Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson, Adam LeFevre, Robert Hayes
Will Fetters, Nicholas Sparks (novel)
When justice is blind, it knows no fear.
Based on Nicholas Sparks' bestseller The Lucky One, Zac Efron stars alongside Taylor Schilling and Blythe Danner in this romantic drama directed by Academy Awardr-nominated writer/director Scott Hicks. U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Efron) returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive - a photograph he found of a woman he doesn't even know. Learning her name is Beth (Schilling) and where she lives, he shows up at her door, and ends up taking a job at her family-run local kennel. Despite her initial mistrust and the complications in her life, a romance develops between them, giving Logan hope that Beth could be much more than his good luck charm.
$45.033 million on 3471 screens.
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 101 min.
Release Date: 8/28/2012
• “Zac Efron Becomes a Marine” Featurette
• “Watch the Sparks Fly – The Romantic World of The Lucky One” Featurette
• “Zac and Taylor’s Amazing Chemistry” Featurette
• DVD Copy
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The Lucky One [Blu-Ray] (2012)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 3, 2012)
Like many actors before him, Zac Efron finds himself in the midst of a transition from teen idol to adult actor. Best-known for the High School Musical films, Efron attempts to move toward more mature roles with 2012’s The Lucky One.
Marine Sgt. Logan Thibault (Efron) serves three tours of duty in Iraq. After one battle, he finds a photo of an attractive blonde woman; he saves this, carries it with him and regards it as a sort of “lucky charm” that helps keep him safe.
After Logan returns to the US, he remains traumatized by his experiences and finds it hard to re-engage society. To soothe his soul, he searches for the blonde in the photo and eventually finds her: Beth Green (Taylor Schilling), the owner of a rural Louisiana pet hotel. When he starts to tell Beth why he came to her establishment, he chickens out and applies for a job instead.
Beth feels a bit leery of Logan, but her grandmother Ellie (Blythe Danner) likes him, overrules her and hires him anyway. He slowly ingratiates himself with Beth and a romance begins, though the specter of the truth behind their meeting haunts Logan. Beth’s jealous/controlling ex-husband Keith (Jay R. Ferguson) also complicates matters.
Although Lucky One places Efron in an adult part, it feels like a transitional flick for him. While he clearly plays a real grown-up here, the movie itself seems designed to appeal to his traditional crowd. Maybe there’s an audience for this kind of mushy romance outside of teen girls, but I can’t imagine there’s much of one. That leaves Lucky One as Efron’s baby steps away from his core demographic.
And unless something radical has changed my gender and/or age recently, it leaves me far away from the film’s target. That doesn’t mean it can’t work for me, however, as the best movies demonstrate appeal beyond their core crowds.
Unfortunately, Lucky One does little to expand its horizons – and I’m not sure this turgid effort will do much for dreamy teen girls, either. At 101 minutes, this isn’t a particularly long movie, but it feels like one. Not much really happens in the film, as it slowly - really slowly – displays the relationship between Logan and Beth. Along the way, it attempts to develop their personalities and interest in each other, but the material doesn’t add up to much. They always feel like bland, generic personalities who show little connection.
This means we’re stuck with a long, plodding walk toward the inevitable, as we can see the movie’s ending far in advance. Will Logan and Beth fall in love? Will she feel betrayed when she learns the truth of how he found her? Will they end up together anyway? I think any half-conscious viewer can guess the answers to those questions.
As I’ve said in other reviews, I often don’t really care if a movie has predictable story points; it’s the way it tells the tale that matters. If Lucky One managed anything clever or unusual – or even just moderately interesting – as it went, I’d be more positive about it.
Alas, everything we find comes from Weepy Romance 101. Standard characters, standard development, standard complications, standard conclusion. Perhaps they should’ve named the movie The Standard One.
It’s possible Efron possesses good dramatic talents, but you’ll not find evidence here. He bulks up for the role – no one would’ve believed the younger, almost waif-life Efron as a Marine – but he does little else to commit to the part. Efron’s not a poor actor, but he can’t bring much depth here; he always feel insubstantial and out of his league.
I’ve seen worse films than The Lucky One, but that’s what we call “faint praise”. It tells a predictable tale in a professional manner that leaves it bereft of anything unusual, compelling or emotional.
The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus D+
The Lucky One appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Overall, this was a positive image.
Virtually no softness marred the presentation. At all times, it showed nice clarity and definition; even wide shots remained distinctive. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.
In terms of palette, Lucky One went with a golden tint typical of this sort of romantic drama. Overall, the hues were fine and full. Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots boasted nice clarity. This was a solid “A-“ presentation.
Due to its handful of war sequences, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack rose above the level of most romantic dramas. This meant most of the flick’s sonic fireworks came early, though, as the majority of the battle elements popped up in the first few minutes. Those showed the guns and explosions in convincing manner, as they filled the five channels in a satisfying way.
After that, a few dramatic pieces emerged, but they were infrequent. The majority of the movie favored music and general environmental information. It provided a low-key but consistently realistic sense of place.
Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects appeared full and strong, especially during those battle shots; they packed a good punch. This wasn’t a killer soundtrack, but its strengths brought it up to “B+” level.
A few featurettes fill out the set. Zac Efron Becomes a Marine runs six minutes, 12 seconds with comments from senior military advisor Sgt. Maj. James Dever, director Scott Hicks, producers Kevin McCormick and Denise DiNovi, and actor Zac Efron. We learn about Efron’s training here. Essentially this tells us how hard Efron worked and how awesome he is. Don’t expect much more than praise here.
Watch the Sparks Fly – The Romantic World of The Lucky One goes for six minutes, 24 seconds and features Efron, Di Novi, McCormick, Hicks, author Nicholas Sparks, screenwriter Rick Fetters, and actors Blythe Danner and Taylor Schilling. We learn a little about the story and its adaptation as well as cast and locations. As with “Marine”, this one tends toward the fluffy/puffy side of the street; a few decent details emerge, but not many.
Finally, Zac and Taylor’s Amazing Chemistry occupies four minutes, 56 seconds with comments from Hicks, Efron, Danner, McCormick, Schilling, and Di Novi. As expected, this one focuses on the two lead actors. Should you anticipate much more than happy talk from a program named “Amazing Chemistry”? Nope – a short look at a screen test adds some value, but mostly this is a puff piece.
The disc opens with an ad for Rock of Ages. No trailer for Lucky One shows up here.
Finally, a separate platter offers a DVD Copy of Lucky One. This provides a standard retail disc, so it has moderate value.
As a move from teen comedy/musicals to adult drama, The Lucky One shows Zac Efron at an awkward stage. He can’t quite make the leap yet, and it doesn’t help that he’s stuck in a slow, stale flick. The Blu-ray provides excellent picture and surprisingly good audio but lacks substantial supplements. I’d recommend that you skip this dull, slow romantic drama.
Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5185 Stars
| Number of Votes: 27