Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf
Posted on: July 28th, 2014
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Plot: What’s it about?

In one of many religious themed films released over the past several months, Heaven is for Real (based off the book) tells the story of a father hoping to share his son’s remarkable story with the world. After his son is rushed to the hospital, Pastor Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) decides this story needs to be told to many. His son Colton says that he went to heaven and saw Jesus, and shares several anecdotes about his life-changing experience. It would be easy for skeptics to doubt this story, but Colton is very sincere, and it’s not common for such a young boy to make up a story of this nature. It’s not as if he could’ve learned it from anyone. One of the things Colton says is how he met his miscarried sister, a sister that nobody ever told him about. There’s simply no way that he could’ve known that on his own. This more or less sets the stage for the film. This isn’t a particularly plot-heavy film, but its themes are clear early on. It’s a short film, but it does take a little while to get into the main plot. It begins rather slow, but I was never bored with it. I enjoyed some of the early moments showing Todd and his daily routine. He and his wife are having some financial troubles lately, and not everyone is happy with the things he’s preaching either.

I’ve never been a very religious person, but I did enjoy Heaven a bit. I’d even be inclined to say that there are some viewers who would enjoy it much more than myself. I’ve never personally experienced anything of this nature, so I can’t say the film hits close to home for me, but it is enjoyable. It’s also nice to see good natured, family film that all ages can enjoy. Outside of a sexual innuendo (made by Todd’s wife Sonja), the content here is very in line with its PG rating. It can feel a bit heavy-handed at times, but truthfully, it can be hard to make a film like this without it coming across that way. Subtlety can’t always work with a film like this. It’s a nice story with a good message and one that’s worth watching. Check it out.

Video: How’s it look?

The transfer is a winner on all counts. The Nebraska landscape is wide, and filled with strong clarity throughout. I may sound redundant in many of the video sections of my reviews, but sometimes, there’s only so much you can say about a solid transfer. The print is clean and pristine, colors are all nice and rich, with no softness to speak of. Background shots displayed nice details, and flesh tones accurate and smooth. The moments displaying Colton’s experience also show up nicely here. In short: This transfer is excellent. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track serves the film as it should. Things aren’t overly active here, but they’re presented appropriately. Vocals were clear sounding with no major issues. Rears kick in on occasion. There’s an early sequence at a baseball game that makes nice use of all channels. The music in the film can be heard nicely as well. This track satisfies, and serves the film as it should.

Supplements: What are the extras?

DVD Extras

  • Colton Goes to Heaven – Essentially the family retelling the story and why it is that they believe it.
  • Deleted Scenes – Not a lot of substance here and with the raw look and time stamping on them, it’s hard to tell what or why they were left out of the film.

Blu-ray Exclusives

  • The Making of Heaven is for Real – Running only 13 minutes, there’s a lot of information packed into this Blu-ray exclusive. We learn of the casting process, the adaptation of the best-selling novel to screen and some of the themes of the film. The shooting location (Canada) is also discussed and some behind the scenes footage is included as well.
  • Creating Heaven – Just that. How does one create the vision of heaven?  That’s explored here.
  • DVD/UltraViolet Copy
Heaven is for Real (Blu-ray)
MOVIE INFO.
YEAR RELEASED
2014
RATING
PG
DIRECTOR
Randall Wallace
STUDIO
Sony
RUNNING TIME
99 min.


Rotten 46%
TECH SPECS
  • BLU-RAY
  • (2.40:1)
  • Video Codec: AVC
  • Audio: DTS HD Master
  • 2 Disc Set
  • DISC FEATURES
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene(s)
  • Featurette
  • Documentary
  • Digital Copy

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