The Fabelmans 4K/UHD Review (Universal)
The Fabelmans is a 2022 coming-of-age drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Indiana Jones franchise, Ready Player One, War of the Worlds, E.T., Jurassic Park franchise, Saving Private Ryan, and Schindler’s List). It was co-written and produced by Tony Kushner (Munich, West Side Story, Lincoln, & Angels in America). The film is a semi-autobiographical story loosely based on Spielberg’s adolescence and first years as a filmmaker. The budget was $40 million and it grossed $38 million at the box office.On a January night in 1952, in New Jersey, Jewish couple Mitzi (played by: Michelle William from Venom, Manchester by the Sea, My Week with Marilyn, and Synecdoche, New York) and Burt Fabelman (played by: Paul Dano from The Batman, Little Miss Sunshine, There will be Blood, Looper, and Swiss Army Man) take their young son Sammy (played by: Mateo Zoryan from The Best Things in Life) to see his first film: Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth. Dazzled by a train scene, Sammy asks for a model set for Hanukkah, which he crashes late one night. Mitzi knowing Sammy’s intentions allows him to shoot another crash scene using Burt’s 8mm camera. Sammy soon begins filming regularly, sometimes involving his younger sisters Reggie (played by: Birdie Borria from You), Natalie (played by: Alina Brace from Sweet Magnolias), and Lisa (played by: Sophia Kopera from Scenes from a Marriage). Burt is offered a new job in Phoenix, Arizona, and he and the family move there in early 1957; at Mitzi’s insistence, Burt’s best friend and business partner Bennie Loewy (played by: Seth Rogen from Knocked up, Superbad, Pineapple Express, Funny People, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin) goes too. Years later, teenager Sammy (played by: Gabriel LaBelle from The Predator, Dead Shack, and American Gigolo) continues making films with his friends in the Boy Scouts, during which he begins utilizing post-production effects and subsequently earns a badge in photography. Mitzi’s mother passes away, leaving her especially distraught. Providing him with film editing equipment, Burt suggests Sammy turn the camping trip footage into a film to cheer Mitzi up. Sammy objects over the scheduling of his next film, but Burt, who sees his passion for film as simply a hobby, argues that the home movie is more important. The next morning, the Fabelmans receive a surprise visit from Mitzi’s uncle Boris (played by: Judd Hirsch from Taxi, Ordinary People, Independence Day, and A Beautiful Mind), a former lion tamer and film worker.That night, he speaks with Sammy about compromising his family with art, telling him that both aspects will continue to be at odds with one another. After Boris leaves, Sammy begins editing the camping trip footage, during which he finds evidence of Mitzi and Bennie having an affair. Burt receives another work promotion, requiring another move to Saratoga, California. Bennie tries to gift Sammy a new film camera. Sammy refuses the camera until Bennie lets him pay $35 for it. Despite purchasing the camera, Sammy announces he will never use it. He begins dating the devoutly Christian Monica (played by: Chloe East from The Wolf of Snow Hollow). While having dinner with the Fabelmans, she suggests that Sammy film their Ditch Day at the beach, something he considers and eventually accepts after Monica tells him her father owns a 16mm Arriflex camera that he would let him use. Mitzi and Burt announce their divorce due to her extreme depression and his discovery of the affair. This leaves the family heartbroken. At prom, Sammy declares his love for Monica and asks her to come with him to Hollywood after high school but she ends up breaking up with him, leaving him devastated. The Ditch Day film is played in front of Sammy’s peers to a rapturous response. The next morning, Mitzi and Sammy talk about their future together; just as she cannot give up her love for Bennie, she tells Sammy not to give up his love for filmmaking. The following year, Sammy is living with Burt in Hollywood. He wants to drop out of college, but is unable to find work in filmmaking. Burt begrudgingly accepts his son’s passion. Sammy finally receives an offer from CBS to work on Hogan’s Heroes. Knowing he is more interested in filmmaking, show co-creator Bernard Fein invites Sammy to meet director John Ford, one of his greatest filmmaking influences. Irascibly, Ford offers Sammy some pointers on framing. Newly invigorated, Sammy walks through the studio backlot. The camera frames the horizon in the center, contrary to Ford’s advice, then conspicuously tilts to place it at the bottom. Is a future born from this? What will happen next for the young director????If superheros can get their own origin stories on the big screen, why can’t the legendary Steven Spielberg do the same? This shows what made Steven Spielberg want to be a filmmaker and how he grew up following his dreams. It’s a nice inside look into his family and friends during his earlier days. Personally, Steven Spielberg has always been one of my all time favorite directors and he’s made some of my most watched movies in my lifetime so this was very cool to experience. It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards which includes Judd Hirsch’s amazing cameo in this one. The parents here played by Paul Dano and Michelle Williams were top notch. These two had some serious chemistry especially when it came to their family drama. Comedian Seth Rogen turns in a surprising serious and dramatic performance as Burt’s slimy business partner in this. I’ve never really paid much attention Gabriel LaBelle besides a few small roles in other stuff that I reviewed until this but he killed it here and held his own with all these veterans. I enjoyed the family atmosphere here. This is a very personal feature and it shows someone that never gave up. Like I said above, I’m a fan of the legendary Steven Spielberg but honestly I haven’t been that impressed with his last few projects for awhile except for Ready Player One but this one puts him on the right track again!!!!Let’s discuss the high definition presentation from Universal Pictures! This 2160p (1.85:1) transfer with Dolby Vision and HDR10 looks amazing in 4K. This one has fantastic production design and slick cinematography. It has a few different audio options which includes English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, and French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1 on the UHD. All of the dialogue is crystal clear, the dram is elevated, and the music has a nice boost to it. It also has English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.Let’s talk about the special features. “The Fabelmans: A Personal Journey” is 11 minutes. It goes over the origin of this. It talks about family and how personal this was. It shows how reality and fiction were combined to create this. “Family Dynamics” is a little over 15 minutes. It goes over the family here. It chats about the casting and the actors from the film. “Crafting the World of The Fabelmans” is a little over 22 minutes. It goes over the production design, costumes, and editing from the movie. It focuses on a few key scenes also. This home video release is not loaded with extras but everything that is here is real solid. This definitely worth adding to your collection. It comes with a slipcover, digital code, and a blu ray copy of the release. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!