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The Lucky One(2012)
A Marine travels to North Carolina after serving three tours in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war.
For more about The Lucky One and the The Lucky One Blu-ray release, see the The Lucky One Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on August 29, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Adam LeFevre, Robert Hays, Joe Chrest
Director: Scott Hicks
» See full cast & crew
The Lucky One Blu-ray Review
"Finding something like that in a war is like finding an angel in Hell."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, August 29, 2012
The Lucky One is based on sap-n-sentiment schlock peddler Nicholas Sparks' 2008 novel of the same name. For most of you, that's as much of a review as you need. Sparks' followers are voracious, gobbling up every scrap, be it book or screen adaptation, that falls from the romance novelist's table. Sparks' critics are vicious, untouched and unmoved by anything remotely attached or derived from his work. (The Notebook being the only notable Sparks film with fans from both camps. Just don't be fooled into believing that has much of anything to do with Sparks; that's all Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams and Nick Cassavetes.) The author's dearly devoted already have their copy of The Lucky One on their shelves or on their radar. His detractors fled the moment they read the words "Nicholas Sparks." And so I'm left writing to you; the man wondering if this might be the one to excite his significant other, the woman wondering if this might be the one to help her live vicariously, or the teen wondering if this might be the one with Zac Efron. So here goes. No, even for a Sparks adaptation it's a mess. No, unless living vicariously involves feeling terrible about yourself, your gender and your liklihood to experience sweeping cinematic love. And yes, this is the one with Zac Efron.
You know, the smallest thing can change your life. In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance, when you least expect it, that sets you on a course that you never planned, into a future you never imagined. Where will it take you? That's the journey of our lives. Our search for the light. But sometimes finding the light means you must pass through the deepest darkness. At least that's how it was for me...
The Lucky One sent my eyes rolling within its first thirty seconds with that dodgy bit of groan-inducing opening narration. It left me shaking my head moments later as Efron, playing a U.S. Marine on his third tour of duty in Iraq, stood firing at enemy combatant after enemy combatant during an ambush without seeking cover. And it completely lost me when Efron's Logan Thibault -- having found a dusty photograph of a mysterious, nameless woman in the dirt after a particularly nasty mission and having returned to Colorado with a burning desire to uncover her identity -- figures out where she lives based on the random, wholly nondescript lighthouse sitting over her shoulder in the photo. Okay, no problem. Send out a few e-mails and see if she lives in the town closest to said lighthouse. Or... send approximately zero e-mails and make zero phone calls. Just, I don't know, what's efficient? Oh! Walking's efficient. Hike from Colorado to Louisiana -- literally on foot -- on a hunch and see if the mystery girl next door happens to live where the photo was taken. Because every photograph of a person is taken within a few miles of where they live, right?
And so he goes. But this isn't a road movie, with true love awaiting a weary traveler at the end of a long journey. No, after arriving, showing the mystery girl's picture around to the locals, and finding a guy at a bar who's more than willing to point a total stranger in the direction of the young woman in the photo, Logan waltzes right into a Nicholas Sparks adaptation. The woman turns out to be Beth Clayton (Taylor Schilling), a dog kennel owner who emerges from the shadows (in a shot that would have only been more cheesy had it been slow motion), sun striking her hair and melting the Marine's heart faster than you can say "love at first uuuuggggh." So show her the photo, explain how picking up her photo saved you from an incoming mortar and call it a day. Right? Right? Or allow her to interrupt you every three seconds as if this were a chintzy rom-com, apply for a job at the kennel, creep her out, strike a nerve already struck after the death of her brother (also a U.S. Marine), and allow her grandmother (Blythe Danner, a rare delight in a joyless genre pic) to hire you after poor Beth makes it oh-so-clear she doesn't want to have anything to do with a Marine who walks from Colorado to Louisiana to work at a dog kennel. And never tell her, "Hey, pretty lady. I got a photo of you in my wallet."
