DVD Review: 2046

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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 128 minutes, deleted scenes and alternate ending, behind the scenes of 2046 featurette, production design featurette, interviews, music montage, The Music of 2046, the numerology of 2046

STUDIO: Sony Pictures Classics/ Block 2 Pictures/ Jettone Films

RELEASE DATE: 12-26-2006

"Love is a matter of timing. It's no good meeting the right person too soon or too late. If I'd lived in another time or place, my story might have had a very different ending"- Chow

2046 connected with me on many levels. It is a sadly romantic film. It is film magic at grand heights- 2046 is a masterpiece. Tony Leung plays a writer named Chow during the last half of the 1960s in Hong Kong. He has turned into a grumpy and lonely playboy. He tries to deal with his love life (past and present) by writing erotic science fiction. His first novel is 2046 and he happens to be in a hotel room (2047) across the hallway from room 2046. The novel focuses on a man who goes to 2046 to the city of 2046. He attempts to return from a place a where people go to find lost memories in a city that never changes. Chow writes a sequel novel called 2047 for the hotel manager's oldest daughter (who is in love with a Japanese man). Women who love him end up not being loved in the way they want to while Chow is in love with the women who don't love him (or leave him). Chow dates many different women including Bai Ling (Ziyi Zhang), Black Spider aka Su Li Zhen (Maggie Cheung), and others during his years in Hong Kong and Shanghai (seen in flashbacks and at the start of the movie).

Director Wong Kar Wai takes perfectionist to a whole new level to even pass Stanley Kubrick and James Cameron. The film started production in 2001 and the special effects weren't complete for it's premiere at Cannes Film Festival in 2004. The director went back to shoot more after that. He doesn't even use complete scripts. He develops the movie with the actors while filming. 2046 is the type of movie filled with details that you will probably have to watch it multiple times to pick up everything shown in 2046. It is a densely layered movie with many textures and the type of film you can discuss as it a character study and a different interpretation of the same character Tony Leung played in an earlier Wong Kar Wai film, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Scenes like Chow paying Bai Ling $10 every time he visits her room, when Chow is alone on a street with Su, or the heartbreak Bai feels not once but several times come to mind when I think of 2046.  Even the end credits sequence was worth watching.  The way it connects with me is that I have meet people who don't love me like I did them or missing out on chances to hook up with women. Sometimes I have even dwelled on past memories. 2046 had that effect on me.

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The image detail is beautiful. A little film grain is present at times, but it is a nice transfer overall.

AUDIO: Cantonese 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dialogue is clear. Music doesn't overpower the sound mix and the surround action helps put you into the the world of 2046.

SPECIAL FEATURES: 2046 has an elaborate range of extras. THE MUSIC OF 2046 talks about the various pieces of music in the film with a branching option to go to a certain part in the film when that music was played. The music montage featurette is skippable. THE NUMEROLOGY OF 2046 points out how numbers are used in the film. The poser gallery shows a wealth of different poster designs for 2046 with a few that might have made a better DVD cover. The two deleted scenes (one in anamorphic widescreen with English text) are very interesting (but I kinda of wished the one where Black Spider tries to visit Chow was left in the movie). The alternate ending has me confused since it doesn't show how the director would have cut it into the film. ANATOMY OF MEMORIES is a five minute production design featurette on the various stages of computer animation for the city of 2046. The interview with Tony Leung, Wong Kar Wai, and Ziyi Zhang are interesting to watch even for the fact that Tony and Wong speak in English for this set of interviews. The 35 minute BEHIND THE SCENES OF 2046 featurette has interview with director and every major cast member in addition to some behind-the-scenes footage (everyone speaks in Cantonese with English subtitles included).

FINAL ANALYSIS: 2046 is a fascinating masterpiece from a director I should check out more of his films. 2046 is sad, romantic, and visually stunning with some of the most emotionally effecting music.

2046 fan site:   http://www.monkeypeaches.com/2046.html

this review is (c)5-12-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com