Cameron Crow is a writer, director, and producer known for several successful films such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jerry McGuire, and Almost Famous. In 2001, he wrote and directed the psychological thriller Vanilla Sky starring Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible), Cameron Diaz (There's Something About Mary), and Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona). While the movie received mixed reviews, it was a box office success, grossing $100 million. Therefore, it is only natural that Paramount Pictures would add it to their Paramount Presents series, remaster the film, and put it back in stores for the twentieth anniversary of the film.
David Ames (Cruise) grew up in wealth as the child of a publishing magnate. As an adult, thanks to his upbringing, he is spoiled, self-indulgent, and manages to get pretty much everything he wants. After his father dies in a car accident, David is given control of the publishing company, much to the chagrin of the Board of Trustees.
When David throws himself an elaborate birthday party, his friend Brian (Jason Lee; My Name is Earl) brings a beautiful woman named Sophia (Cruz), and David is immediately captivated by her. Despite Brian's interest in Sophia, David leaves his party with her, and they end up at her apartment, talking all night. In the morning as he is leaving Sophia's apartment, his "friend with benefits", Julie (Diaz) shows up and asks him to take a ride with her where she berates him for throwing her aside. Distraught, Julie drives her car off a bridge, killing herself and leaving David disfigured...and this is where the movie starts to turn weird.
Cruise was in his prime at the age of 39 when Vanilla Sky debuted. He seemed carefree and driven as his career skyrocketed in the previous few years. Vanilla Sky, based on a 1997 Spanish movie called Open Your Eyes, was optioned by Cruise and his Business Partner after they saw Open Your Eyes at Sundance Film Festival. His performance in the film is good and he is surrounded by a talented group of actors that raises the bar for everyone's performances. Diaz offers up one of her best performances every and Cruz is fascinating as Julia.
The remastered Blu-ray from a 4K transfer was overseen by Crowe himself and the results are fantastic. While there is some grain present, the picture quality is clean. The black tones have a great deal of clarity and depth while the other, more subtle hues balance the picture out nicely.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is everything one would expect from a remaster of a twenty-year-old movie. Dialogue is crisp and ambient sounds envelop the viewer and seem to come at you from all sides.
Most of the extras on the disc are previously released material but there are a few new ones to enjoy. They include Audio Commentary by Cameron Crowe and Nancy Wilson, Filmmaker Focus: Cameron Crowe on Vanilla Sky, Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary By Cameron Crowe, Prelude To A Dream, An Interview With Paul McCartney, Gag Reel, Music Video "Afrika Shox" By Leftfield/Afrika Bambaataa, Photo Gallery With Audio Introduction By Photographer, Neal Preston, Mask Test With Optional Commentary By Cameron Crowe, Kurt Russell Single Take With Optional Commentary By Cameron Crowe, Trailers, Unreleased Teaser Trailer, International Trailer, Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Cameron Crowe. Overall, it is a solid list of extras that should be watched at least once.
Vanilla Sky starts off somewhat strong, but by the third act, it dissolves into a sci-fi mess utilizing advanced technology to offer a twist that the viewer doesn't see coming.
The remastered transfer makes a great holiday gift for any Crowe or Cruise fan in your life.