If The Lucky One was just about Logan and Beth growing to love one another, though, it might have recovered. But no. Beth has a little boy named Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart) who's getting bullied at school because he plays the violin. (Did I mention Logan plays the piano? Guess where that one's going.) She has an ex-husband (Jay R. Ferguson), also the town's sheriff, who likes to come by the kennel and flex his alpha male for the new-to-town Marine encroaching on his territory. (Ah! I get it. It's a melodramatic, tear-jerking, romantic take on First Blood, with a villainous sheriff harassing a veteran who just happens to be a drifter walking cross country.) And she has more issues than well-intentioned Logan is prepared to handle. Good thing he had all that military training, because that's certainly going to come back, allow him to save someone she cares about, and win her heart for good. (Never mind that their relationship is based on a pile of lies. Since when does that matter?) By the time the over-plotted, over-reaching, over-the-top love story comes to fruition, Sparks' convoluted tale and screenwriter Will Fetters' script has lost all sense of believability, internal logic, genuine romance and... well, all sense of sense.
If there's any saving grace -- and believe me, there's very little -- it's Schilling and, brace yourselves, Efron, both of whom deliver performances that deserve a real movie. Schilling is a tad stiff early on, but considering some of the truly wretched dialogue she's forced to deliver, it's tough to fault her. Silly as each of Beth's plotlines become, she convinces as a single mom, a distraught daughter, a struggling ex-wife, and a hesitant lover. Efron, meanwhile, stuck with even more dreadful dialogue, grounds the film as best he can. (Even if entire shots are framed expressly to show off the thirty pounds of muscle he packed on during pre-production.) Quiet, somber and thoughtful, he's more John Rambo than Troy Bolton, and he brings surprising presence to scenes that, unfortunately, dry-heave every ounce of dramatic oomph he musters onto the pavement. (Although his early bouts with PTSD leave a lot to be desired.) Say what you will about the kid, now twenty-five if you can believe it. He's at least working to leave the Disney Channel schoolyard behind and play with the big boys. Together, Efron and Schilling have legitimate chemistry. The Lucky One, though, does not. Hands down one of the worst movies of 2012 and without a doubt the worst film begat by Nicholas Sparks, dishonorably discharge this one from your Wish List or Netflix queue. It isn't worth your high definition dollar, much less your time.
The Lucky One Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Lucky One lucks out with a 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer that, despite continually resembling the cover of a romance novel, is faithful to Alar Kivilo's cinematography and director Scott Hicks' syrupy intentions. Colors are suitably warm and summery, with lifelike skintones, deep blacks, and pleasant primaries. Contrast and clarity are strong too, even though delineation is a bit buttoned up. Fine detail ranges from serviceable to refined, with crisp closeups, neatly defined edges, and satisfying textures. Ringing is apparent at times, as is slight crush, but there aren't any other issues of note. Artifacting and banding are MIA, grain is tasteful and consistent, and the entire film looks as slick and polished as most new theatrical releases of its ilk. No big complaints here.
The Lucky One Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn't all that immersive, but it's in keeping with The Lucky One's stale but steamy sound design and the mopey, conversational nature of a downtrodden romance. Dialogue is crystal clear, snuggly centered and smartly prioritized, and Logan's new job comes with all of the light, lively animal and environmental ambiance you'd expect from a pet kennel nestled in the middle of a picturesque farm. It's all a bit front-heavy, of course, but Mark Isham's score and a few intense sequences fill the soundfield nicely. LFE output is reserved as well, offering battle-hardened kick early on before withdrawing for the majority of the film, and dynamics are decidedly decent, albeit not entirely remarkable. All in all, The Lucky One's lossless track doesn't disappoint. It just doesn't offer many surprises either.
The Lucky One Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Three short, self-explanatory EPKs: "Zac Efron Becomes a Marine" (HD, 6 minutes), "Watch the Sparks Fly - The Romantic World of The Lucky One (HD, 6 minutes), and "Zac and Taylor's Amazing Chemistry" (HD, 5 minutes). Nothing more, nothing less.
The Lucky One Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Lucky One is anything but, suffering from a preposterous story, an overinflated script, stilted dialogue and enough groans to trigger a mass exodus from a theater. It isn't a bad film; it's the worst film of the year. Warner's Blu-ray release is better, so long as you aren't looking for answers as to what went so terribly wrong. With just seventeen minutes of extras, the AV presentation is tasked with saving the day. It doesn't pull off the impossible, but it looks and sounds good while trying. Sidestep The Lucky One and find love elsewhere.
The Lucky One: Other Editions
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The Lucky One Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Lucky One Blu-ray - June 22, 2012
Warner Home Entertainment will bring The Lucky One to Blu-ray in August. Director Scott Hicks' screen adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel stars Zac Efron (New Year's Eve) and Taylor Schilling (Atlas Shrugged: Part I) as two young people who fall in love under ...
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