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Universal Studios Home Entertainment
4K UHD Released: 4/16/2019
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/17/2019
When you make a mistake at work, who knows about it? You? Your boss? Maybe another co-worker? Unless you’ve killed someone or lost millions of dollars, it typically isn’t public knowledge. But, if you have a job such as movie director, and you flub up, millions of individuals are going to see it. Show business, like sports and politics, is one of those few jobs where a drop in quality or a flat-out meltdown will be on display for all to see. And when we look at the career of M. Night Shyamalan, we can easily track the sharp decline of his output over the years. Will his latest offering, Glass, take him back to his former glory?
Glass is a direct sequel to 2016’s Split, while also tying in 2000’s Unbreakable. Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a man who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder and has a host of personalities which are collectively known as “The Hoard”, is still on the loose in Philadelphia. No longer headquartered in the city zoo, he’s taken up residence in an old factory, where he’s holding four girls hostage. Meanwhile, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), an urban vigilante who has super-strength and is impervious to injuries, is, with the help of his son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), patrolling the streets looking for Kevin. The two eventually meet and their brawl brings in local law enforcement, who apprehends both men, taking them to a mental hospital. There, they meet Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), a clinician who specializes in working with people who think that they are super-beings. She has been waiting for Kevin and David and has constructed special rooms for them. And, she can’t wait to introduce them to her other patient, Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), the super-villain who is obsessed with super heroes.
We have talked a lot in the past about belated sequels, and with Glass coming some 19 years after Unbreakable, it certainly qualifies as belated. However, this entry has the distinction of also being a sequel to a more recent film, Split. After years of discussion about a sequel to Unbreakable, Shyamalan blew people’s mind when David Dunn appeared during the final scene of Split, making it one of his best twists in years. Sure, there was probably a percentage of the audience who had no idea why Bruce Willis was there, but for fans of Unbreakable, the thought of finally getting a continuation to the story was thrilling, if, for no other reason, that David’s story had basically just begun as that movie ended. Even with these expectations, Shyamalan had some leeway in creating a new movie, as fans were simply eager to get something. Therefore, it’s surprising just how badly he blew it, as Glass is disappointing on just about every level.
But, before we go down that path, let’s give credit where credit is due. There are few other modern directors who understand the importance of color in the way that Shyamalan does. He first demonstrated this with the use of red in The Sixth Sense, and then took it to a new level in Unbreakable, making green David’s signature color, while Elijah was purple. This kind of visual shorthand may not be a new thing, but Shyamalan shows a true appreciation for it, and this continues in Glass, as Kevin is assigned yellow as his tone.
Outside of that, Shyamalan proves that he has joined the ranks of directors like Zack Snyder who have great visuals, but aren’t good storytellers, as the rest of the film is a mess. Even taking the deleted scenes included here in to consideration, it feels like huge chunks of the story are missing, as things just happen. Logic has no place in the film, as Raven Hill hospital apparently only has one employee. Shyamalan is known for his twist endings, but the finale here doesn’t work at all, and even when you take it into consideration, it doesn’t explain some of elements from the second act. Willis and Jackson are truly wasted here, as Elijah is catatonic for most of the film, and Willis takes underacting to a new extreme. McAvoy makes up for this by chewing the scenery relentlessly, brining 100% to all of Kevin’s personalities. And adding insult to injury, the ending is probably the most unsatisfying conclusion that the film could have.
Unbreakable remains a modern masterpiece of restraint, a slow-burn action movie where the payoff is actually worth it. Again, fans of that film have been waiting nearly 20 years to see what happened next. It should not have been this. Glass had so much potential and could have easily worked as more of a detective or “cat-and-mouse” film. Instead, Shyamalan has decided to lock the characters not only in a mental hospital, but in a script which is full of bad decisions. As Glass was a hit, maybe it will truly go the comic book route and reboot these characters into a better movie.
Glass honestly has no idea how mental hospitals work on 4K UHD courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has bene letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an HEVC 2160p transfer which runs at an average of 70 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no defects from the source materials and no notable grain. The colors, which are very important, look fantastic, as we can detect subtle changes in the hues, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth works quite well, and the image has an overall crispness which is impressive. The Disc carries a Dolby Atmos audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.7 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The scenes in the hospital provide nicely place stereo and surround effects, which provide a good impression of sounds coming from offscreen. The finale delivers some good subwoofer effects which add emphasis to the carnage.
The Glass 4K UHD contains a large assortment of extra features. We start with twelve DELETED SCENES which run about 14 minutes and can be viewed with introductions by Shyamalan. These are all brief and don’t introduce any new characters or subplots. Along with this, there is an “Alternate Opening” (2 minutes) which would have only spoiled some scenes which came later. “The Collection of Main Characters” (9 minutes) offers examinations of “David Dunn”, “Elijah Pierce”, “Kevin Wendell Crumb”, and “The Rest of the Family” in separate sections. “A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan” (5 minutes) offers a chat between the actor and the filmmaker. “Bringing the Team Back Together” (3 minutes) offers a look at the feeling on-set when people who have worked together in the past re-unite. “David Dunn Vs. The Beast’ (2 minutes) takes us on-location for the finale, including some over-statements from the producers. “Glass Decoded” (3 minutes) has Shyamalan explaining the visual connections between the three films in trilogy. “Breaking Glass: The Stunts” (1 minute) examines the physical nature of the film. Shyamalan and the cast give an overview of the films in “Connecting the Glass Universe” (3 minutes). “M. Night Shyamalan: Behind the Lens” (3 minutes) has the cast praising the director. “The Sound of Glass” (2 minutes) has Composer West Dylan Thordson discussing the music. “Enhancing the Spectacle” (3 minutes) reveals where visual effects were used in the film. We see the abandoned hospital used for the set in “Raven Hill Memorial” (2 minutes). “Night Vision” (2 minutes) has Storyboard Artist Brick Mason (is that a real name?) and others discussing Shyamalan’s visual style.
Review Copyright 2019 by Mike Long