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Gifted: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Gifted (2017) movie poster Gifted

Theatrical Release: April 7, 2017 / Running Time: 101 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Marc Webb / Writer: Tom Flynn

Cast: Chris Evans (Frank Adler), Mckenna Grace (Mary Adler), Lindsay Duncan (Evelyn Adler), Jenny Slate (Bonnie Stevenson), Octavia Spencer (Roberta Taylor), Julie Ann Emery (Pat Golding), John Finn (Aubrey Highsmith), Elizabeth Marvel (Gloria Davis), Keir O'Donnell (Bradley Pollard), Glenn Plummer (Greg Cullen)

Buy Gifted from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD + Digital HD Instant Video

Many actors dream of getting to play an iconic superhero in multiple movies. For Chris Evans, that dream became a reality not once but twice. In the mid-Noughties, Evans was cast as Johnny Storm, also known as the Human Torch. Though his performance and Michael Chiklis' The Thing were widely praised by critics, the Fantastic Four movies were not as loved as they needed to be.
But Evans got another chance to be Marvelous just a few years later when he was picked to play Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America. To say that the Captain is the role that defines Evans' career is an understatement; it's the role that accounts for all four of the actor's "Known For" credits on IMDb. And he's not done. Evans' Captain will live on, not just in humorous cameos like the ones in Spider-Man: Homecoming but in leading role duties of at least two more Avengers movies.

Understandably, Evans does not want his career in film to end when he hangs up Captain's shield. He has supplemented his full slate of contractually obligated Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances with an array of films, including the romantic comedy Before We Go, which marked his directing debut, and Bong Joon Ho's acclaimed Snowpiercer. Evans' latest go in front of the cameras is Gifted, a film that grossed in its entirety slightly less than what Captain America: Civil War made in its first five hours of Thursday night showings. With that said, Gifted carried a budget of just $7 million, so its $24.8 million domestic gross can actually be deemed successful and in fact ranks it among 2017's best performing films that didn't reach the 3,000-theater mark.

Chris Evans plays Frank Adler, a damaged, gold-hearted guardian to the gifted Mary (Mckenna Grace) in "Gifted."

Gifted is an original drama from sporadic screenwriter Tom Flynn (picking up his first credit in 15 years) and (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb, who returns to indies after helming the two Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films. Evans plays Frank Adler, a Florida boat mechanic who alone holds custody of Mary (Mckenna Grace), the 7-year-old daughter of Frank's sister who committed suicide when Mary was just an infant.

Mary makes clear she is worthy of the titular status on the first day of school when she impresses her teacher Ms. Stevenson (Jenny Slate) with her ability to solve math problems. Frank deflects efforts by Ms. Stevenson and other staff to put Mary in a private school where she would be challenged. He wants her to have a normal childhood, for reasons we gradually come to understand when his estranged mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) initiates a custody battle for Mary. Evelyn sees the girl as picking up where Mary's late mother left off in terms of pursuing mathematical proofs that would grant immortality within the academic world.

As you can deduce from the budget I cited above, Gifted is not looking to win you over with action and visual effects. Instead, it relies on the more timeless elements of story and characters. Making those a priority is usually the best way to win me over, but Gifted is somewhat of a measured success in these departments.

Frank (Chris Evans) and Bonnie (Jenny Slate) strike standard romantic comedy poses per their storyline.

The cast is very good. Evans is never going to get a chance to wow us as an actor in the Marvel movies as more than just a valuable ensemble cog with the iconic role he holds. But he impresses here.
As does Duncan, who prevents Evelyn from being a one-dimensional villain. Grace is pretty good in a role that like many other child actor performances will be judged either too harshly or not harshly enough. Slate and Octavia Spencer, as Frank's landlord and Mary's occasional guardian, also chip in some fine support.

Precociousness is hard to pull off, a fact illustrated perfectly by The Book of Henry, which will undoubtedly remain among the year's worst films. Mary is not just precocious but a genius, which is also hard to swallow, as she tackles these math problems that have eluded scholars for decades. Gifted does have a few false notes, but far fewer than you might fear. The courtroom material may remind you of better movies, from Kramer vs. Kramer to Big Daddy, but the cast all buys in and the screenplay has enough good ideas about how to raise gifted children in a healthy, balanced fashion for you to stay invested.

Gifted has followed its relatively formidable spring theatrical run with a summer DVD and Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack from Fox that is now available.

Gifted Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish, French, Descriptive Video Service)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Descriptive Service), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Spanish, French)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish, French
DVD Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Blue Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as DVD + Digital HD ($29.98 SRP) and on Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Gifted may be an independent film, but it still has the backing of a major studio in Fox Searchlight Pictures' parent company, so it's no surprise that the movie looks terrific on Blu-ray, its 2.40:1 picture and 5.1 DTS-HD master audio sound both meeting one's high expectations for the format in 2017.

Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) scolds her estranged son in a deleted scene that looks like a 1997 DVD. Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer reflects on the film in one of five promotional featurettes.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's extras begin with a section of five deleted scenes (8:13),
which look less like the film and more like an old DVD. They present some additional clashes between Frank and his mother and more with Ms. Stevenson.

Next up comes a section of five promotional featurettes. The most substantial of these is an "HBO First Look" (13:32), which serves as a basic making-of piece with the usual blend of talking heads and behind-the-scenes footage.

The other four pieces take a brisker, more focused approach to their topics: "Story" (2:08)", "An Accomplished Cast" (2:06), "Inside the Equation" (1:37), which also manages to plug Spencer's Hidden Figures, and "Marc's Method" (1:27) about the director.

Separate from the others but similar in vein is "On Location: Gifted" (1:57), which enables the cast to talk up Georgia, where this was filmed.

A Fox standard that other studios have long abandoned, a photo gallery holds 24 stills, a mix of publicity and behind-the-scenes images.

Gifted's theatrical trailer (2:29) is kindly preserved. It's a little surprising that a film of this sort doesn't get a commentary, but I can't imagine there are many people listening to those with excitement these days.

Finally, "Sneak Peek" holds trailers for Wilson and My Cousin Rachel as well as the four previews that play automatically at disc insertion to promote Digital HD, Step, Hidden Figures, and Table 19.

The menu loops a standard blend of clips and score.

The two full-color discs share a keepcase with the Digital HD insert and another one promoting the Regal Cinemas app. The poster-adapted cover art, distracting bird and all, are reproduced in a slightly glossy slipcover.

Mary (Mckenna Grace) wows everyone with her ability to solve advanced mathematics problems in "Gifted."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Gifted offer a reasonably appealing and thoughtful character study with nice acting and only a few false notes. It's worth seeing, especially if you are a fan of its cast. Fox's Blu-ray combo pack delivers a fine feature presentation plus some basic extras.

Buy Gifted from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD + Digital HD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
New to Disc: Dean
Directed by Marc Webb: The Only Living Boy in New York The Amazing Spider-Man The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Chris Evans: Before We Go Snowpiercer The Iceman Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Captain America: Civil War Push
Octavia Spencer: The Help Hidden Figures Fruitvale Station | Lindsay Duncan: You, Me & Them: Series 1
The Kids Are All Right The Book of Henry St. Vincent

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Reviewed August 31, 2017.



Text copyright 2017 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2017 Fox Searchlight Pictures, FilmNation Entertainment, Grade A Entertainment, and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.