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DVD Reviews


Posted April 24, 2007


"Déjà Vu" On DVD


William Kallay

Haven't we seen this kind of film before?  Or maybe it's the filmmaking style we've seen before.  "Déjà Vu," with its slick editing and quick zooms, certainly will keep those with short attention spans intrigued, but does it hold up as good entertainment? 

“Déjà Vu” is now available on DVD in a single DVD package.   

The DVD contains the feature film in widescreen (2.39:1) with a 5.1 sound mix, Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes in French and Spanish, "The Surveillance Window" documentary which allows you to go back in time to see how the film was made (clever, no?), deleted scenes, extended scenes, and sneak peeks.


The picture and sound quality ranks right up there with the best DVDs out today.  Credit should be given to Disney (under its Touchstone Home Entertainment label) for producing discs of exceptional quality.  The widescreen picture, when viewed on a 16x9 screen, is natural and shows off Paul Cameron's exceptional cinematography.  The use of zoom lenses, and director Tony Scott seems to be a fan of them, is excessive, but adds to the nature of the film.


The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is very good, with plenty of bass to work out a subwoofer, as it should.  Dialogue is clear and concise, never overrun by the music or sound effects.  The main mix plays at 448kbps, while the French and Spanish 2.0 tracks play at 192kbps.      


By listening to the commentary on the excellent "The Surveillance Window" supplement, one can admire the rationale and teamwork that goes into making a big budget movie like this.  Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott, and writers Bill Marsilii & Terry Rossio provide the commentary.  What's fun about this section is that during the commentary, and while the movie plays, live action behind-the-scenes footage fills in the blanks of how certain scenes were made.  We see how the ferry explosion was done (and who doesn't like an explosion in a Bruckheimer/Scott production?), and despite any reservations might have about Scott's often frenetic use of quick cuts and juiced cinematography, this documentary is fascinating.  It shows how much planning and work can go into a big production.

Denzel Washington is unquestionably one of the finest actors working today.  He plays Doug Carlin in this film.  No matter what film I've seen him in, Washington is always cool and often brilliant. In "Déjà Vu," he's bogged down in a purposely confusing plot.  Whether or not this is a good thing for the audience, Denzel's got it all under control.  He's always the smartest guy in the room.  He can figure out the high tech, totally expensive devices the government has, in no time at all.  One thing that is rather funny, despite Washington being thrust into a secret government facility with some pretty awesome technology, he's cool as ice.  It doesn't even faze him that he can look back in time!  Washington, rather Carlin, can chase after Jim Caviezel while crashing into cars with his tricked out Hummer, and he's barely fazed that possibly someone could've gotten killed or hurt.  Okay, I know this is an action film, but there's gotta be some logic here.   


A lot of the film takes place in a secret government facility where it is possible to look back four days into the past.  This technology is so good that camerawork is almost always in focus and well lit.  It reminded me of those old "Star Trek" episodes where the Enterprise crew could watch Kirk battle it out with aliens on the planet below.  Amazing, those hovering cameras!  Fantasy knows no rules, and "Déjà Vu" is no exception. 


This is a mystery that uses time travel in a unique way.  The technology of the surveillance device is intriguing.  What bogs this movie down, at least for me, is that too much is going on at the same time.  I was confused where it was going and I didn't have the slightest clue on who to root for.  Sure, Washington is the hero and he's trying to go back in time to save the hot looking Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton).  That's not a bad thing in a mystery.  Caviezel is quite good as the crazy terrorist, Carroll Oerstadt.  It would've been fun seeing him in more scenes.       


"You know, I'm always criticized for my visual style, because they always think it's style over content.  Style for me is always dictated by the material," director Scott says on the commentary track.

For me, many of Scott's films are almost like watching a hyperactive kid who won't settle down.  I want to tell the kid to settle down for a while.  Catch his breath.  Most of Scott's films don't slow down.  When Scott's movies work, like "Crimson Tide" (1995), his direction and style works so well.  He knows how to work with actors and can move a story along.  On films like "Déjà Vu," he resorts to quick, slick editing and fancy camerawork to disorient his audience.  Didn't "Enemy Of The State" (1998) have the same quick editing, quick zooms into an actor's face, and moody lighting as "Déjà Vu"?  Maybe not, but under the eye of director Tony Scott, who made "Enemy Of The State," it feels like we've been here before.  I say this with humor and respect to Scott, but he never met a zoom lens he didn't like.  He's been using those extremely long zoom shots since the 1980s when that camera style was in full swing.  Somehow, his visual style hasn't changed into the 21st century.  Tony Scott can be a very good director and knows how to put together a visually stunning film, but it doesn't always add up to excellent entertainment. 


The odd thing is that this film is entertaining if you don't get too wrapped up in the logic.  If you're into "CSI" or hyperactive visuals, "Déjà Vu" works.  Me, I need to take a breather.


Déjà Vu

Touchstone Home Entertainment

Catalog Number 50661

Region 1


Dolby Digital 5.1

Dolby Digital 2.0 (French and Spanish) 

DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007



DVD-9 Disc


126 minutes


Director: Tony Scott

Cast: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Adam Goldberg and Jim Caviezel


Special thanks to Mac McLean


IMAGES: © Touchstone Pictures.  All rights reserved.




Copyright 2004-2007 From Script To DVD.  All rights reserved.


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