Published on April 17th, 2019 | by Dan Nicholls0
Glass Blu Ray Review
Dan reviews the blu ray of M. Night’s Glass, taking a look at all the features and goodies that fans of the movie will love.
January’s blockbuster Glass, one of the most debated and divisive films of 2019 so far, is now available to own on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download. A trilogy-capper that follows the beloved Unbreakable and Split, Glass is a small-scale, thoughtful suspense thriller where David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) all confront each other in order to face their destinies.
Night Shyamalan basically willed Glass into existence on his own and the end result is nothing if not fascinating. Whether you loved it, hated it, or just plain didn’t know what to make of it, there is a whole lot of narrative and thematic material to unpack with this one. My original review was positive with some reservations but repeated viewings have built Glass up instead of breaking it down. It increasingly leaves deeper cuts each time I see it and would’ve been a no-brainer for my home collection even without the plethora of bonus material that has been included.
Alternate Opening (with an introduction from M. Night Shyamalan)
M. Night’s explanation for this opening is that he wanted to introduce the Raven Hill Memorial setting as the main location for the film. It was a wise move to start the film with Miss Patricia instead, and the footage used in this cut sequence was ultimately mostly re-cut into the film later on. We see the maintenance guys setting up the security cameras that will eventually serve as an important plot device, plus we get a few extra looks at “the machine” being set up as well as some glances at the other inmates. In the end, it isn’t a great way to grab attention off the hop and the wiser decision was made for the better of the film.
The introductions to each scene from M. Night are valuable insights into the mind of a filmmaker. The scenes themselves are generally less interesting than the thought and consideration that was put into them, but for die-hard lovers of Unbreakable such as myself, they’re still a treat.
David Alone at Bar
M. Night says it “really hurt” him to excise this from the film. Not a lot happens in this “slice of life” scene watching David drinking by himself after his first interaction with Joseph. It’s brief but any additional time spent with David would have been appreciated considering his character is arguably the most underserved by this story.
Patricia Talks to Cheerleaders
An extended version of the film’s very first scene. In standard M. Night fashion, it’s captured in a visually impressive manner but overstays its welcome. But it is a good example of the discerning creative choices that go into the editing process.
David Meets Pierce
Despite the writer-director’s insistence that this a “beautiful” little moment it’s actually just a waste of space. Including it would have given Pierce (the dickish orderly at Raven Hill) too much of a presence he doesn’t deserve alongside far more interesting characters.
Casey in Art Class
A juxtaposition to the character’s introduction in Split, the dialogue is a little heavy-handed but more clearly establishes her emotional connection to Kevin. As it stands, the first look we get at her in the finished product is just as good.
Dr. Staple Explains the Machine
Night’s reason for cutting it stands as a solid excuse – it’s too much time with side characters when we should be with our main trio. Plus, it would once again show more concentration on Pierce than is needed.
Mrs. Price in Waiting Room
Called “the Spielberg shot” during filming, this short moment would have preceded the conversation we get between Elijah’s mother and Dr. Staple. Sweet, and nice that it pays respect to actress Charlayne Woodard for coming back after 19 years. This could have stayed in and not thrown things off balance.
Mrs. Price Talks to Elijah
Night tries to keep it hip by dropping the word “squad” (see also: Drake, Salt Bae, etc). This is a nicely acted little moment between Jackson and Woodard but doesn’t have much thematic or emotional weight.
Dr. Staple Drinks Tea
A “supernatural” moment featuring a character completely cut from the finished film. We see a patient ominously tell Dr. Staple that her true motives may not be quite so pure. Even knowing the twists and turns to come regarding Dr. Staple, it doesn’t make any sense.
Pierce Checks Elijah’s Room
Too much goddamn Pierce! Every time he appears in these deleted scenes it’s proof positive that fewer beats with this character plays off better for the audience. Next!
Mrs. Prices Tells Elijah About Surgery
The mother warns the son and slyly hints that she’s chosen a side in the battle of good versus evil. This contains a great little performance from Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah subtlety signals to his mother that he’s more in control than the rest of the hospital knows.
David Submits to Dr. Staple
This one could’ve stayed in and the film would’ve been better for it. The eventual payoff between the two characters in the finished film still feels like it comes out of the blue, but a moment like this would’ve helped prepare the audience in a subtle, tiny way for the resolution to come.
Patients Worship The Beast
A moment of glory as The Beast stands before a huddled mass of the broken as their champion. Visually interesting but that’s as far as it goes.
The Collection of Main Characters
David, Elijah, and Kevin each get brief little vignettes that delve into each character’s psychology. The actors behind the superheroes are shown proper appreciation for bringing the fantastical story elements to life while keeping the emotions real. Fast mention is given to the supporting cast but McAvoy, Willis, and Jackson are understandably the ones who garner the most attention.
A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan
The writer/director and top-billed star have an amiably back-and-forth asking each other questions about their respective crafts. You get a real sense of the comradery and respect they have for each other, which has manifested itself pretty nicely in two movies. Watching their chemistry as they discuss their processes makes one hope they team up again on a new project at some point in the future.
Bringing the Team Back Together
A nostalgic featurette looking at the history of the crew that largely reassembled to rejoin the story almost two decades later. The one thing that’s stressed is how fun and inclusive the set was. Smiles all around, and it’s a heartwarming glimpse into the “family” feeling some close-knit crews can develop.
David Dunn vs. The Beast
A specific featurette exploring the film’s climactic parking lot sequence. McAvoy’s commitment to the physicality required is of particular impressive note.
Night sheds some insight on the choices behind costumes, props, and the color palette of the film.
Breaking Glass: The Stunts
This featurette dials in directly on the careful and meticulous stunts that remain grounded in reality while providing some much-needed spectacle to munch your popcorn to.
Connecting the Glass Universe
In case you didn’t know, Glass brings together the characters from Unbreakable and Split. This brief featurette drives home that point for those who slept on the notice.
Night Shyamalan: Behind the Lens
We zero in on the “auteur” Shyamalan and his considerable talents. It maybe is a bit too self-serving but contains a few seconds of genuine directorial insight to his thought process.
The Sound of Glass
One of the undeniably strong aspects of the film is its sound design and music score. We spend most of the time in this featurette with composer West Dylan Thordson, who goes into incredible detail on his process. Glass has one of the most memorable scores of any movie so far this year and it’s a delight to be let in on the unique methodology and rare on-set location score recording. It really amplifies the score’s effect more than first meets the ear.
Enhancing the Spectacle
You might not think VFX plays much of a role given how intimate and grounded Glass is, but the Visual Effects are given the spotlight and their proper due. Those seemingly invisible touches go miles towards keeping you sucked into the story instead of taking you out of it.
Raven Hill Memorial
Allentown, PA is home to an abandoned asylum that became absolutely indispensable to the film. Locations always add so much more than any set recreation could convey but this one’s practically a full character in the movie. The atmosphere is intensified naturally due to the location’s built-in production value. As Samuel L. Jackson notes, it is a “creepy place to shoot”.
A fascinating peek at the correlation between pre-production storyboards and what the finished frames eventually look like. The compositions are pretty spot-on with the storyboards, proving the intricate and exacting attention to detail that M. Night possesses.
The special features on the Blu-ray release are prime examples of why physical media will always be indispensable for film lovers looking to understand and appreciate how a film goes from an idea to a wide release. Glass is loaded with goodies to explore and the whole package makes for one damn good home video release.