Scott Hicks adapts the Nicholas Sparks novel The Lucky One to the big screen with two more than capable leads that manage to find a strong connection in a somewhat weak story. Zac Efron‘s strength as a growing actor is almost surprising as he believably transforms himself from high school superstar to a full-blown Marine. His co-star Taylor Schilling also impresses with a performance that should put her on the map as an actresses capable of displaying a wide range of raw emotional intensity. The Lucky One isn’t the best Nicholas Sparks adaptation, but it’s far from the worst.
Logan (Zac Efron) is a celebrated Marine that has finally returned home after three grueling tours that ended in death for most of his friends. He somehow made it out alive and he mostly thinks he owes his life to a mysterious girl on a picture he found while on duty. He’s made it his goal to track down this complete stranger and thank her for keeping him safe during the hard times of warfare.
The girls name is Beth (Taylor Schilling) and he finds her, but can’t seem to find the words to describe his gratitude. So, instead of simply saying thanks and going his way, he slowly starts to form a relationship with her, despite her ex-husband trying his best to keep the two apart. From that point on the two share feelings for each other and open their hearts up to one another and realize that they both just might be the key to each other’s lives.
The Lucky One is a safe and formulaic approach to a genre that has been winning women’s hearts over for decades. There’s nothing wrong with it at all, but accepting The Lucky One means you’ll have to get over some of the over-dramatic acting and sappy lines of dialogue that are sprinkled throughout. You’ll also have to accept the love story, even though it’s fairly implausible and downright creepy from a certain perspective.
I was able to look past it and find a romance that didn’t offend me as much as I’d thought. This is mostly due to Zac Efron’s uncanny ability to act. I never thought I’d be saying this, but the man is growing into a fine actor of his generation. He can play the part and walk the walk without hesitation and with full awareness of the scene in which he’s in. Efron brings a screen presence that might just surprise you, especially those that immediately disregard him because of his previous acting credits.
His co-star Taylor Schilling shares the emotions and provides a performance that is equally impressive, if not slightly more eye-opening, only because I’ve never heard of her until this point. The two share strong chemistry and it’s that chemistry that holds the film together, even with its countless flaws.
The ending just might be one of the biggest flaws, because it plays out so much like a Lifetime Channel movie and not so much like a studio production. Some things get a little too mushy for my tastes, but that just might be because I’m not exactly the film’s target audience.
Still, the film works because of its simple intentions and director Scott Hicks’ ability to play on that simplicity and deliver a familiar and acceptable romance.
Warner Brothers’ 1080p video transfer absolutely glows. The film’s picture is very warm and welcoming, which means natural skin tones and mostly stable clarity. I noticed some blur and impartial detail during a few up close shots, but a majority of the transfer is bursting full of color and most of that thanks belongs to the beautiful scenery shot by cinematographer Alar Kivilo.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track spoils your eardrums early on, whenever the film has flashbacks to war and gunfire, but then becomes a soothing experience as dialogue is mostly rendered on the front channels, with the back channels sticking with the basic sound of nature and all that it brings. Romantic films rarely get perfect scores in this department, but only because they’re held at a disadvantage due to mostly consisting of talking and subtle noises. The Lucky One mostly fits into that standard, but it does get a few points for featuring a small amount of action and range during the opening war scenes.
The combo pack only comes with three short special features, a DVD copy and a digital copy. Here’s a full list below:
- Zac Efron Becomes a Marine (HD): A short piece that details Efron’s extensive training to play the part of a Marine. It contains footage of the cast and crew discussing Efron’s commitment to the role.
- Watch the Sparks Fly: The Romantic World of The Lucky One (HD): Another short feature that introduces author Nicholas Sparks and talks more about his involvement with his books that are adapted to films. Efron and Sparks are shown in a brief interview where the two go on to discuss how to properly bring the characters to life on the screen.
- Zac and Taylor’s Amazing Chemistry (HD): A look at how important the chemistry of the two leads was to both the actors and director Scott Hicks. Footage from their test screening is shown that gives you an early peek at the characters forming.
- DVD Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
Approaching The Lucky One should be straight forward and fairly easy. You should know exactly what to expect, because of the material it’s based upon. Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling elevate some of the sappier dialogue and character points, but that still doesn’t make the film anything more than just another romance to please the ladies for a couple’s night. Nicholas Sparks makes specific novels that feature specific characters with similar flaws and The Lucky One fits that mold almost identically.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.