Downsizing on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review

Downsizing
Downsizing is all about miniaturising people to save the planet. If they’re smaller, they’ll use up less resources, and they can kiss goodbye to the alleged problem of man-made global warming.

Since the individuals taking part would be reduced by a ratio of 2744:1, which we learn makes them 0.364% of his original size (although I haven’t done the maths on that to check if they match), this is a film where the trailer had me hooked in a heartbeat. There was a second trailer which really gave a massive spoiler and, as such, I won’t disclose the content here.

The plan is for occupational therapist Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig), to help ‘save the planet’ and afford a nice lifestyle at the same time, since money in the regular world translates to more in ‘Littleland’. The way that works was never fully explained, but also in the trailer, it was said that their $52,000 savings translates to $12.5m in Leisureland, but in the film, the first figure is $152,000. I double-checked I hadn’t misheard, too. I wonder why they did that? So nerds like me would write about it?

Anyhoo, something happens that really sticks in his craw, but then when does life ever go to plan?

We see Paul & co. him exploring the world and trying to make the best of it, and what I saw wasn’t quite what I expected, but then again, beyond that, I’m not sure what I was expecting. Either way, once again I’m out of step for popular opinion, because most people seemed to dislike this, while I think they’re wrong. I really enjoyed it.


Paul (Matt Damon) & Audrey (Kristen Wiig) join in the new mantra: “Go small or go home!”


On the one hand, the idea of doing this is fascinating, but on the other,it’s scary as hell, because once you go small, there’s no going back. I also love how all the staff involved at the medical facility are so matter-of-fact about it. They’re also standing about a lot during the procedure. As I was told when I worked in a restaurant, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean”, but anyway…

There’s a lot going on, here, and a lot that’s hinted at, and with only 135 minutes to explore this world and its concept, I really think this could make a great TV series. There’s, sadly, no appetite for a movie sequel since this cost $68m to make and only took $55m worldwide, and was yet another film criminally ignored by the multiplexes, but in ‘downsizing’ to TV, concepts can take on a whole new life, as we’ve seen with spin-offs such as She Gotta Have It and Spy Kids, with TV series getting a second life such as Lost In Space and House Of Cards.

Given how he works in the medical industry and ends up in a small-town America, (pun not intended), it started reminding me of 1991’s Doc Hollywood.

I love how Matt’s elderly mother says, “They can shrink people down, and fly to Mars, but they can’t cure my fibromyalgia?”, so calling back to another of Damon’s recent movies, The Martian.

Oh, and occasionally, trailers have scenes which are not in the final movie. This one had a shot of small people getting from vodka from a huge Absolut Vodka bottle. However, while we do see these being transported, early on, the money shot is not featured.


Dusan (Christoph Waltz) and his cleaner, Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau).




The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 ratio and in 1080p high definition and is pin-sharp throughout and looking absolutely stunning, as you’d expect from a modern movie, bringing Payne’s little world to life.

The sound is presented in DTS-HD MA 7.1, while I saw it in 5.1, and it’s mostly dialogue with some music, so not an audio SFX movie. What is presented is certainly clear.

The extras are as follows:

  • Working with Alexander (12:22): Kicking off all the featurettes that mix chat from the cast and crew with clips and behind the scenes footage, this is mostly the cast blowing smoke up the backside of director Alexander Payne, with some words from the man, himself. However, his is a man whose work requires your attention.

    For the rest of the extras, I have watched them, but they can be described briefly.

  • The Cast (11:30): Delving into the casting process.

  • A Visual Journey (14:02): Set design, where little sets feature normal-sized items, and what the cast went through to get their look.

  • A Matter of Perspective (9:06): Getting the big/small look spot-on.

  • That Smile (6:27): …that belongs to Matt Damon. He also talks about his campaign to get clean water out to parts of the third world which, otherwise, would be without.

  • A Global Concern (6:39): The enviro-mentals get to lecture us…

  • Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.

The menu is static and features a shot of Matt Damon, from the cover, with the main theme playing in the background. Subtitles come in several languages, and there are 20 chapters which is much better than most studios. Ideally, I prefer one every 5 minutes, which would make 27 in this case, but when most studios use just 12, we have to be grateful for what we get.

Downsizing is released today on Blu-ray, Amazon Prime and DVD.


Paul & Audrey catch up with some friends.


FILM CONTENT
PICTURE QUALITY
SOUND QUALITY
EXTRAS
8
10
8
5
OVERALL 8


Detailed specs:

Cert:
Running time: 135 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Video
Cat.no.: WW148450BVR0
Year: 2018
Released: May 28th 2018
Chapters: 20
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), Dolby Digital 5.1 only: Spanish, French, Portguese
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portguese
Widescreen: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K))
Disc Format: BD50

Director: Alexander Payne
Producers: Mark Johnson, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
Music: Rolfe Kent

Cast:
Paul Safranek: Matt Damon
Audrey Safranek: Kristen Wiig
Dusan Mirkovic: Christoph Waltz
Ngoc Lan Tran: Hong Chau
Dr. Jorgen Asbjørnsen: Rolf Lassgård
Anne-Helene Asbjørnsen: Ingjerd Egeberg
Konrad: Udo Kier
Dr. Andreas Jacobsen: Søren Pilmark
Dave Johnson: Jason Sudeikis
Carol Johnson: Maribeth Monroe
Paul’s Mother: Jayne Houdyshell
Audrey’s Dad, Larry: Phil Reeves

Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.


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