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Digital Divide: January 2013

The Bourne Legacy
Universal
Total Recall
Sony Pictures

It’s been long lamented that most of the stuff hitting the big screen from the liberal left coast is getting more and more bereft of original ideas while sequels and remakes run amok. And honestly, there really isn’t a lot coming out to suggest otherwise.

Of course, just because a film is a sequel doesn’t make it bad or a waste of time. Remakes, however, generally seem to be an exercise in futility, especially when the original is under the age of 25 and you have no problem remembering the name of the theater in which you saw it.

On the sequel front, there’s The Bourne Legacy.

After releasing three stellar efforts and turning the franchise into a virtual license to print money, Matt Damon decided to hang the guns up and walk away. Universal was reticent, to say the least, to shut the lights off and walk away.

The solution: Not to replace Damon with another actor in the Jason Bourne role, but to create another character to reside within the world already created. As a result we get Jeremy Renner playing Aaron Cross, another secret agent who knows more than he should and has to unload a lot of ammunition against the shadowy government operatives out to get him.

The problem is it doesn’t work. Renner does what he can, but the story is convoluted, and you’re never really sure how it relates to the other films. On top of it all, the film drags for great stretches. Not good for an action film.

The Blu-ray contains a lot of special features and behind-the-scenes segments, but not really anything that will make you forget the three Bournes that came before.

While the urge to keep a franchise going with a less-than-stellar sequel is understandable, remaking a 1990 semi-classic sci-fi flick is absolutely head-scratching.

Total Recall, the Arnold Schwarzenegger version, was far from perfect, but it had enough campy Ahh-noldisms to make it one of the more revered entries in his stable.

Total Recall, the Colin Farrell version, has none of the wit or charm of the original, instead trying to up the ante by swiping key special effects from such films as I, Robot; Minority Report; and the likes to  hopefully distract you from the lack of anything substantial.

While the original was set partially on Mars, the remake never leaves Earth – a fitting metaphor for a film that never gets off the ground.

The two-disc set contains a version of the film with behind-the-scenes segments peppered throughout the movie, as well as a gag reel, commentary, and much more that turns out to be more interesting than the actual film.

Pitch Perfect
Universal

It was only a matter of time before “Glee,” and the whole unexplainable show choir fad, got the parody treatment.

Yeah, I hear you say, “But isn’t “Glee” a parody in and of itself”?

Sure, but not like Pitch Perfect.

With Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air) as an outsider who joins her college show choir group to get her father off her back so he’ll stop bugging her about her lack of social skills, Pitch Perfect wants to attain the same comedic cache as Christopher Guest’s Best In Show and Waiting For Guffman. While it comes close, it lacks the irreverence that made those two the classics they are.

That’s not saying it’s a pale imitation.  PP has charms of its own, with Kendrick giving a wonderful performance, and Rebel Wilson stealing the film as the loudmouth “Fat Amy”.

The disc comes with over a half hour of deleted, extended, and alternate scenes.  Aside from that, the two commentary tracks are about the only features that will be of much interest.

— Timothy Hiatt

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