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Awake
DVD disk
04.22.2008 By: Jason Adams
Awake order
Director:
Joby Harold

Actors:
Hayden Christensen
Jessica Alba
Terrence Howard

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When a young billionaire with a weak heart goes in for a transplant, he falls victim to “anesthetic awareness”—a state of being mentally conscious, but physically paralyzed during surgery. And to make matters worse, not only is he aware of the blade ripping out his heart, but he can overhear a plot to murder him while on the operating table.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Maybe it was because I didn't know much about AWAKE or expected anything from it. Maybe it was because it started with Jessica Alba in a white tank top being pulled in to a bathtub full of water. Who's to say, really, except that this movie wasn't half bad.

The idea of anesthetic awareness is scary enough that throwing in a murder mystery plot might sound lame and unnecessary, but it added a nice little twist to the situation. The surgery scene itself was pretty intense. Hayden Christensen's narration and ETERNAL SUNSHINE method of walking through his consciousness bordered on cheesy, but the very idea (not sure how plausible it is) is psychologically creepy as hell.

Surprisingly, the dramatic parts actually worked for me as well, with the concentration on character for the first part of the flick actually paying off in the latter half when stuff started going nuts. Neither Alba nor Christensen convinced me they'll be winning acting awards any time soon, but they didn’t have me screaming “Razzie!” either. Lena Olin is logic-defyingly sexy as usual, Terrence Howard says his lines convincingly enough and even George Minkowski himself, Fisher Stevens, shows up for some face time.

Writer/director Joby Harold throws in a couple decent twists, but the movie pats itself on the back a bit too much without fully earning it. At one point I think Christensen actually says, "Wow, it's so obvious I can't believe I [you] didn't see it coming!" There’s also plenty of plot holes and corniness to go around, but overall AWAKE sported an original idea and executed it fairly well.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary by writer/director Joby Harold: As a first time filmmaker, Harold does a decent job talking his way through the movie. He seems like a cool enough guy, but it might’ve been a good idea to have somebody else in there with him to bounce off and make things more entertaining.

Deleted Scenes (9:28): One of the cut sequences is a first person POV of a date with Jessica Alba. That’s the closest we’ll ever get, lads.

Under The Knife and Behind The Scenes (13:11): Your typical BTS feature with interviews and snippets of footage.

Storyboard to Film Comparison (8:44): Not a big fan of these, especially when it’s just people standing around talking.

Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
AWAKE is not a great film, but I wasn't expecting anything and got a little something (neato story, decent thrills, Jessica Alba/Lena Olin sexiness). A pleasant surprise like that doesn’t happen too often.

Extra Tidbit: I can't remember the last time I reviewed a movie and Terrence Howard wasn't in it.
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