Blu-ray
Highly Recommended
3 stars
Overall Grade
3 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
4 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
3.5 Stars
Supplements
1 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

Ruby Sparks

Street Date:
October 30th, 2012
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
November 12th, 2012
Movie Release Year:
2012
Studio:
20th Century Fox
Length:
104 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated R
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

'Ruby Sparks' is a great follow up film from the directors of 'Little miss Sunshine.' It's the story of a writer and his creative process, which comes to life… literally. Zoe Kazan wrote a great script, and with the help of directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 'Ruby Sparks' hits every beat.

The film centers on Calvin (Paul Dano), a 20-something writer whose first and only book became a huge success. Since then, he has suffered from writer's block, a thing most of us have gone through. In the vein of films like 'Harvey' and 'Stranger Than Fiction,' 'Ruby Sparks' delivers that fantasy element of "What if my writing and characters come to life?" Inspired by the myth of sculptor Pygmalion, who was in love with one of his creations and saw it come to life, Zoe Kazan plays Ruby Sparks, a character in Calvin’s new book. Calvin dreams of her and eventually writes a page or two about her only to walk into his seemingly empty house to find a strange girl who mimics the exact person he wrote.

At first he thinks he is the only one who sees her, but once they're out in public, others start communicating with her, and his world is turned upside down. The only person he lets in on this little secret is his brother Harry (Chris Messina), who can’t believe his own eyes either. Calvin that this is the real thing and not just a person Calvin has hired to play a practical joke by having Calvin write something for her to do on the spot. Calvin types on his old school typewriter that Ruby Sparks suddenly speaks fluent French and that is the only language she knows. As Ruby is downstairs cooking dinner, she bursts in to speaking French and doesn’t realize she is doing anything out of the ordinary. Quickly, Calvin changes her language back to English.

This begins the story of Ruby and Calvin. It’s as if they have been together for years and they know everything about one another. Calvin only had one relationship in his life and that ended badly. So he is eager to be with someone again. Since he created Ruby, they're instantly in love and he vows to not write her life for his benefit. As time goes on though, Ruby seems more distant from Calvin, which forces him to write Ruby as always wanting to be with him at all times. This is very comical as Ruby literally cries if he gets up from the couch to get a glass of water because she will miss him. From this point, Calvin plays Ruby’s puppet-master as he tries to generate a good balance between them.

Calvin even drives Ruby out to his mother’s house on the coast to meet her. Calvin’s mother is played by Annette Bening, where she lives in an oasis of sorts with her boyfriend/lover played by the hilarious Antonio Banderas. Their house is very inviting with tons of plants and colors and art around cozy big furniture complete with an adult treehouse and large pool. This house actually belongs to Sid Krofft, the creator of ‘H.R. PufnStuf’. You can only imagine how great and magical that house was. As everyone is enjoying the free-spirit vibe at this house, Calvin retreats himself to a lone bedroom to read. He does not want to have anything to do with his family. This is off putting to Ruby and we see the two grow apart. Calvin sees his creation and himself as the opposite of what he wanted.

Kazan’s script is excellent and charming all the way through. There is never a dull moment, and you almost want their relationship, at least in the beginning you do. And with Dayton and Faris’s direction, ‘Ruby Sparks’ never feels fake or manipulative. It flows easily and you develop a real relationship with the characters. This might be, because Faris and Dayton are a real life couple as well as Dano and Kazan.

‘Ruby Sparks’ is a great little film that you won’t soon forget. I’m sure you have seen similar stories to this one, but you haven’t seen one this good or this charming. You’ll be coming back for more with ‘Ruby Sparks’.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Ruby Sparks' comes in glorious 1080p HD and has a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

The whole film looks beautiful. The colors pop in a way that is out of a fairy tale, meaning there is a more ivory and soft look to the picture. The black levels are deep and inky and never ruin the shadow detail. The skin tones are natural and smooth with the detail looking perfect.

The image has amazing clarity and also has a nice filmic quality to it, which I enjoyed and I think it fits this type of movie perfectly. I did not notice any noise or flaws with the video presentation.

Overall, the image looks great with no problems to speak of.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

'Ruby Sparks' has a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and sounds impressive for being a romantic comedy.

The dialogue is crystal clear and even. The ambient noise trickles through the rear speakers nicely when they are available. And the score and soundtrack come across full with no instances of distortion or flaws. Since, this is mostly a dialogue driven film, there aren't a lot of directional sounds, but the music crescendos really liven the mood.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

The extras here are weak and consist of promo dribble from the studio consisting mostly of film footage.

  • The Story(HD, 4 mins) -All of these extras are mostly promo items from the film, which is unfortunate. This particular one features interviews and film footage and talks about how the story for the film was conjured up.
  • The Cast (HD, 4 mins) - Talking head interviews mixed with film footage, this extras talks about the cast of the film and how they got everyone involved and some stories on set.
  • Real Life Couples (HD, 3 mins) - Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and actors Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan are actual real life couples and they both discuss the perks and not so good perks of working together.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For (HD, 4 mins) - More of the same as above, where interviews of the cast and crew feature themes and motifs for the film.
  • Los Angeles: The Other Character (HD, 3 mins) - Here we see the city of Los Angeles as the directors and writers wanted it be seen as in the film. Which was more of anytown, USA, than Hollywood.

  • Theatrical Trailers (HD, 3 mins) - The theatrical trailer for the film as well as others.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no exclusive HD extras.

Final Thoughts

'Ruby Sparks' is a great film with amazing acting and writing. It's one of the better romantic comedy films to come out in quite sometime. Maybe, that's because of it's mixed bag of drama. The characters are all likable and the direction is phenomenal. The audio and video presentations are perfect for this film. However, the extras are less than I would have hoped for. That being said, 'Ruby Sparks' won me over and it will win you over too. Highly Recommended.

Technical Specs

  • BD-50 Blu-ray Disc

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.85:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English, French, Spanish

Supplements

  • Behind the Story
  • Real-Life Couples: Co-Stars & Directors
  • Be Careful What You Wish For
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Sneak Peeks of: The Sessions, The Blu-ray Experience and Lola Versus

Exclusive HD Content

  • Getting to Know the Cast
  • Los Angeles: The Other Character

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