Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist — once more adds her own personal (groovy) taste in music by adding icing to the cake in the aural form of The Hollies, The Walker Brothers, INXS, Wang Chung, and Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment, under their Focus Features banner, brings Seeking a Friend for the End of the World to Blu-ray in a dazzling MPEG-4/AVC transfer wherein this potential cult classic is presented in a 2.35:1 display that shows off the A/V aspects of the film to its fullest. Though the subject matter is as gloomy as the notion of your pets taking you in to get fixed, the movie is nevertheless a bright and visually happy one, with vibrant colors, fine detail, and strong contrast all around. A decidedly restrained DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack accompanies, and delivers an aesthetically-pleasing mix with its understated use of sound effects and the dynamic selection of songs.
Special features for this release include two featurettes. One focuses on what the film’s cast and crew would choose to listen to for the end of the world, while the other is purely promotion filler stuff. Finally, there are eight-and-a-half minutes worth of outtakes here, and an audio commentary featuring writer/director Lorene Scafaria, producer Joy Gorman, and supporting performers Adam Brody and Patton Oswalt is also here, and is a good listen. Oddly enough, the commentary also includes the director’s own mum, Gail Scafaria. One wouldn’t normally think to include their mother in an audio commentary but, hey, we gotta give credit where credit’s due, right?
And so I extend a great big hearty “Thank you!” to Mrs. Scafaria, for producing Ms. Scafaria, who has — in turn — given us Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.