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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Forgotten (2004)

"You remembered her before this. Everybody remembered our children and then something happened in the last weeks, or days, I don't know. But our children have been forgotten!"
- Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore)

Review By: Nate Meyers   
Published: January 18, 2005

Stars: Julianne Moore, Dominic West
Other Stars: Gary Sinise, Anthony Edwards, Alfre Woodard, Linus Roache, Christopher Kovaleski, Matthew Pleszewicz, Jessica Hecht, Tim Kang
Director: Joseph Ruben

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense thematic material, some violence, brief language
Run Time: 01h:31m:02s (theatrical); 01h:34m:15s (extended)
Release Date: January 18, 2005
UPC: 043396100787
Genre: suspense thriller


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B DA-C+ B

DVD Review

I love a good thriller. It doesn't need to have a perfectly logical plot, it can have some serendipitous occurrences, and it can even have one of those illogical last minute twists that make absolutely no sense but at least you didn't see it coming. As long as it's somewhat plausible and well made, I'll give it a nod for the entertainment value. Now, admittedly those aren't the highest of standards, so you can probably imagine just how bad The Forgotten is in my mind.

The movie seems to begin in what would ordinarily be the second act of a story. Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) lost her son in a plane crash 14 months ago. Her therapist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise), and husband, Jim (Anthony Edwards), support her through the grieving process, but something is off. Soon the photos that once included her little boy are just Telly and Jim posing lovingly with one another. Dr. Munce and Jim tell her that she never actually had a son and that she has created an alternate life. Is Telly crazy, or is there something sinister at work here? This is supposed to be a point of mystery early in the movie, but it's obvious that our heroine is not going to be delusional.

In desperation, Telly encounters Ash (Dominic West), an ex-hockey player who also lost a child in the plane crash, and hopes he'll support her story. At first he maintains that he never had a child, but through some unexplained phenomenon he remembers his daughter and helps Telly escape the authorities. Speaking of which, the disappearance of these children must be a fairly big deal because federal agents are after Telly and Ash for some unspoken reason. That's as much as I'm going to tell you about the plot because the rest of it is supposed to be a surprise. The final third of the movie is so preposterous that I would love to rant and rave about it, but I shall restrain myself merely out of politeness for those who want to see the movie—and those who made it.

What's most aggravating about The Forgotten is how it puts a lot of talent to waste. The director, Joseph Ruben (who made the dreadful Sleeping with the Enemy), creates a nice look to the film, with technically proficient cinematography, stunts, and visual effects. At times the use of hand-held cameras is uncalled for, but otherwise the style is quite fitting (though it screams "David Fincher wannabe"). Actually, apart from the appallingly repetitive score by James Horner (which, if I'm not mistaken, is nothing more than one brief theme repeated for about 95% of the running time), there isn't anything from the production's technical standpoint I can complain about.

Rather, it's how Gerald DiPego's script fails to develop any interesting characters or an interesting story that makes me want to pull my hair out. To be sure, some of the ideas are interesting, but they aren't explored and thus feel out of place. The final plot twist is actually self-defeating because it raises the stakes so high that Telly's search for her son seems fairly insignificant. The Forgotten also features a fantastic cast that's put to no good use. Gary Sinise is always watchable, I just wish I could say the same about the movies he's been making as of late. Even Julianne Moore, who is normally a reliably good reason to see a film, can't elevate the material she's given.

I wish I could say that the extended cut of the movie included on this DVD helps to alleviate some of the script's plot holes, but it doesn't. The alternate ending is not at all significantly different from the original. Apart from an additional scene between Ash and Telly, the new material contributes nothing fresh to the story. Perhaps that's because there really was nothing there to begin with.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic 1.85:1 RSDL transfer looks awfully nice. There's a bit of noise in a few scenes, particularly at Ash's cabin, but otherwise it looks close to perfect. The extended version's added scenes don't look quite as good, but still are passable. Detail is strong and blacks look mostly solid, plus there's a decent amount of depth helping to create a film-like look. A nice job.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, French, Thaiyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is active, but not show-offy. The musical score permeates from both the left and right main speakers, as well as the surrounds. Sound effects and ambience come across cleanly and helped a lot in making me jump toward the end of the movie. Dialogue is well balanced, making this an easy listen. There also are French and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes available.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Chinese, English, French, Korean, Thai with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
9 Other Trailer(s) featuring Hitch: The Cure for the Common Man, House of Flying Daggers, Are We There Yet?, Guess Who, The Grudge, Spanglish, Little Black Book, Boogeyman, The Fifth Element: Ultimate Edition
1 TV Spots/Teasers
3 Deleted Scenes
1 Alternate Endings
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Gerald DiPego, Joseph Ruben
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:16m:52s

Extra Extras:
  1. Extended Cut With an Alternate Ending—an extended branching version of the film with the deleted scenes and alternate ending incorporated into the movie.
Extras Review: Perhaps the most notable extra on this release is the extended cut, but the material really isn't of much value in enhancing the movie. The new material incorporated can also be accessed as three deleted scenes. There's a Play All function that runs them in anamorphic widescreen for a combined running time of 12m:46s (keep in mind that much of that is devoted to the alternate ending, so the extended cut is only a couple minutes longer than the original).

Now what would a Columbia TriStar release be without a plethora of previews? Not only are the theatrical teaser and trailer for The Forgotten included, but so are the trailers for Hitch: The Cure for the Common Man, House of Flying Daggers, Are We There Yet?, Guess Who, The Grudge, Spanglish, Little Black Book, Boogeyman, and The Fifth Element: Ultimate Edition. There's no Play All function, so you'll have to access each one individually. Apart from The Fifth Element: Ultimate Edition, all of them are shown in anamorphic widescreen. An added bonus is that all of the trailers, minus The Fifth Element: Ultimate Edition and Spanglish, are presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Nice!

As for supplemental material pertaining to the feature presentation, there is a commentary by director Ruben and screenwriter DiPego. A lot of it is just narrating the images, but there are some comments made about the locations used and why they chose particularly camera moves. Very little attention is paid to explaining how they accomplished some of the shots, but it's an average commentary. It is only available on the theatrical cut.

More satisfying is the documentary Remembering The Forgotten (19m:55s), which gives the background for how DiPego came up with the story and the ideas behind moving the story location from Boston to Brooklyn. The most interesting material explains how the visual effects were achieved, making this a nice inclusion on the release. A slightly less inspired extra, though still mildly interesting, is the featurette On the Set—The Making of The Forgotten (14m:15s). Contrary to its title, the featurette mostly consists of publicity interviews. It doesn't offer any major insights into the production, but it has a couple of sound bytes worth listening to.

This isn't a spectacular collection of extras, but they're a solid collection.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

A misfire in the grandest sense of the word, The Forgotten finds itself a fairly adequate DVD with two cuts of the movie, an impressive transfer, and good sound mix. The bonus material isn't extraordinary, but it is still a good amount of material for a relatively quiet DVD release.

 


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