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Jon M. Chu
Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Dave Franco
Writing Credits:
Ed Solomon

The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
English Descriptive Audio
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 129 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 9/6/2016

• Audio Commentary with Director Jon M. Chu
• “The Art of the Ensemble” Featurette
• “You Can’t Look Away” Featurette
• “Bringing Magic to Life” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Now You See Me 2 [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 4, 2016)

A quiet hit, 2013’s Now You See Me didn’t blow the doors off box offices, but it turned as decent profit. With a worldwide take of $351 million and a $75 million budget, the flick made money – and spawned a 2016 sequel, the less-than-creatively titled Now You See Me 2.

See Me 2 picks up about a year after the original film and reintroduces notorious magicians “The Four Horsemen”. They emerge from hiding when ringleader Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) reunites them for a new task.

This brings back three of the original Horsemen: Daniel J. Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco). Original member Henley Reeves left the group, so illusionist Lula May (Lizzy Caplan) adopts the role as the “girl Horseman”.

Along with Dylan – who remains undercover in his job as FBI agent – the Horsemen seek to infiltrate the operation of young technological magnate Owen Case (Ben Lamb), the leader of a company whose new device will steal users’ private info. This leads the Horsemen down many unforeseen avenues.

When I saw the first movie, I thought it offered a fun ride – for a while, at least. The opening half of Now You See Me stretched credulity but gave us a lively, exciting tale that provided good entertainment.

Unfortunately, the film’s second half went downhill. Now You See Me became bogged down in a morass of plot points that made it too sluggish and less enjoyable.

I hoped that the sequel would accentuate the original’s positives and minimize its negatives, but that doesn’t prove to be the case. Instead, the opposite becomes true, as See Me 2 tends to meander and focus too much on plot twists/gimmicks without much substance at its core.

That was an issue with the first movie, but at least the original flick enjoyed an organic reason to exist. While it relied too heavily on surprises and curveballs, it did manage to feel like something inventive.

With See Me 2, however, we get little more than a piece of product that seeks to replicate the original’s thrills while it fails to exert much effort. It barely even attempts coherence, as it loops us through one “magical” sequence after another, few of which provide the excitement the first flick occasionally mustered.

Part of the problem comes from the lack of believability. Sure, the original movie stretched – and occasionally snapped – credulity, but the sequel barely bothers with realism. It works so hard to “dazzle” us with the characters’ antics that the results flop – they seem so over the top that they turn us off more than anything else.

Make no mistake: See Me 2 delivers a frantic effort. With pulsing music and always moving camerawork, the film never gives the viewer a break. It assaults the audience without a satisfying payoff.

All of this wastes a great cast, though I can’t claim the actors seem especially invested in their roles. Perhaps they realized they served as little more than pawns from the hyperactive set pieces, but they appear less than involved in their roles.

And if the actors don’t care about what happens, why should we? Every once in a while, Now You See Me 2 threatens to entertain, but its aggressive approach to the material and absence of logical storytelling make it touch to watch. By the end, you’ll feel more pummeled than delighted.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus C+

Now You See Me 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. From start to finish, the image looked great.

Sharpness excelled. Little to no softness materialized, so this left us with a tight, precise presentation. The movie lacked shimmering or jaggies, and I witnessed no edge haloes or print flaws.

Like so many other modern flicks, See Me 2 presented a heavy teal orientation, along with splashes of orange. As tedious as that choice may be, the Blu-ray reproduced the hues in a satisfying manner. Blacks appeared tight and dark, while shadows seemed smooth and clear. The transfer worked very well.

I also felt highly pleased with the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 on my system, the soundscape created a broad, involving soundscape. The magic/action scenes fared best, as those used the channels in a compelling manner. This meant elements that zipped around the room and formed a lively setting at all times.

Audio quality appeared positive. Music was bold and vivid, while effects came across as accurate and dynamic, with terrific low-end response. Speech seemed natural and concise. An active, involving mix, the track added to the film.

As we move to extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Jon M. Chu. He presents a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, cast and performances, music and editing, sets and locations, magic, stunts and action, and various effects.

Chu provides a fairly average commentary. On the positive side, he manages to give us a generally good array of insights related to the film. However, Chu delivers too much praise for all involved, and that side of things turns this into an inconsistent chat.

Three featurettes follow. The Art of the Ensemble runs 21 minutes, 11 seconds and offers comments from Chu, producer Bobby Cohen, chief magic and mentalism consultant, screenwriter Ed Solomon, and actors Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Sanaa Lathan, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Dave Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. “Art” looks at cast, characters and performances. We learn how great everyone was and how much fun they had. Don’t expect much real information.

You Can’t Look Away goes for 17 minutes, 15 seconds and provides notes from Chu, Franco, Radcliffe, Caplan, Eisenberg, Cohen, cinematographer Peter Deming, production designer Sharon Seymour, makeup/hair designer Frances Hannon, visual effects supervisor Matt Johnson, art director Stuart Kearns and actor David Warshofsky. “Away” examines sets, locations and visual design, costumes/makeup and photography. “Away” offers a little more substance than “Art” but it remains fluffy.

Finally, we get the 16-minute, nine-second Bringing Magic to Life. It involves Harrelson, Radcliffe, Freeman, Chu, Deming, Solomon, Cohen, Seymour, Eisenberg, Barry, Ruffalo, Franco, Caplan, Johnson, and co-producer David Copperfield “Life” views the movie’s magic scenes and the actors’ training. Like “Away”, this one offers a few insights but it tends to be superficial.

The disc opens with ads for Deepwater Horizon, Nerve, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, The Last Witch Hunter and the “Hunger Games Collection”.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of See Me 2. It includes the commentary and “You Can’t Look Away” but lacks the other featurettes.

After an inconsistent but fairly fun first film, Now You See Me 2 fizzles. It tries too hard to recreate its predecessor’s magic and turns into a dull imitation. The Blu-ray presents excellent picture and audio as well as a decent set of supplements. The sequel doesn’t live up to its predecessor.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.25 Stars Number of Votes: 12
5 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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