The Peanut Butter Falcon is a stone-cold stunner of a movie where an unexpected friendship blossoms between two people on their way to a pro-wrestling school. It’s the most enchanting movie I’ve seen in a long time. Lionsgate delivers a great 1080p HD transfer along with a prime-sounding DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix. Bonus features are scarce on this one, but the movie speaks enough for itself. Highly Recommended!
Two unlikely friends pair up for an adventure of a lifetime in The Peanut Butter Falcon, (not to be confused with The Peanut Butter Solution). With a modest helping of heart, soul, and comedy, along with some sprinkles of Mark Twain, ‘Stand By Me‘, and the best thing in the world – Pro-Wrestling, this film hits all of the right notes from start to finish and quickly became on my favorite movies.
From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine and Election, who teamed up with new directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, comes this wonderful, heartwarming film that will have you laughing and tearing up with these characters. Nilson and Schwartz have perfectly crafted their first movie that feels realistic while having a fantastical element to it, while never losing that balance and tipping the scales to one side.
We first me Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with down syndrome, who was abandoned by his parents and left to live in a nursing home with an old Bruce Dern as his roommate. Zak’s goal and dream in life are to become a pro-wrestler, just like his wrestling hero The Salt Water Redneck played perfectly by Thomas Hayden Church. The only person to really look after Zak is Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) who works at the old-age community, who has a difficult, but loving relationship with Zak, who constantly plans his escape from the retirement home. One night, he is successful and runs into Tyler (Shia LaBeouf).
Tyler is still dealing with the loss of his older brother and can’t seem to hold down a job. He is not treated well within the fishing community, where Duncan (John Hawkes) has a severe disdain for Tyler and would like to commit physical harm to him. After Tyler causes havoc on the fishing dock, he runs away and meets Zak, where the two hit it off and are both wanted by the authorities for different reasons. The two develop a friendship where Tyler promises Zak to get him to the wrestling school. On the way there, they learn some valuable life lessons, have fun, and get into trouble. There is a bit of Homer’s Oddysey at play here as well in this more adult version of a coming-of-age story.
You can’t help by fall in love with Zak and Tyler in this film. Their honesty and pure emotion hook you early on as they learn to shoot guns, swim, and have deep conversations that seem very important to one another. By the end of the film, you’ll feel apart of this friendship, and that’s rare in cinema. Gottsagen and LaBeouf turn in riveting performances and you can easily tell why the filmmakers made a movie when they met Zack Gottsagen. He oozes charm and wit. LaBeouf also gives a magnificent show as well and might be my favorite film he has starred in.
You might recognize a few pro-wrestlers in the film too, (I’m looking at you Mick Foley and Jake “The Snake” Roberts), who also served as consultants on the movie. With an impressive, soulful folk soundtrack and astonishing camerawork that captures the beauty of the Nort East coast, The Peanut Butter Falcon is this year’s most remarkable movie.
Lionsgate jumps from the top rope with a wonderful 1080p HD transfer of The Peanut Butter Falcon in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The detail and muted color palette look excellent in this presentation as the unlikely duo set out across the North Eastern countryside.
The color scheme is subdued a little bit in both exterior and interior locations, giving the film a rustic, backwoods feel. The skies and water are more of a steely grey than a bold shade of blue, but it works in this particular tone. The green leaves and tall grass have varying degrees of suppressed greens, along with the off white sandy beaches and wooden docks, all of which are well-balanced and weathered. Shia’s tattered and worn red hat sticks out nicely against the more earthy colors in the background. At the wrestling event, there are more primary colors that show up in people’s outfits. Black levels are stable without any evidence of crush in the nighttime sequences and the skin tones are natural.
The detail is distinct in both wide shots and closeups. The scraggly hairs on Shia’s face and beard look defined as do the small freckles and makeup blemishes on Dakota and Zack. The threads in the red hat along with their wet and dirty clothes show all the dirt and debris they’ve picked up on their journey. Even with the restrained color palette, the detail in the background of eroded houses and boats of rust and decay show up nicely.
There were no video issues with aliasing, banding or noise that crept up here, making this a very pleasing image.
This Blu-ray release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track and sounds great for a dramatic film with no real action sequences or big shootouts. Instead, there is a lot of soft dialogue between two people in rural New England and it sounds phenomenal.
Sound effects of boat engines revving up, water splashing and the occasional wrestling ring mat drop all are packed with heft and bass that has a nice rumble to it. Other sound effects of birds flying by and the wind blowing through trees are robust and lively. The big wrestling sequence towards the end of the film has the most immersive experience with the wrestling fans cheering on all sides of the speakers, while the center channel is focused on dialogue and the two performers in the ring. There is some good directionality here as well.
The score and music choices always add to the emotional impact of the movie and the dialogue are always clear and easy to follow along with, free of any audio problems.
Unfortunately, this is a barebones release of one oft he best movies of the year. The only real bonus feature here is an EPK of how they met Zack and a couple of sequences of them being interviewed and production footage. It’s well done, but I wish there was more. In all, there are only about 10 minutes of bonus material.
Zack’s Story: The Making of The Peanut Butter Falcon (HD, 6 Mins.) – This is a short, but excellent EPK piece where the directors and actors talk about meeting Zack and why they made the movie for him. It’s sweet and super cool to see how much fun everyone had. Too bad it wasn’t longer.
Images from The Peanut Butter Falcon (HD, 1 Min.) – A slideshow of several production photos and screencaps of the film.
Theatrical Trailer (HD, 3 Mins.) – Trailer for the movie.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
The Peanut Butter Falcon is one of the most charming films of the year and is expertly shot and acted. It’s not very often where a movie like this comes along and has such a profound and emotional impact while being funny and witty at the same time. Both the video and audio presentations are admirable, but I wish there was more in the way of extras. Still, this comes Highly Recommended!
Written by: Bryan Kluger