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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Thriller > Next (2007/HD-DVD + DVD)

Next (2007/HD-DVD + DVD-Video/Paramount)


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



Note: This film is now on Blu-ray and reviewed at this link:





Nicolas Cage is in high commercial mode, but whether such films of his the do work (The Rock), don’t (Wicker Man) or fall somewhere in between (Ghost Rider), at least they all have a hook that makes at least some sense as to why he would sign up.  Lee Tamahori used to be a really good director, but since the James Bond film Die Another Day (one of the worst the series will ever produce), he remains in his awful rut with Next.


Cage plays a Las Vegas (can’t escape that city) magic act headliner with hardly any audience, but it turns out he has a unique psychic power that helps him track events in specific ways back and fourth through time.  He thinks this can stay a secret, even as he pursues a beautiful woman he is interested in (Jessica Biel), but a nuclear armament has been stolen and a government agent (Julianne Moore) believes he can help them track it down.  He believes that once they catch him for one job, they’ll hold him prisoner forever and use him for the worst possible ends.


This is a good idea for a half-hour Twilight Zone back in Rod Serling’s time, but the Gary Goldman/Jonathan Hensleigh/Paul Bernbaum screenplay cannot sustain its short (and obviously edited down form an even longer running time) 96 minutes.  This is based on material by Philip K. Dick called The Golden Man, but this is far from golden and a sad mess.  If it was trying so hard to be slick and clever, this could have worked.  After watching, you’ll want to “read the book, don’t wait for the movie.”



The 1080p digital 2.35 X 1 High Definition image was shot by Director of Photography David Tattersall, B.S.C., in digital High Definition video.  The result is some of the poorest work this ace cinematographer has ever produced, thanks in part to the format and style chosen.  HD simply cannot handle what he attempts here and the 35mm prints looked odd.  This HD-DVD shows the flaws and the anamorphically enhanced DVD version is even weaker, with awful Video Black and detail is an issue on both discs.


The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is as limited at times as the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, with little difference between the two and more often than not and is not a very memorable soundmaster overall, even in the PCM version on the Blu-ray issued later.  The sound can be annoying in its pumped-up moments and Mark Isham’s score is one of his least memorable.  The combination in all formats disappoint, as it did in 35mm.  Extras include four making of featurettes and the original trailer, all of which are High Definition on the HD-DVD.


Yes, when you finish watching this one, you be moving on to any of the better films it is bound to remind you of, yelling its title loudly.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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