The Adjustment Bureau, Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy (2011)
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terrence Stamp
Studio: Universal 61118962 [6/21/11]
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DVS 2.0; Spanish or French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Extras: Feature commentary track with writer/director George Nolfi, Deleted and extended scenes, “Leaping thru New York” – The Labyrinth of Doors, “Destined to Be,” “Becoming Elise,” D-Box Motion Enabled, BD Live, Pocket BLU app
Length: 106 minutes
Another great Philip K. Dick sci-fi story-based feature gives the versatile Matt Damon has first real romantic situation and he and Blunt make a great pair. He plays a rising congressman from Brooklyn who seems to be headed for higher office. But he makes some changes in his pre-ordained fate which run counter to what has already been set up for his life by the Adjustment Bureau’s “Chairman.” The nattily-dressed autocrats (from the costume department of Mad Men?) of the Adjustment Bureau work out of a striking building in Manhattan (actually filmed in several different locations) and move quickly between various doors which magically take them instantly from one place to another. Are they angels or what? One online reviewer called the film “spiritual but not religious.” They make every effort to keep David on the course that has already been laid out for him, and that course does not include his hooking up romantically with modern dancer Elise.
David, however, is sure enough of his relationship with Elise that he risks everything to fight the Adjustment Bureau’s tricks and turns, ignoring their directive to stay away from her. The special effects are quite original – often involving various doors which, when passed thru do to the aid of one sympathetic Adjustment Bureau autocrat, lead like wormholes to a completely different place. For example, what was a closet suddenly become the inside of Yankee Stadium and after they pass thru it again becomes a closet. Many famous landmarks of Manhattan are ingeniously used – The Statue of Liberty and the NYC Public Library among them. The bureau workers carry around plain-looking bound books which are full of complex continuously-animated diagrams charting what should be happening in each life and to people the person interacts with.
Philip K. Dick has been playing around with movie-goers’ brains for many years now via all the movies based on his stories: including Total Recall, Blade Runner, Minority Report, Paycheck and A Scanner Darkly. This particular story can get an interesting discussion going concerning fate, predestination, and associated subjects. It has some connection with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in putting a romantic story at the center of a sci-fi-type story. The extras are most worth viewing. One of the short deleted scenes has Terrence Stamp explaining some of the historical background of the Adjustment Bureau, which seemed to me very useful in better understanding the story. The “Labyrinth of Doors” extra has a Manhattan map with all the doors indicated on it, and you can go thru them, sometimes view the clip of that scene and/or see the scene being shot, and also travel to the next door. You can spend a great deal of time playing around with this bonus feature.
— John Sunier