The Impossible [Blu-Ray] Juan Antonio Bayona

The Impossible [Blu-Ray] Juan Antonio Bayona
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One of the most memorable attributes of Juan Antonio Bayona's emotionally wrenching true story about the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 is the early scene of visual chaos when a tidal wave crashes over a peaceful resort, washing everyone and everything away in its wake. His kinetic handling of in-the-moment urgency, spinning the camera around the central family — married Brits Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor), as well as their three kids — as they're carried away by the water, punctured by branches and battered by debris, is one of the most cinematic and intense sequences captured on film in 2012. And while Bayona is able to discuss it, in part, on the commentary track included with the Blu-Ray, there's no other conversation or mention of this visual wizardry. Instead, there are a couple of puff promotional pieces splicing together prefab interviews with the actors and producers talking about how fantastic everything and everyone was. It's a load of overly cutesy B.S. It's unfortunate since The Impossible, while highly contrived and emotionally manipulative, is a very powerful movie-watching experience, giving us an in-the-moment sense of what this family must have endured — graphic, potentially mortal injuries — during this horrific tragedy. More insight on the production, flooded sets and the draining, complex performance from Naomi Watts would have been fascinating to hear and learn about. Still, ignoring the weakness of supplemental materials, the Blu-Ray features the crisp sound and HD visualization necessary to experience this harrowing journey. These aspects are important to consider, seeing as The Impossible is equal parts visceral and emotional, benefitting from the intricacies of performance as much as from the aggressive handling of chaos during the tsunami. Stripped of these factors, this story doesn't hold a great deal of weight, being a rather cheesy foray into the power of familial bonds, exploiting a minor coming-of-age framing device when oldest son Lucas (Tom Holland), who is initially annoyed by the whining of his younger brother, learns to demonstrate compassion for others and step up as a man when his mother is seriously injured. It's as convenient and twee as the many "close calls" that pop up during the third act, when the possibility of familial reunion is milked for all it's worth. And since the front cover of the Blu-Ray has a huge spoiler on it, there's really no need to mask the possibility of a happy ending. (eOne)