Collateral Beauty (Blu-Ray) Review
I had heard about Collateral Beauty, and I was well aware of the reviews and how poor they were. They were overwhelmingly negative. It was hard to ignore that especially when I heard about the cast that was included in the film. These are actors that have done great work in the past, so even with the bad reviews I wanted to see if there was something positive to take away from it. I did chuckle when I heard it was nominated for a Razzie for The Entire Cast of Once Respected Actors. It couldn’t be that bad, right? It is every bit as bad as advertised and then some. As they say, believe the hype. This is not the good kind of hype, though.
Will Smith is an actor that has shown his dramatic range in the past, but he has made some highly questionable choices as of late. Focus was a film that was forgettable and this film here is unforgivable. He needs to find something that shows off his ability to do drama and comedy, either together or separate. Here, it is a drama where he barely speaks until a little bit before an hour into the film.
When the film starts off, he is working at an advertising agency where he talks about the company and its recent success. Very quickly, it moves to three years later, and he has lost his daughter. He has become a zombie and has not recovered from this. He is in danger of losing the company he shares with his partner played by Edward Norton. However, Howard (Will Smith) owns a sixty-forty share over Whit (Edward Norton), so it is not like Howard can be removed that easily. Howard is not paying his rent, eating, and doesn’t even own a phone. He needs help, but he refuses to get it.
Realizing they need to save their own butts, Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet), and Simon (Michael Peña) hire a group of theater actors played by Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, and Jacob Latimore to portray love, time, and death. Howard is writing letters to love, time, and death, so these theater actors are going to get paid $20,000 each to portray these three abstractions in an effort to capture Howard in a mentally-ill state. This way, it can prove that he can’t handle his job. As they say, with friends like these, who needs enemies?
When they approach him and talk to him, he starts to question what is really happening and what is the meaning of love, time, and death. He ends up going to a meeting where parents have lost their children. While there, he meets Naomie Harris, the group leader, and she tries to get him to open up without pushing too hard. Yes, this is really a movie that was made by a major studio with Academy Award-winning actors. It is one of those things where one can’t help but wonder how something can go so far off the rails.
Great actors can often save a bad script, but when a script is in critical condition like this one, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in their prime could not have saved it. It is so sappy, so cheesy, and so corny. Some of the lines that are read by the actors, it is a miracle they could contain their laughter. It is nearly impossible to find an audience being moved by this film or having anything from it resonate with them. It is manipulative, mean-spirited, and to top it off, there is a twist that is beyond comprehension.
Blu-Ray Info: Collateral Beauty is released on a single-disc Blu-Ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. It runs at 96 minutes and is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language. It also comes with a Digital HD copy from Ultraviolet.
Video Info: It comes on 1080p High Definition 16×9 2.4:1, and the video does look good. The outdoor scenes are especially nice to look at, but it does not matter when the film is junk. It is just scenery. People are watching for the movie and the audio and the visual aspects are a bonus if the movie is good.
Audio Info: The audio formats are DTS-HD MA: English 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Dolby Digital: French 5.1 (Dubbed in Québec), and Spanish 5.1. There are also subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. There are zero problems with the audio, minus what they are being forced to read from the script, which is garbage.
A Modern Fable: Discovering Collateral Beauty (15:03): I believe the entire cast is featured here along with the screenwriter and other key behind-the-scenes folks such as producers. Everyone talks about this film in such a glowing light. Will Smith was the first one to sign on for it and it brought on the others, so he brought everyone down with him. They used the word “fable” quite a bit and they talked about it being a holiday film as well. Whatever it is, it stinks really badly.