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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Science Fiction > Déjà vu (aka Deja Vu/2006/Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Déjà vu (2006/Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: C+     Film: B



Timing is a funny thing in film.  A few years ago when the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies arrived, it went up against Titanic when no one knew if James Cameron’s epic could even break even.  Instead, it was a huge hit and the Bond film still did well, but not in the long term as it might have back in 1997.  In 2006, the James Bond film Casino Royale was issued and because it was not the overblown, shallow production of the last two Brosnan Bonds, expectation were only so high.  Disney decided to open Tony Scott’s Déjà vu with Denzel Washington against it.  Sure enough, the Bond was the biggest critical hit in decades and the Jerry Bruckheimer production did not do the business it deserved.


Now on DVD-Video and especially Blu-ray, Déjà vu gets a well-deserved seconds chance weeks after Casino Royale set home video records.  Besides the moviegoers and fans who rightly complain “why do they have to put out all those good films at once” and the like, there is some debate about the film itself, one I think underrates the Bill Marsilii/Terry Rossio screenplay.


Washington plays a federal agent investigating who is responsible for a terrorist attack against a ship with a military group in progress with their family.  However, besides having strange clues, he discovers the U.S. Government has a secret project that allows them to see into the distant past thanks to a crazy experiment with satellites and imaging from the recent past.  He starts to expect it might offer more, but finding the killer(s) is goal #1, if he can sort through what are possible lies only getting in his way from stopping the next attack.


Washington gives one of his most interesting and energetic performances in a genre film here as he has to play the hero, the thinker and the man who becomes more personally involved.  The supporting cast of Val Kilmer, Bruce Greenwood, Paula Patton, Adam Goldberg and Jim Caviezel are only given so much to do, including the usual one-liner joke punctuations to the staccato scores formula typical of Bruckheimer productions, but that is easily overcome by something different.





Of course, the twist is that we get a time travel plot that is not only in context to the thriller in ways that often work, but offer a layout some have questioned in the consistency of the clues.  I will not say much, but as I have debated several persons since the first screening, the idea of certain clues surfacing form a loop to show Washington’s character is close to success and not only are consistent with the story (not premature, as some have debated based on other Sci-Fi/Time Travel films), but incorporated the concept of the title which many seem to forget as they watch.  The result is a fine action film that requires more attention span than usual and really pays off as a clever work that rewards with repeat viewing.  That is why I am a fan of Déjà vu.






The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is pretty good considering this was almost totally shot in HD video, still a rarity for biog Hollywood productions.  However, there are a few moments of the transfer where it is obviously HD, though this fares better than Superman Returns in either HD-DVD or Blu-ray.  At least here, there is some 35mm film shooting.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD is much softer than it should be by comparison to the Blu-ray and 35mm prints I saw.  Director of Photography Paul Cameron, A.S.C., did a pretty good job of shooting with the format he had, but I have a feeling some shots that look good now might not later.


The PCM 5.1 16/48 Blu-ray sound mix is superior to the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on both discs, which just do not show off how good this sound mix really is.  It might even be better if we could hear it in a higher format (DTS HD, Dolby TrueHD), but this is nice as it stands.  Harry Gregson-Williams’ score is not bad, while sound effects are some of the best of last year’s actioners.


Extra on both versions include five deleted scenes, three extended scenes and an extensive behind the scenes look at the film in ten parts!  This is all very good and should be watched after seeing the film.  All are presenting in 1080i HD on the Blu-ray.


All in all, it is an under seen and underappreciated effort that is Scott’s best effort since Spy Game (now on HD-DVD) and one of his better films.  The only thing missing is the Dionne Warwick hit.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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