James C. Clay // Film Critic
The 2019 cinematic year got off to a disappointing start with M. Night Shyamalan’s GLASS, a film that this reviewer respects immensely. It completes the unexpected trilogy, which began in 2000 with (Shyamalan’s best film) UNBREAKABLE and continued (with one of the best cinematic reveals of all time) 2016’s SPLIT, and now he ends this saga with a massive thud that’s fractured and, frankly, quite dull.
Critics and fans alike were divided on this film. It carried a 37% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 73% audience score, which isn’t great but is enough to keep the divisive discussion going. And now the film is available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Overall, it is worth watching to try to pick apart what Shyamalan was actually going for.
The biggest complaint I have been able to come up with is that the ideas he is working with, in regards to comic books, feel largely dated. We live in an age where comic books and superhero films have the largest cultural footprint over any form of entertainment, and when UNBREAKABLE was released (in November 2000), it was four months after the original X-MEN and roughly 18 months before Sam Raimi’s first SPIDERMAN film. Alas, we are here to discuss the Blu-ray for GLASS, and the features it yields. So, I will bite my tongue and let my review from the theatrical release speak for itself, which you can findhere.
That said, GLASS is worth the revisit at home given the small scale of the film. The photography and lighting play much better without the pomp and circumstance of the big screen experience, too.
But if you aren’t familiar with GLASS, here’s a synopsis from our review:
“We pick up with David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his son Joesph (Spencer Treat Clark) as if no time has passed since we last saw them at the end of UNBREAKABLE. Although it doesn’t feel like time has passed, David’s new identity as the rain-slicker wearing vigilante known as “The Overseer” who has partnered with his son to keep the streets of Philadelphia safe.
The father and son duo are tracking down Kevin Wendell Crumb aka Dennis aka Barry aka Hedwig aka Jade aka The Beast (James McAvoy), who is still suffering from D.I.D. and is still out there kidnapping and murdering young women who haven’t felt enough suffering within their life. Meanwhile, the villain and mastermind of this show, Elijah Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), is pulling the strings within a mental institution where he has broken now 94 bones and is still going strong. His big plan is to get The Beast to climb a building and kill people on live TV so that he can prove super-human beings exist.”
Just to be clear, the grading system of my Blu-ray boil down to special features, how they’re organized, and the information within. Sadly, as Ive discussed many of the major studio releases, they are either bare bones, unorganized, or void of any meaningful content.
GLASS is absolutely loaded with special features that break down and decode the symbolism in the film, from color schemes to comic book lore. The real crime, however, is it lacks depth and is scattered like buckshot. Many independent physical media distributors capitalize on their releases by filming in-depth interviews and commentaries that lead into a much larger conversation. Sometimes there’s even a feature-length documentary.
Take GLASS, for example, there are 10 mini-featurettes that run the gamut of discussing individual elements behind the film. Anything from a conversation between James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan, to stunt coordination, but the release only provides about 2-5 minutes of content throughout. As much as I love Blumhouse, this has been the standard practice behind their releases. They have the content and blueprint laid out to create home video releases their fans crave, yet they opt for a spastic and, often times, an ADHD approach to the release. Due to the price points, studios are going to have to step up to the plate and release content that is genuinely going to add to the viewing experience. This, unfortunately, does not, but it’s still hard to not recommend the film because its filmmaker takes a big creative swing.
Notable Special Features:
- Alternate Opening
- Deleted Scenes
- Collection of Main Characters
- A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan
- Glass Decoded
- David Dunn vs. The Beast
GLASS is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.