Choices in life are often made on a whim and without much thought. These choices are made so spontaneously because if people actually sat back and thought about them for too long, then they’d probably listen to reason and not make them. It may cost too much; maybe the repercussions of what could happen are too great. In the long run, the choices we make on the fly probably won’t end up benefiting us as much as they did when we initially made them. People are going to always ask why we made those choices and we’ll have reasons for them, but they probably won’t make much sense especially if the outcome doesn’t show any advantages for anyone. Sometimes, though, we have our own reasons for the paths we choose and realize that not only are the reasons helping us make the right choice, but the only choice.
Ben Thomas (Will Smith) works for the Internal Revenue Service – and obviously isn’t on top of anyone’s list for upcoming parties. Soon he will change the lives of seven other people without angering them with numbers and money. A traumatic event has turned his life upside-down and affected him deep within his soul and he must now try to make up for his part in that event by helping seven people. Ben comes across many people in his life, but knows that they all must be special and just the right ones in order for Ben’s guilt to even begin to subside. Along his way his path crosses that of a blind man (as played by Woody Harrelson), a young mother, and a woman with heart problems (Rosario Dawson), who he becomes closer to then he ever imagined. Help is there for Ben Thomas in the form of people that know and love him, but even though his life was altered in a huge way recently, it’s about to all change again.
Seven Pounds is a lot deeper than what the above summary implies, but I am attempting not to give away too much. Roger Ebert wrote in his review of the theatrical release that even the trailers had done a great job of not revealing too much or letting on to more then the simple facts of what would go down in the film. He is one hundred percent right on that note. It’s not going for the same type of twist that came with The Sixth Sense; but Seven Pounds has plenty that could be ruined by a poorly edited trailer or by a friend that talks way too much. Just make sure that you have time set aside to watch this film and devote your attention entirely to it. It’s not confusing, but it deserves full focus so that you can get the entire message delivered to you.
You’re going to want to pay attention to the story and not the oversaturated amount of big-name talent – ahem, Will Smith – that litters the credits. I mean just take a few names and you’re sure to find someone that recognizes all of them. Woody Harrelson. Will Smith. Rosario Dawson. Barry Pepper. But it’s not all about them. It is not about who acts better or who was right for the role because the filmmakers could have honestly filled up every single role with a no name and gotten the same effect. All the roles that is, except for Smith in the shoes of Ben Thomas. Smith has come such a long way from being the hip-hop singer or dressing funky on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air and has since become one of the top names that can play any part you put in front of him. His sincerity and ability to act so torn and distraught makes you feel for him and want to take it all away, but it’s only fictional.
Seven Pounds is something you’ll have to be prepared for, because it is going to tug at your heart strings. It’s going to shock you, it’s going to make you cry, and it is going to make you think more about your life and everything you do with it. Not that is a life-changing event or anything, but it’s going to stick with you and make you truly think about what life has in store for all of us. At times the Hollywood aspect really shines through making parts of the film almost annoying, but they are few and far between so you’re able to not get too pissed off. Prepare for some life lessons that will have your mind working in high gear, but not enough to stick around for overtime pay.
Seven Pounds is shown in 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and it is absolutely gorgeous from moment one to the end. All colors are crisp and bright without anything ever being overshadowed or looking grainy.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and all comes through fine although the surrounding speakers are not used to their full capacity, but they don’t need to be. Seven Pounds is a film full of dialogue and soft musical score that keeps the somber mood throughout and never really needs to be over the top or too loud.
Audio Commentary – Director Gabrielle Muccino is flying solo for this commentary track and it may be a little too much to bear at times simply because his accent makes it somewhat difficult to understand everything he is saying at times. Not all is totally inaudible though and he makes some good points about the story and how it is meant to come across to viewers. Other times he touches on working with the different members of the cast and filming locations and such. Kind of basic but well worth checking out.
Deleted Scenes – There are four deleted scenes and nothing that would have really changed much had they been left in the film.
Seven Views On Seven Pounds – This is an in-depth and informative “making of” look at the film and it is split into seven parts that can be watched individually or all together. They include: “The Writer,” “The Producers,” “The Director,” “The Location Manager,” “The Designer,” “The Editor,” and “The Composer.” All of these segments are rather short but give a nice view of those involved with the different parts of the film to make it all come together as a whole. (27:25)
Creating The Perfect Ensemble – Casting director Denise Chamian and director Gabrielle Muccino give their thoughts on ho they chose particular actors for each role. The main roles are dissected one by one as clips are shown involving them and then the different actors share their feelings on their characters. (12:56)
The Box Jellyfish: World’s Deadliest Co-Star – Director of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Mike Schaadt gives a small history of the box jellyfish and exactly how dangerous they can be. It’s rather light-hearted and extremely technical at times, but Schaadt points out just how deadly the creatures can be and the ways stings can be treated. (4:58)
Emily’s Passion: The Art Of The Printing Press – An inside look at Emily’s profession in the film. To prepare for her role as Emily, Rosario Dawson went to a museum showcasing the entire history of printing and printing presses. It’s nothing too exciting, but it really is a very informative look at printing presses as we are given a short history on them. (8:44)
Trailers – I’ve Loved You So Long, Passengers, Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway, The Da Vinci Code, Damages: Season 1, Hancock, The Pursuit of Happyness, Hitch, Men in Black, and Lakeview Terrace
Seven Pounds is a really good film that suffers from being Hollywood-ized. All it had to do was rely solely on the story and it would have been phenomenal. You’re going to tear up, bawl, feel anger, feel sorrow, be confused, be enlightened, and so much more over the course of two hours, but I fear it is not something you’ll want to watch repeatedly because who wants to feel so many damn emotions at once over and over again? Still, this needs to find an audience on home video. With about an hour of pretty good special features (not including the commentary) and excellent production values for this Blu-ray release, Seven Pounds can be seen either way. So give it the attention it deserves.
Sony Pictures presents Seven Pounds. Directed by: Gabrielle Muccino. Starring: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Michael Ealy, Barry Pepper, Woody Harrelson. Written by: Grant Nieport. Running time: 123 minutes on 2 discs. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: March 31, 2009. Available at Amazon.com