The holiday season hasn’t been that bright for seven year old Damian (Alex Etel) and his family, as his mother has just died and his father struggles to cope with the loss. Damian has a cardboard playhouse near the railroad tracks by his home, so when a train rolls through and a bundle of cash falls off, the money bounces right into his playhouse. He and his nine year old brother Anthony (Lewis Gibbons) discover the cash and decide it was a gift from heaven. After all, Damian can see and talk with Saints and they tell him to use the money for charity, so that is what happens. Some small gestures are soon taken, such as taking pizza to homeless men, but the brothers debate how to proceed. The conversion from pounds to euros is soon to happen, but will the boys make good use of the cash before it is obsolete?
I have never been a big fan of family cinema, as most of the movies aimed at families are either dumb comedies or knee jerk dramas. But I was looking forward to Millions, as director Danny Boyle has been involved with several other films I have enjoyed. Not family films, mind you, but still, he was a talent I appreciated, so I held out some hope. Millions is sentimental, as I knew it would be, but it is done in a natural, effective fashion, which makes all the difference in the world. This movie never insults our intelligence and in facts, inspires thought, a rare element these days. The premise is simple, but the details that flesh out the basics take a lot of risks, risks that more often than not, work out quite well. This is one of those movies that kids will like and so will adults, thanks to the different levels involved. As I said before, I don’t often take to family cinema, but Millions is an exception and it is well recommended.
Video: How does it look?
Millions is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The source print is pristine and shows no grain, which means the visuals come across in sharp and ever impressive form. The colors stream across the screen in vivid hues and no signs of flaws, while flesh tones seem natural and consistent also. No issues in terms of contrast either, as black levels are razor sharp and no visible detail loss is evident. This is just a superb visual treatment from Fox, as the movie looks terrific.
Audio: How does it sound?
As with most family films of this kind, this one has a solid audio presence, but never rises much beyond the basics. But the material is well served, so I can’t complain too much about the soundtrack, as it does sound solid. The film is driven by dialogue, so sound effects aren’t often high impact or dynamic, but as I said, the material doesn’t need those elements. The music comes through well, with a rich presence that engages the surrounds and in the process, opens up the mix a little and that’s very welcome here. No complaints with the dialogue either, which sounds clean and easy to understand at all times. This disc also includes a Spanish language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The audio commentary track with director Danny Boyle and writer Frank Cottrell Boyce is a disappointment, at least to me it was. I wanted to learn more about the “why” behind the film and instead, they cover more of the “how” and that was a let down to me. The track is technical in most instances, dealing with the special effects and cast members. I think there could have been a lot to discuss in regard to the spiritual side of the movie, but that is overlooked in the session. This disc also includes a quartet of brief behind the scenes featurettes, as well as a selection of deleted scenes.