DVD/Blu-ray Review: Richard Kelly's The Box, starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden and Frank Langella

[image-1]The Box is based on a Twilight Zone episode entitled “Button, Button,” about a couple who is presented a choice: push a button in the box and get a large sum of money — but someone they don’t know will die. In the modern update, the couple is played by James Marsden and Cameron Diaz and the man with the million-dollar offer is an eerie Frank Langella. They decide to press the button (duh) and get their big payment (a million dollars, which will make a huge difference for the financially stretched couple), but the results of this decision (and their bizarre reason for making it) will have far-reaching and unintended consequences.


The concept sounds good, and the movie starts off dramatically, but The Box takes a hard right turn about halfway through, and turns into more of a thriller with Marsden's character trying to find the reltionship between the box and Langella. When we figure out the connection, it comes across as strange and a little bit silly. Frank Langella is quite good here, as is Marsden, but Cameron Diaz is just plain awful, with a terrible accent and some really bad over-acting. As Rabid Nick said in his review, people will either love or hate this movie, and despite my hopes of being in the first category, I was in the latter and ready for the movie to end all through the second half.


There are no special features on the DVD version , but the Blue-Ray has a few minor special features, including a commentary track by and 15-minute interview with director Richard Kelly, during which he shares his experiences making The Box. It was interesting, and I enjoyed seeing the director had a ton of passion for the project. The final feature for the Blu-ray was a look into the special effects, which was similar to any other special feature you see on a Blu-ray or DVD. The featurette goes into how they made the film feel like a '70s movie, and of course, how they made Langella’s character look so horrible. It kept my interest throughout the 20 minutes, which is more than I can say for the movie.


Overall, The Box is a great idea that feels exactly like what it is — a short whose concept was stretched into an overlong feature-length movie. If you’re a fan of The Box, or of The Twilight Zone, I would say this is worth a solid rent on Blu-ray. If not, skip it, as the movie is middling and the special features are almost non-existent.

The Box, a Twilight Zone episode remake from Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly, comes to DVD and Blu-ray for the simple purpose of confusing people in their own homes. James Marsden, Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella star in this 1970s period mind-bender about a moral dilemma and the consequences that follow. The package I reviewed contained both the DVD and Blu-ray in a 2-disc combo pack, which is great if you have a DVD player now but plan to upgrade, but seems a little redundant for someone who already owns a Blu-ray player. (But hey, it was nice to have both for the review.)

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