|Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Collector's Edition) (2010)|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Monday, 10 January 2011|
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” offers up some interesting moments, but ultimately falls flat as a follow-up. The film lacks coherency and development. With the state of our current economy, there is so much that could have been done with this film to really nail the message of greed and corruption, much like its predecessor. However, the film flips back and forth between highlighting the subplots and highlighting the main plot. The characters lack dimensionality and ultimately contribute the most to the downfall of the film.
The sequel takes place for a brief moment in 2001, as Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) is released from prison after roughly 10 years for insider trading. However, the majority of the film takes place seven years later. The focus shifts completely from what was going to be a film about Gekko to a new hotshot on Wall Street, Jake (Shia LaBeouf). While Jake is certainly a better character than Bud Fox, he never quite comes around to having a full Wall Street mentality, or even being a character that is likely having anything to do with the financial institution.
Carrie Mulligan portrays Jake’s fiancée and Gekko’s daughter. She is about as one-dimensional as any movie character could be. She is simply there to serve as a tie between Jake and Gekko with the occasional predictable warning outburst. Gekko is clearly up to a new scheme, which some will pick up on right away, simply for the fact that the film wouldn’t be a sequel if Gekko wasn’t up to something.
In 2008 the financial market is crumbling and Jake’s investment house is about to burst. Jake spends the film trying to cleverly revenge his mentor’s passing. However, he comes and goes from this motivation and at times it is completely lost upon the audience as to what Jake is actually trying to do. Meanwhile, he falls under Gekko’s spell and tries to help Gekko reunite with his daughter.
The end of the film doesn’t shock and awe, but it has a very nice human quality about it. The ending is a great way to show that greed may not be the top dog when it comes to relationships and passion. Still, the ending is a bit unfulfilling.
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” lacks a focus that keeps the viewer from being fully immersed in the film. For example, there is a subplot with Jake and his mother that is excruciatingly out of left field and needed to be thrown out immediately. The characters could have been great but they weren’t given any more than a few nondescript motivations.
The sequel arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p, AVC encode at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The film’s transfer is top-notch. The most impressive aspects of the transfer are the brightness/contrast levels and their hold on color as well as the level of detail. Colors are vibrant, and dull when need be. The contrast level allows for perfect reproduction of a sequences’ colors regardless of the setting. The black levels are also nicely resolved supplementing the boldness of the color palette as well. Detail is extraordinary and lavish. Every facial texture of Douglas is clearly defined, perhaps more than Douglas would care to have been the case. The apartment and city details are fully resolved, leaving a very realistic landscape. There are few moments of softness throughout the film and there is some shimmer early on. However, the later doesn’t appear to be footage shot for this film. You will certainly not be disappointed with the video quality.
The audio quality is a bit more non-descript. The audio here falls more into the romantic drama category than into the crime/thriller genre. There is absolutely nothing memorable about the audio track. This is not to say that it was bad, it is simply forgotten the moment you’ve completed the film. The dialogue is centered up front with it being perfectly audible most of the time. There are a few occasions in which the dialogue gets lost for a moment. The surround channels are seamless. There is plenty of natural ambience in the rear channels, filling out the soundscape of New York, the forest, restaurants and clubs, etc. It hardly provides an immersive experience but envelopment is decent. The LFE channel is left out of the picture for the majority of the film. It does a couple of brief moments. Overall, this is a satisfactory if forgettable audio track.
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” comes with a nice supplemental package. Stone provides a terrific director’s audio commentary. Stone discusses both filmmaking techniques as well as thematic elements. “Money, Money, Money: The Rise and Fall of Wall Street” is section comprising of five featurettes. These featurettes discuss the economic conditions of America both days and three decades ago. There is also some retrospective material in here about the original film. “A Conversation with Oliver Stone and the Cast of ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’” is a sit down interview with the primary cast members and Stone about the current economic condition. The disc contains a hearty collection of deleted and extended scenes, totaling about 30 minutes. “Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Characters With” is a promotional section for the film including character selection highlights. Lastly the disc contains film trailers. The package also comes with a second disc that functions as a Digital Copy of the film.
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is not everything that fans of the original film would hoped it would be, but it is a nice commentary on the 1980s and excess vs. today. The video and audio qualities are more than adequate. I recommend taking a look at this release if you were at all into the 1987 film.