Endless Love (2014) (Blu-ray)

Formulaic and predictable, this rehash of 1981’s Endless Love, a melodrama about forbidden love, will like strike a chord with some of its target audience of young teens. Based on the Scott Spencer novel and co-writer/director Shana Feste (Country Strong) falls back on a number of teen romance drama clichés to tell a rather saccharine tale of tortured love. Brooke Shields was 16 when she starred in the original film (opposite Martin Hewitt, 24), whereas the remake has two leads in their mid twenties. This detracts somewhat from the premise, though leggy, blonde Gabriella Wilde is certainly easy on the eyes and Alex Pettyfer is credible as a boy from the wrong side of the tracks.

Jade Butterfield (Wilde), is a beautiful, intelligent and privileged 17-year-old girl graduating from high school, ready to start pre-med studies at Brown at the urging of her controlling father, Hugh (Bruce Greenwood). Her fellow classmate David Elliot (Pettyfer) did very well on his SAT’s, but has no plans to go to college. He’s perfectly contentment to take over his father’s (Robert Patrick) auto repair shop when he retires. A sensitive guy, David has had his eye on the quiet Jade since the tenth grade. She never really said much since her family was rocked by her older brother’s cancer related death two years earlier. David’s never found the right moment to introduce himself, but the time comes when he runs into her while working at a posh country club, helps her organize a graduation party at her house and shares a first kiss with her outside afterwards. With her father’s not so subtle encouragement, Jade has spent much of her life focused on becoming a doctor, and following a very specific track in life. However, shortly after she and David meet, everything begins to change. The two become inseparable, experiencing feelings they’ve never felt, and, in a sense, finding themselves. As Jade’s interest in her father’s plans for her begin to dwindle, tensions between him and David increase. As tensions eventually reach a boiling point, Jade’s father becomes increasingly scary.

Feste and co-writer Joshua Safran take just a few basic elements from Scott Spencer’s original novel, doing away with David as an unreliable narrator an obsessed stalker, instead turning him into a fairly good kid. Their relationship is portrayed as a bonding of souls looking for connection in a disaffected world. The class divide remains, but isn’t particularly emphasized outside of the occasional ridicule from Hugh.

In this Endless Love, David is the hero in the end. It’s a bit troubling though, that Jade is presented as highly intelligent, yet she’s so easily blinded by by newfound emotions, seemingly willing to give up all her career ambitions ten minutes into the relationship. While Hugh is nicely established as the villain of the piece, in the end, he’s just a guy who doesn’t get it. There are no real consequences for his actions.

As for the performances, Gabriella Wilde is plain forgettable as Jade, bringing nothing special to the role. Alex Pettyfer gives David a wooden blandness, something that’s become all too common in most of his film appearances. The two actors don’t share great chemistry, so their responses to the various emotions required leaves something to be desired. The same inconsequence is felt with Joely Richardson, who plays Jade’s mom as a pushover. Only Bruce Greenwood turns in a truly notable performance, trying hard to balance grief for his dead son with a well meaning, if misdirected, desire to see that his daughter get the most out of life as possible.

Framed in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Universal’s 1080p transfer is a very solid one. Fine detail is crisp throughout, and grain allows for a nice filmic appearance. Colors are very nice, though reds do appear a bit over saturated, and the image itself is a bit too bright at times. No banding or digital artifacts are in evidence.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track allows the various pieces of pop music and party scence to come through with a nice level of energy. Other sounds such as a burning fire, revving car engines, etc. also allow for some nice surround work.

French and Spanish subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Extended Ending (HD, 2:36) More of the same, just a bit more atmosphere, and a longer narration from Jade.
  • Deleted, Extended, and Alternate Scenes (HD, 29:45) 19 in all. While most of these are far less interesting than whats in the film, there are a couple that would have improved things.
  • Making-of-Featurette (HD, 17:59) The usual cast and crew interviews, mixed with some scenes from the film. Really has an EPK feel about it.
  • DVD of the film.
  • Digital Copy.
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