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Flipped (2010) Print E-mail
Friday, 03 December 2010
ImageIt has been a while since I have taken a look at anything other than sci-fi, fantasy and action, with the exception of “The Kids Are All Right.”  So, when “Flipped” landed in my lap I was quite pleased.  It promised to offer a much-needed break from the shoot ‘em up, bang ‘em up genres.  And thankfully, that promise was fulfilled.

The film is nothing new, nor is it full of heavily emotional dramatic sequences.  However, the tale is heartwarming and somehow adds up to a pleasant movie experience.  Sure, there are moments in the film that drag on a bit too long, particularly due to the way in which the story is told.  More on that in a second.  However, those slow moments all build to a type of innocence and warmth.

“Flipped” is told in a “her side,” “his side” style.  A sequence will play with narration by the male lead, and then the same sequence will be played, altered somewhat visually to tailor the female’s perspective of the events.  So, there is a lot of crosstalk in the imagery between the two sides, but it is never all that distracting.

In 1957, Bryce Loski, seven years old, moves into the neighborhood.  He instantly becomes the object of affection for his next-door neighbor, Juli Baker.  Of course, as is typical of the age, the boy is annoyed by all the attention and efforts by Juli.  He always feels embarrassed in front of his so-called friends.
We then fast-forward to junior high, where as well all know, the hormones are kicking in and we’ve moved past that cooties stage.  Also, it is an age where boys tend to focus more on girls than vice-versa.  Though, this is just a stereotype of the age.  However, in this film it applies.  Juli’s affections for Bryce begins to fade, and with good reason as she begins to discover who Bryce really is as a whole and not just parts of him.  Meanwhile, Bryce starts to have confusing feelings for Juli, meaning that he is starting to fall for her as she is falling out of him.  Hence, the title of the film, “Flipped.”

The film is entirely predictable, but as I mentioned earlier, the film isn’t about its predictable plot, it is about the development of its characters.  Madeline Carroll, best known for her work in “Swing Vote,” continues her streak with a terrific performance in “Flipped.”  She is able to connect with the well-developed character of Juli, and takes us on a journey of emotions.  Bryce is a little less likeable.  In part, his character is unlikeable, but also because Callan McAufliffe is not the most graceful of actors.  His performance doesn’t seem to match with his character, which leaves some disconnect, since Carroll is so fantastic.  Aidan Quinn, Penelope Ann Miller, Rebecca De Mornay, Anthony Edwards, John Mahoney and Kevin Weisman all deliver terrific performances as well, without overshadowing the primary characters of the film.

As with most all Hollywood-ized films, the movie version ends a bit differently than the novel upon which it is based.  It isn’t horribly different, and in fact I would say that the film ending is better than the novel.  It certainly leaves the audience more satisfied.

“Flipped” comes to Blu-ray with a VC-1 encode at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio that will leave you satisfied technically, but is not awe-inspiring, and nor should it be.  The lackluster imagery is a creative choice.  Colors are not vibrant and the image appears fairly cold and stale as a way of addressing the conformity of the 1950s.  Still, colors have their place, particularly when it comes to the Sycamore tree and the landscaped front yard.  Black levels hold up well for the most part.  There are some areas in which the black levels are not quite resolved enough.  As a primarily light film, there is no need to worry about loss of details and shadow delineation.  Textures and details remain strong, but certainly are affected by the era of the film and stylistic choices.  Overall, this remains a solid video transfer.

The audio is likewise solid, but hardly immersive or memorable.  The audio is entirely front heavy, which is original to the film so it is not a probably with the transfer.  Surround usage is sparse.  You will not hear the surround channels unless you sit further back in the room or boost the level of the rear channels.  Stereo separation in the front channels is good, but again, the dialogue is the priority throughout the film.  Dialogue is intelligible.  The LFE channel is not used in the film, instead the bass is reliant upon bass management.  Frequency response is good while the dynamics are limited, again due to the original sound design.  For what it is, this is a competent audio track.

The Blu-ray comes with limited bonus materials, as you probably already suspected.  There are four featurettes, all remaining under six minutes.  None are that engaging or really of any interest.  We’re talking about featurettes like making a volcano science project.  The Blu-ray package also comes with a DVD/Digital Copy Combo disc.

“Flipped” is an engaging drama, finally.  It will bring a lot of adults back to their childhood.  While the audio and video qualities are not tremendous, they are accurate to the original intent.  I recommend giving this one a shot.

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