One of the most original films of 2012 by far was writer/director Rian Johnson’s Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as two versions of the same character from different points in his life. Rather than fry your brain with this time travel crap, Looper sets up a believable futuristic world where time-travel is possible without bogging down the audience with extraneous details. However, for fans who want those details, the Looper Blu-ray has plenty of extras, including deleted scenes and expert testimonials from a physicist, that give extra bang for the buck. Hit the jump for our review of Looper on Blu-ray.
More than a mere time-travel movie, Looper takes place in a future world where mobsters use outlawed technology to send marks into the past where an assassin (the Loopers) kills them and disposes of their bodies. The story follows the collision course of Joe (Gordon-Levitt) and his older self (Willis) with a single-mother (Emily Blunt) and her gifted son (Pierce Gagnon) caught in the cross-fire. Although eliminating your older self (called “closing your loop”) is just part of a Looper’s job, a powerful telekinetic known as the Rainmaker is wreaking havoc in the future; the answer to stopping his reign of terror is by eliminating his existence in the past. If you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it. You can further familiarize yourself with Matt’s review of Looper here. A review of the Blu-ray follows below.
Before the main menu, you’ll be treated to trailers for Jason Statham’s crime thriller Parker, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s bike messenger flick Premium Rush on Blu-ray and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning starring Scott Adkins, Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
There’s a feature length commentary track provided by writer/director Rian Johnson and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt. This special feature is definitely worth a listen if you’ve previously seen the movie. Not only does it show off the great rapport among the trio, but it gives insight into interstitial connective tissue of the movie that’s not necessarily obvious to a casual viewer. Johnson also provides a truckload of technical information regarding shot selection, the writing process, camera techniques and on-set details. You also get to hear Johnson and Gordon-Levitt’s horrendous British accents and learn that Blunt’s five-year-old co-star kept trying to pull down her top.
The trio also talks about the performances of the supporting cast, including Noah Segan, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano and Piper Perabo. There’s a fair bit of behind-the-scenes talk as well, especially on make-up artists Kazuhiro Tsuji and Jamie Kelman and the score from Nathan Johnson and Son Lux.
There are 22 deleted scenes on the Blu-ray (only five on the DVD) and they all come with optional commentary from Rian Johnson and star Noah Segan, who plays Kid Blue. In addition to fun details and editor’s notes, Johnson provides an answer to the question of whether or not Abe and Kid Blue are related. Here’s a run down:
- Club Entrance: Original Cut – Meet Rian Johnson’s dad, plus more nudity, a baby and Paul Dano’s running gag.
- Sneaking Into the Belle – Extended scene where the Loopers sneak into the club. Meet more of Johnson’s family and see DJ Kid Koala’s cameo.
- Outside the Belle – Extended cruising scene, plus an extended conversational scene between Joe and Seth (Dano).
- Pawn Shop and Belle Revisited – A quick scene of the man behind the currency exchange plus a dance sequence at the club.
- Kid Blues Sees Joe Rejected – The first meeting between Joe and Kid Blue.
- Suzie Never Wants to See Joe Again – A closing tag after a scene between Joe and Suzie.
- Old Seth: Original Cut – An extended scene showing the deterioration of Old Seth (pre-effects).
- It’s Not Joe – Extra bit of information to show Joe worrying about closing his loop.
- China Sequence: Original Cut – Not what screened in China, but the original cut of Joe arriving in China to show his fall into ruin, his transition into Old Joe and the early relationship with his eventual wife (Summer Qing).
- Gat in a Steel Box – A confrontation between Abe and Kid Blue.
- Kid Blue, Boy Detective – A compilation of extra shots that shows Kid Blue as he pieces together Old Joe’s footsteps and tracks him down; a bit of a gumshoe procedural.
- Straws and Salt – Old Joe actually does diagram, with the aid of straws and salt, what’s happening to his memory because of the time travel. There’s extended dialogue and a back-and-forth between Joe and Old Joe in the diner.
- Kid Blue Escapes – Kid Blue’s extended sequence after his meeting with Abe, which reveals more on the question of whether or not the two are related.
- Sara Decides Not to Dump Joe – Connective scene between Sara (Blunt), Cid (Gagno) and Joe when Sara chains Joe up.
- Meet Daniel – A very creepy scene where Old Joe has a swingset conversation with a young boy, whom he is about to kill.
- Evening Lessons – A quick scene showing Joe outside while Sara teaches Cid at the kitchen table.
- Canady and Kid Blue – An informational scene between Kid Blue and Officer Canady (the uncredited Dikran Tulaine), which is Johnson’s favorite scene.
- Jesse Searches the Laundry – An extension of a scene where Garret Dillahunt’s character searches Sara’s house for Joe.
- Old Joe Can’t Stop – An extended bit of dialogue between Old Joe and his wife that was seen in the Chinese cut of the film. It jives nicely with Old Joe’s decision of whether or not to continue on his quest to eliminate the Rainmaker.
- Old Joe Confronts Suzie – The original cut of a climactic dialogue scene between Old Joe and Suzie.
- Abe Gathers the Troops – More of an “action” scene for Daniels that was cut in order to keep Abe behind the scenes more.
- Sara Walks to the Field – Small clips of Sara walking out to the field at the end.
The Future: From the Beginning (~8min) – Behind-the-scenes commentary from Johnson, Gordon-Levitt, Blunt, Willis, Dano, Segan, Perabo and cinematographer Steve Yedlin and producer Ram Bergman. There’s a good amount of time spent discussing the practical effects (such as Gordon-Levitt’s “Bruce Willis” make-up and the first time Blunt experienced wire-work) as well as commentary on their young co-star, Gagnon.
The Science of Time Travel (~8min) – Along with Johnson, Gordon-Levitt, Blunt and Willis commenting on time travel, physicist and author Brian Clegg lends his own expertise. We also get the rules of time travel in Looper as follows:
- Time travel cannot be adjusted.
- Time travel is a one-way ticket.
- Both versions of you can exist.
- Time travel is illegal.
- You can communicate across time.
- The future has infinite possibilities.
Scoring Looper – Featuring composer Nathan Johnson and Son Lux in three distinct featurettes that each include a track from the film’s score. “Field Recordings” may be the most interesting, because it shows the lengths to which Johnson went to record novel sounds out in the world and the insane amount of electronic mixing he did with Lux in order to produce Looper’s unique sound. “Percussion” followed a similar model, while “Melodic Instruments” was more of a classical look at the scoring process.
Looper Animated Trailer – An animated trailer for Looper from Zachary Johnson.
- Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Region: Region A/1
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Rated: R (Restricted)
- Studio: Sony
- DVD Release Date: December 31, 2012
- Run Time: 119 minutes