(500) Days of Summer – Blu-ray Review

(500) Days_BD

This is a story about love, not a love story. This is the warning we receive at the beginning of (500) Days of Summer, as people looking for a romantic comedy type of story with the usual clichés should look elsewhere if they’re in the mood for that, or just prepare themselves for a different sort of ride. That being said, this romantic tale is masterfully done, and approaches the topic of love is such a real, honest, thought provoking way, that the viewer can’t help but relate.

The story follows Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a greetings card writer who is a hopeless romantic at heart who falls for his new fellow-employee Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). Summer is of the belief that love doesn’t exist. The story jumps back and forth over the 500 days mentioned in the title while giving us perspective into their relationship, what the two feel, and how it affects their thought process from one point in time to the next. The way this is written, and the way time moves around is done flawlessly, and really brings the viewer into the relationship, and helps them feel the rollercoaster ride of emotions that relationships are in a unique way.

Marc Webb will definitely be on the rise after his wonderful direction in this film. The shots, colours used, and overall feel of the story comes to life, and some viewers will view this as almost a mirror image of relationships of their past because of how well it is put together. The cinematography, as well as the editing all help make this movie come together in perfect harmony instead of allowing it to become another movie that had potential, but lost it along the way during production.

Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel both play off of one another perfectly, and even though Summer is viewed as the be-all-end-all of women (at least in Hansen’s eyes), their relationship never feels unbelievable.

While these types of movies are usually aimed at women, I believe Summer is a story about romance made for men. Sure, I believe women will love it, but the viewpoint of Hansen is the main perspective, and for guys who have been down his road, and have the same emotional connection, his story will speak to them in ways the usual romance movie may not.

In the end, (500) Days of Summer tells a story worth seeing, with many real, memorable moments that will make you want to see it again and again. This is without a doubt one of the best movies of 2009.

The Blu-ray transfer of <I>(500) Days of Summer</I> comes off crisp, clean and beautiful. The colours, or lack there of due to the purposeful dull colours used in certain aspects of the film shine in their own ways. The audio also comes out clear in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. There are no issues, and everything blends together in the film, unlike certain others releases that need the volume adjusted between songs and dialogue.

Commentary by Director Marc Webb, Writer Michael Weber, Writer Scott Neustadter, and Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt – This is exactly what you’d expect, and while it’d be nice to have Zooey Deschanel included in this to get all perspectives covered, it’s nice to have these three guys giving you the inside scoop along the way.

Lost Days of Summer: Deleted and Extended Scenes – Deleted scenes are pretty standard fare in extras these days, and here it’s no different. You get 9 extra scenes and you get to see a little more into the film with optional commentary. As I’ve stated before, it’s rare to see an extra scene you wished was in the movie, and most of the time you can understand why they didn’t make the cut, as the flow just feels off, or the scene just feels unnecessary.

Not a Love Story: Making ‘(500) Days of Summer – Making of features are big selling points for people who enjoy their extras, and this one doesn’t disappoint, with half an hour of behind the scenes, interviews and showing how some of the strings were pulled during this story.

Summer at Sundance – Almost 15 minutes of cameras hanging out with the cast at the (500) Days of Summer screening at the Sundance Film Festival.

Audition Tapes – Here we find the audition tapes of Geoffrey Arend and Matthew Gray Gubler, who play Tom’s friends in the film. They also come with optional commentary from director Marc Webb.

Summer Storyboards – There are two storyboards here, one being the <B>Summer Effect</B> that gives the viewer the options of just viewing the storyboards, or viewing them in a storyboard-to-film comparison, both which again come with optional commentary Marc Webb.

The second storyboard comes from one of the best scenes in the entire film, and one that I found to be exactly what happens in a guy’s head in these scenarios <B>Reality/Expectation</B> has the same options as the Summer Effect.

Bank Dance: Directed by Marc Webb – is a short, fun, quick-shot film that lasts under five minutes, and has Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel reunited (not that they likely separated, as I’d guess this was shot during filming) and tells the story of a bank heist that turns into a dance routine. All in good fun, and nice for fans to continue to see these two together.

Mean’s Cinemash: Sid and Nancy/(500) Days of Summer – If you’ve seen (500) Days of Summer then you’ll understand this reference. If you haven’t, then don’t watch this until you have. It’s another quick short featuring Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel playing the parts of a couple which Summer references to in the film.

Music Video: Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap – Not much explanation needed here.

Conversations With Zooey and Joseph– Once again, fans will eat this stuff up as this little featurette includes six topics separated by chapters.

Filmmaking Specials – Six more chapters hitting the rest of the marks with topics on casting and so forth.

For those who like their movies on the go, another big trend has been included as a digital copy can be found in this package.

For the movie alone, (500) Days of Summer gets the highest recommendation. Fans of the movie will be quite satisfied with how packed the film is with extras that should satisfy any extra knowledge they were looking for, while the film alone is one that garners repeat viewings and will likely never go stale to those who enjoy it.

20th Century Fox presents (500) Days of Summer. Directed by: Marc Webb. Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Written by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Running time: 95 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on Blu-ray: Dec. 22, 2009. Available at Amazon.com

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