The in-depth “Special Features” give us an insight into what director Rob Cohen was trying to do. They also somewhat explain how this film ended up being a “problem child” for everyone involved.
Where do I start? The movie is weak, the acting is bad (how did Josh Lucas get this movie “greenlit”) and the FX, while interesting, are too big and too relied on to be taken seriously.
It isn’t bad enough that Stealth was bomb at the box office but now, for some reason, the makers of this DVD felt the need to release it as a 2 disc set. Also, the back cover of this disc has the chutzpah to refer to this film as ”an exhilarating epic blockbuster.” No offense to the spin doctors at Sony but a movie that costs $138 million and then grosses $33 in the US and $66 Worldwide is NOT a blockbuster. That $138 million was just the budget for the movie, that doesn’t even count the money spent for ads other miscellaneous things.
So where did Rob Cohen go wrong? Why didn’t the world at large take to this film? Well folks, if walks like a turkey, smells like a turkey and acts like a turkey... it’s a TURKEY. I did not see this film in the theater. However, I had high hopes for it because this theater owner friend of mine (who will remain nameless) felt that this film was going to be the summer movie. Then I saw trailers for it and I decided it wasn’t for me. I loved The Fast and the Furious, but xXx made me realize that Rob Cohen, instead of making a film for younger people, was actually trying to be young filmmaker making statements (with a dreadfully overblown movie) and I should steer clear.
Quite simply, there are too many FX, too much bad dialogue and not enough meat on this stories bones to merit it being 121 minutes long.
”Harnessing Speed” and “Detailed and Declassified”
The “Harnessing Speed” documentary looks at the making of Stealth. This was really cool (and probably my favorite part of this 2 disc set) because it was an honest look at the making of this film. From the production problems, to having to make final choices without seeing the final movie, to the logistics of pulling off certain effects this documentary is nothing if not honest. We get the usual things like weapon’s training and the creative team talking about how great Rob Cohen is, but I really liked the moments when we just heard from him. Broken up into 3 parts, I wish they would have released this documentary separately and with a bit more candor. They could have called it Stealth: An Explanation. “Detailed and Declassified” allows the viewers to use their DVD remote to navigate through two action scenes. They are “Kara’s Fall” and “The Big Suck.” While these scenes are also broken down in terms of their FX and what they are trying to achieve, I don’t think I really understood what to do with my remote.
”The Music of Stealth”, Multi-Angle Scene Breakdowns and an Incubus Music Video
“The Music of Stealth” is a piece in which we get to hear about Rob Cohen and composer BT’s collaboration. All they talk about is how they were looking for “new” sounds. There is nothing, and I mean nothing new sounding about this movie at all. I am sorry. Maybe Cohen and BT have hearing problems, but everything about this movie we have already heard before. With the “Multi-Angle Scene Breakdowns” we get an in-depth look (which didn’t seem too much different than the “Detailed and Declassified” sequence) at “Welcome to Alaska” and “Escape from Alaska.” Again, we use our remote controls as the scenes are being broken down in different ways before us, and again, I was just lost trying to figure out how to use this stuff. Lastly, we have a music video for “Make A Move” by Incubus. This is them on a stage with a camera in front of them and a screen playing Stealth as they lip-synch their song. It’s motif is a camera, shooting a camera, shooting a music video or something... I don’t know, maybe I didn’t get this because of the “new” soundtrack that BT composed?
2.40:1 - Anamorphic Widescreen. There is nothing wrong with how Stealth looks. It is just that everything is so overdone you know that it isn’t real. When Jessica Biel ejects herself from a plane, you know you have nothing to worry about because in reality she is attached to strings in front of a greenscreen. There isn’t any mystique to the scenes. Even when Josh Lucas or Jamie Foxx are navigating around their cockpits, the things that are happening around them look like videogames. What I don’t think Rob Cohen understands is that all that this FX trickery does is cost him a lot of money, and make his movies look hokey. I remember being in the theater when xXx played. After Vin Diesel skied down the mountain with an avalanche behind him a viewer laughingly screamed, ”This movie sucks!” My sentiments exactly.
Dolby Digital. Mastered in High Definition. English 5.1 (Dolby Digital), English DTS, French (Dolby Surround) and Thai 5.1 (Dolby Digital). Close Captioned. Subtitled in English, Chinese, French, Korean and Thai. As far as it’s presentation goes, Stealth looks fine. It is big, loud and (it seems) everything that it’s trying not to be. Nothing about the sound seemed any different than your typical Bruckheimer movie. I guess maybe that’s the problem. This is a Bruckheimer film without Bruckheimer there to make it work. It looks and sounds like something that would emanate from his shingle, yet there is no balance between the FX and the “normal” scenes. As a result this movie ends up being an uneven mess of loud FX and poor acting.
This front cover is basically the same poster I remember them using when they advertised the movie. Biel, Foxx and Lucas move toward as a Stealth er flies overhead and explosions happen in the background. The back features more of this explosion idea with 4 pictures from the movie. I hate to say it but the Stealth aircraft looks bad when it is laid against a “live” background. At least, I hope that’s a live background. There is a description of what this movie is about, a “Special Features” listing, a cast list and a technical specs list. The best thing I can say about this DVD is that the two discs are housed in an amaray case, so they have thankfully not make this packaging any bigger than it needs to be. In fact, I think they could have put everything on one disc but that’s just me.
It may not seem like it but I really went into this movie with an open mind. I sat back and I wanted to like it. I just couldn’t believe that Josh Lucas and Jamie Foxx were acting how they were acting in this movie. The lines they were saying... look, I don’t have any preconceptions that actors are any smarter than anybody else, but I just can’t fathom how they read the script for this movie and then agreed to do it. Was it money? The only reason that would surprise me is because these actors are big enough to do the movies they want to do and get paid for them. So I turned to Jessica Biel, who I don’t know if she can act, but she’s someone nice to look at. And guess what? Somehow they made her ugly in this movie. I’m just baffled. Baffled.
Listening to Rob Cohen in all the “Special Features” he kept talking about wanting to make something “new.” He wanted to give the audience a “new” experience, a “new” soundtrack, etc. . Did he not read the script? Did he not see the film as he was making it? All he was giving people was everything consumers have been avoiding since the big box office “slump” began.