Movie Review: The Beaver Blu-ray

Mel Gibson stars as Walter Black, a severely depressed family man who has no hope but the use of a puppet to talk for him but even this sends him deeper into his own depression.

Film making 14/25

Video 20/25

Audio 23/25

Bonus Features 5/25

Total 62/100

Mel Gibson delivers a mediocre performance in The Beaver while the rest of the cast shine trying to deliver this tale of depression and the use of puppets to the forefront of mental therapy. The Beaver seems to be more about the use of a puppet to help mental problems but like many therapies there are dangers when dealing with the mind.

The Beaver stars Mel Gibson as Walter Black, Jodie Foster as Meredith Black and Anton Yelchin as their oldest son Porter. A family man with two sons, a loving wife and a successful toy company Walter seems to have it all but for some reason is having problems coping with his life.

Walter is so depressed that when his wife asks him to leave he tries to commit suicide only to have a puppet talk to him and bring him out of his slump. When Walter left he took boxes of his possessions including prototypes of toys but when he tries to kill himself a beaver puppet tries to bring him out of his problems.

The beaver puppet talks for Walter and when he goes home and spends some quality time with his son his wife is at first skeptical and concerned. Walter tells his wife the puppet is a therapy tool but after time he shows it seems to be working no matter who came up with the idea.

In the end the puppet cannot hold Walters problems at bay and Walter cuts off the puppet along with his hand in a fit of rage at the Beaver. Walter seems to come out of his problems after some hospital time and more therapy but he is still not going to go back to a happy family again.

The use of puppets in therapy is a good one and with guidance from a professional people can get help in their mental or emotional problems. The Beaver takes a long time to get emotional or entertaining and in the end all we see is the problems Walter has and the lengths he will go to try to get back with his family.

Jodie Foster and Anton Yelchin deliver some great supporting roles but Mel Gibson did not deliver and more so brought the film down with his emotionless appeal. Looking at the world of mental problems and the use of puppets you get the idea behind the film but the film fails to develop into the kind of film it obviously tried to become.

While I enjoyed many parts of the film and overall understand the concept the film just did not capture my heart like it was supposed to. This is one of those rental films and not a purchase unless you have an affinity for the stars or the subject matter.

Video and audio for The Beaver on Blu-ray is nothing short of what I have come to expect and see in Blu-ray movies from major studios with above average video and great sounding audio. Video is crisp and clear with great color and very good skin tone while blacks are sharp and well defined for the several scenes with night or dark shadows.

The video transfer to Blu-ray seems to be very good with a soft grain throughout that highlights the films serious nature and mostly down to earth locations. Audio is done with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that is very good and about as perfect as I have seen from dramas and other serious films.

The surround is used often and sounds very good even though this is not a film that you would expect much use of side or rear speakers. The audio has a nice balance between front heavy voice and music with subtle background and surround use to highlight what is happening and what you hear.

Bonus content on the Blu-ray release is a letdown, you get an audio commentary by director/actor Jodie Foster and a simple making of feature along with a couple of deleted scenes. The audio commentary and making of piece is worth a view once but like the film itself the bonus content is really only worth a rental.

The Beaver has the distinction of bringing great supporting performances but lacking in an overall well defined story that brings the audience to care for Walter and all his problems. Mental problems and their consequences are hard to bring to the big screen and Mel Gibson just fails to deliver a convincing role in The Beaver.