Review: Charlie St. Cloud Blu-ray

Charlie St Cloud Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Burr Steers | CAST: Zac Ephron, Amanda Crew, Charlie Tahan, Kim Basinger
RELEASE DATE: 11/9/2010 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.98
BONUSES: deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes
SPECS: PG-13 | 100 min. | romantic drama | 2.40:1 aspect ratio | DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Charlie St Cloud movie sceneMake no doubt about it, Zac Ephron (High School Musical) is the star of Charlie St. Cloud, a touching if one-dimensional romantic drama. Ephron is all over the special features on this Blu-ray version of the movie.

In Charlie St. Cloud, which is based on the acclaimed novel by Ben Sherwood, Ephron plays a twentysomething who put his life on hold after his younger brother (newcomer Charlie Tahan) was killed in a car accident. Every night, Ephron fulfills a promise he made to his brother before the crash and goes into the woods to play baseball with his brother’s ghost. When he starts spending time with a girl (Sex Drive‘s Amanda Crew), Ephron begins to see what he’s missing but still can’t pull himself away from the commitment he made to his brother. But when Crew goes missing, Ephron must make a choice between the living and the dead.

The film doesn’t delve too deeply into these characters; the conflict is easy to see and simple, and, as the title suggests, the story is all about Charlie. Not that this is bad — and Ephron fans definitely won’t mind — it just leaves us with more of a TV movie feel than something more substantial.

Ray Liotta (Youth in Revolt) and Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential) play some nice cameos, and it would have been nice if they were used more. Basinger especially, who does a great job as Ephron’s mom. There’s a really nice scene with her and Ephron in the deleted scenes that would have brought more depth to the film.

As we said, there’s no doubting that Ephron is the star of this film, and in the special features, Liotta and Basinger support that by admitting that they both took their roles because younger — female — members of their family told them they should after hearing Ephron was in the movie.

Ephron takes over two of the three featurettes on the Blu-ray disc: “On Location With Zac Ephron” and “Zac Ephron, Leading Man.” Young fans will love them both, but others might get tired of the “wow, he’s amazing” chat throughout. The best part of the second featurette is when Crew relates a story about a seemingly jealous Ephron fan who wanted Crew to know she’s not the only girl who gets to kiss Ephron. We hope not.

Universal also put an interesting featurette about the supernatural on the Blu-ray. In “The In-Between World,” psychics, mediums and parapsychologists talk about ghosts and what happens after we die in the context of what happens to Charlie in the film.

Other than Universal’s usual Blu-ray interactivity, the only other special feature is a commentary with director Burr Steers, who also can been seen in the featurettes as well as heard in optional commentaries over the deleted scenes.

Oh, and this isn’t necessarily the kind of movie that needs to have high-definition picture and sound, unless you’re really into Ephron’s blue eyes, (the special features on the DVD are the same) but Charlie St. Cloud‘s Blu-ray version does deliver on both counts. The sailing scenes made me wish I was out on the water.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.