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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Vanilla Sky [Blu-ray]


(Cameron Crowe, 2001)



Re-released on Blu-ray by Paramount in November 2021:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount Pictures

Video: Warner



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Theatrical Runtime: 2:16:01.485 / Alternate Ending version: 2:21:33.776

Disc Size: 43,601,631,631 bytes

Theatrical Feature Size: 29,977,804,800 bytes

Alternate Ending Feature Size: 31,175,424,000 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.42 - 22.44 Mbps

Chapters: 28 (both)

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 30th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3736 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3736 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround


NOTE: No DUBs on the Alternate Ending Version - only English track accessible


Subtitles (for both versions):

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• Feature Commentary by Cameron Crowe, Nancy Wilson and Tom Cruise (on both versions)
13 Alternate Scenes with Commentary by director Cameron Crowe (23:19)

Prelude to a Dream (6:15)

Hitting it Hard - interview with Paul McCartney (1:36)

Gag Reel (5:30)

Mask Test with optional Crowe commentary (3:24)

Kurt Russell Single Take with optional Crowe commentary  (6:10)
Photo Gallery with option introduction by Photographer Neal Preston (intro: 2:51 + gallery: 18:13)
Music Video "Afrika Shox" by Leftfield/ Afrika Bambaataa (3:59)

• Unreleased Teaser Trailer (1:43)

• International Trailer (2:51)

• Supplements credits text page



1) Theatrical Cut - TOP

2) Alternate Ending version - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



Description: Tom Cruise delivers one of his finest performances in this unforgettably powerful film that reunites him with his Jerry Maguire director, Cameron Crowe. Young, handsome and wealthy, publishing tycoon David Aames (Cruise) can have anything his heart desires. Still, David's charmed life seems incomplete. One night, David meets the woman of his dreams (Penélope Cruz) and believes he may have found the missing piece. But a fateful encounter with a jealous lover (Cameron Diaz) suddenly sends David's world out of control, rocketing him on a roller-coaster ride of romance, sex, suspicion and a shocking, final awakening you will never forget.



The Film:

A remake of the Spanish film Open Your Eyes (1997), this thriller from director Cameron Crowe bears one of several discarded titles for his previous, Oscar-winning film Almost Famous (2000). Tom Cruise stars as David Ames, a womanizing playboy who finds romantic redemption when he falls in love with his best friend's girlfriend Sofia (Penelope Cruz, reprising her role from the original film). Before that relationship can begin, however, David is coaxed into a car driven by an ex-lover, Julie (Cameron Diaz), who turns out to be suicidal. Driving her car off a bridge, Julie kills herself and horribly disfigures David. Reconstructive surgery and the loving support of Sofia seem to reverse David's luck, but eerie incidents are soon making him question the reality of his existence and his control over his life, even while he is suspected of complicity in Julie's death. Vanilla Sky (2001) bears the expected Crowe trademark of an obsession with recent pop culture and particularly rock music, a more important element of the remake than the original film. That project's writer/director, Alejandro Amenabar, crafted his own supernatural hit the same year with The Others (2001), starring Nicole Kidman, the soon-to-be-ex-wife of Cruise.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Yes, ''Vanilla Sky'' is a timely fable about male vanity. The message of the film, which reunites the star with Cameron Crowe, who directed him in ''Jerry Maguire,'' isn't exactly reassuring. Looks are everything, it says, with money (preferably oodles of it) a close second. But if you lose your looks, all the money in the world won't mean diddly unless it can somehow buy them back.

In this highly entertaining, erotic science-fiction thriller that takes Mr. Crowe into Steven Spielberg territory, Mr. Cruise emerges from a near-fatal car crash with a grotesquely disfigured face. Then, through a miracle of cosmetic surgery, his beauty and the perfect love it once attracted are restored. Or so it seems.

Excerpt from NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Vanilla Sky, after a number of faux-release dates, finally gets released on Blu-ray by Paramount.  The theatrical version is seamlessly branched with the 'alternate ending' version, with essentially the same bitrate but there was an issue. The branching moves over with about 20-minutes of the film left (since that is where the differences begin), but the 1080P quality alters to be significantly less in the 'alt' version sequence starting with 20-minutes left in the film. It was even highly noticeable on my 40 inch system and dramatically on my 60". I also had trouble obtaining screen captures of this to identify it to you. It almost looks like an upscale of SD. The title of the film is at the ending - and even that quality is affected. This is an unusual problem. I doubt it is a mistake although my usual software crapping-out may be a sign that it is. Perhaps the footage of the 'alt' only exists in SD? Could that be true? The theatrical and most of the alt (they are the same as they are seamlessly branched) is quite strong (see captures below). Crisp, tight, excellent contrast... it looks beautiful on the dual-layered disc with supportive bitrate. This Blu-ray 'theatrical cut' and majority portion of the 'alt' is impressive in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio.  But please heed my warning of the last 20-minutes of the 'alt' cut - is massively different from the rest of the transfer's visual quality.


As told to us in email "You are absolutely correct that the picture quality of the Alternate Ending does not compare to the transfer of the film itself, simply because we did not have access to the original negative of the dailies from the film when we were in production of the Blu-ray, and there were no HD transfers done of that version of the film back in 2001, since it was never the final version of the film. We worked from the highest quality video sources possible, mixed from the best sound sources available, and ultimately the decision was made to include the Alternate Ending on the Blu-ray in its entirety simply because we felt the material was considerably different from the theatrical release, and would be fascinating viewing for fans of the film, despite the downgrade in picture quality." (Thanks!)




















Audio :

Paramount use a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround for both versions. There are plenty of effects from the car scenes to separated external noise and music in bars and the score by Nancy Wilson (Almost Famous) - along with a cornucopia of other music including Radiohead, Red House Painters, The Impressions, Peter Gabriel, R.E.M., U2, The Rolling Stones, Todd Rundgren, The Beach Boys, Sinéad O'Connor and Paul McCartney's theme song - all sounding marvelously rich and deep via the lossless. NOTE: there are only DUBs (Dolby French and Spanish) for the Theatrical version. The 'Alt-ending' version only has English audio (similar DTS-HD surround), but also offers the commentary and both have optional subtitles. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

We get the same feature commentary from the 2002 DVD by Cameron Crowe and Nancy Wilson with a smidgeon of Tom Cruise via phone and it is available on both versions. Also repeated from the 13-year old DVD are the 6-minute Prelude to a Dream featurette, the brief Hitting it Hard interview with Paul McCartney, the Gag Reel, Unreleased Teaser Trailer and Photo Gallery. What is new are 13 Alternate Scenes, running almost 25-minutes, with optional commentary by Crowe, a short scene of the Mask Test - also with optional Crowe commentary and 6-minutes of Kurt Russell 'Single Take' with an excellent commentary by the director. There is also a 3-minute International Trailer, Music Video "Afrika Shox" by Leftfield/ Afrika Bambaataa and 'Supplements Credits' text page.



I love it when films provoke divisive reactions. You can find critics who revere Vanilla Sky  quite highly... and those that were not at all impressed. I am in the former camp. I thought Crowe's adaptation of Open Your Eyes created a fascinating film experience - well beyond mainstream Hollywood expectations.  The flaw in the Blu-ray isn't as impacting for those only interested in the theatrical version. I honestly think they should not have added the 'alt-ending' if they couldn't offer it in similar HD quality. I still am intrigued by the film and feel it is a Blu-ray, with its substantial extras, that many will want to own. I DO revisit this film! 

Gary Tooze

June 24th, 2015



Re-released on Blu-ray by Paramount in November 2021:


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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