DVD Review: Seven Pounds, Starring Will Smith

Seven Pounds DVD CoverWill Smith is one of the most consistent box office forces there is. Even his intentionally misspelled 2007 drama The Pursuit of Happyness went on to make well over $100 million in the United States.

So, the odds were good that his 2008 follow-up Seven Pounds, which is directed by the same man, Gabriele Muccino, would continue Smith’s streak of consecutive $100-million earners.

Unfortunately for Smith – though we can hardly feel sorry for his rare flop – audiences read right through the obscure previews and opted to not see the flick – or at least wait until DVD. It was a good choice.

While half of the people who spent money on Seven Pounds thought the drama was well worth the money, the other half wasn’t fooled by its convoluted direction and feinting plot devices. Intelligent moviegoers will figure out the ending within the first minute or two, and will identify the rest of the mystery by the half hour mark… which will leave them an hour and a half of fidgeting as they wait for the end credits to roll.

Seven Pounds is not terrible – it’s just a movie that isn’t nearly as good as some people, including those involved in the film, claim it to be. Judging by the interviews on the DVD, which comes to stores on March 31, 2009, the filmmakers, cast and the rest of the crew honestly believed that audiences don’t mind a completely simple story twisted into a cluttered mystery. Their excitement about the film shows; I just can’t share in their anticipation.

You can read my full Seven Pounds movie review here.

Despite the movie’s pitfalls, it will make a moderately good DVD, assuming you rent it – or, better yet, get a friend to rent it so you can watch it for free. As a free movie, Seven Pounds is worth it. For a drama, it also has some decent bonus features.

There are a few forgettable deleted scenes and an audio commentary with director Gabriele Muccino, but the meat lies in the variety of featurettes included. The DVD takes an in-depth look at a variety of aspects of the film, including the central theme and story. While I don’t agree with the filmmakers, their explanations and passion for the project show; the director’s motivations are quite clear. Beyond that, they talk about the characters and casting, and most of the actors are involved in the interviews.

While I’m usually not crazy about filler features, the Seven Pounds DVD also examines two areas of the movie that normally wouldn’t be covered (SPOILER ALERT), the printing presses and jelly fish featured in the story. The jellyfish featurette is pretty interesting, as is the printing press one. More importantly, I found the narration by the content experts entertaining and well-delivered.

Seven Pounds isn’t a great movie, and the bonus features aren’t anything to scream about, but there’s enough here to warrant a rental.

By Erik Samdahl
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