So The Big Bang is supposed to be this stylish modern noire thriller mixed in with a goofy science narrative. That’s all pretty obvious, the distinctive back lighting, drastic shadowing, and plenty of asinine conversation about particles and string theory that goes nowhere.
It’s also overdone, searching for a style it doesn’t actually have, only fluorescent colors it seems to find nifty. Purple skies and orange and teal hotel rooms does not a stylish movie make. It merely makes it hard to watch.
In fact, were not for the infallible William Fichtner, Big Bang would have nothing to offer. Antonio Banderas is forced into a monotone, first-person recounting of his adventures as a shady detective, detailing his quest to recover a lost love for a fallen boxer.
Most of it is played for laughs, not so much a tribute to the noire directors as it is parodying their cliches and quirks. It’s all over once the exposed movie star flings his midget producer out of a second story window after setting the guy on fire. Whatever flash of brilliance the film had was extinguished with the little person.
Sam Elliot chews up some scenery and kills some as an uber-rich, spaced out science type. He builds a hadron collider, mostly just because it sets up an out during the finale for the leads. Big Bang’s mystery is wrapped up in all sorts of shenanigans, none of it generating much interest. Most of the science chatter is more interesting, and with little to no connection to the narrative at hand. It’s a perfect example of trying too hard.
With endless barrages of color, Big Bang finds itself in a precarious Blu-ray situation, the blazing reds, purples, yellows, and greens fired at the screen regardless of whether or not they work together. Images are tawdry, not fun to look at and appreciate no matter how many times the digital intermediate phase dipped into the color bin.
Those brazen palette choices effect definition too, reds bleeding across the image’s finest points, sapping the detail that otherwise would have been present. Yellows bleed into greens, creating harsh separation that almost seems like a defect. Smoke turns purple, the brightness cranked to 100, the AVC encode struggling to resolve the heavy grain structure within.
When it tones down, it’s within the confined interrogation room. Mostly shoveled into controlled whites and grays with a dab of flesh tones, facial detail will pop out unmistakably. Part of that is simply because these people suddenly look like people, not radioactive mutations. The other part is that texture is suddenly evident in all forms, a relief from the supposedly unique assault going on elsewhere.
Black levels will remain the one constant, the noire look producing rich, deep dimensionality, the type with no regard for shadow details, but that’s also the point. Contrast will have the life sucked out of it by the color, forced into working for the menagerie of unnatural hues. When it can escape, there’s a mild, acceptable bloom at work, creating a deeply contrasty image. It’s a shame that happens so little.
Big Bang’s TrueHD mix will partake in a few moments of modern audio exercises, although only when the opportunity arises. It will pan a train at 37:45, simply capturing the front-to-back movement naturally and cleanly without much impact. Still, it’s hard to miss when something here finally gets active.
Accentuating visual effects will remain its goal, a bit of dinner chatter on particles leading to a display of circling atoms on the ceiling that swirl about the soundfield pleasingly, adding a bit of punch to a dry dialogue string. At least it’s something to elevate the rather low, drowned out voices, seemingly recorded a few decibels lower than they should have been. A lot of it sounds like that, but mix in varied accents and things only become more complicated.
Much of the track’s energy is waiting to be expended for the finale, an earthquake (of sorts) kicking up the low-end rumble and finally giving this thing some life. Debris will scatter, heard from the interior of a car, bouncing off the roof with some genuinely effective design. It’s a fine note to go out on for this forgettable if technically sufficient mix.
A commentary comes from the mouths of director/producer Tony Krantz and co-producer Reece Pearson. Lex Parsimoniae is the 20-minute making-of, a decent piece as it moves from inception to completion. Finally (aside from trailers), you can check out a handful of extended scenes.