3 Generations - Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    3 Generations

    [​IMG]
    Movie: :2.5stars:
    Video: :3.5stars:
    Audio: :4stars:
    Extras: :halfstar:
    Final Score: :3stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    The world is a changing for sure, and with those changes new stories come to the surface. With the LGBTQ world taking a more public stance on their issues, naturally more stories regarding them come to the surface as well. Some of them controversial, some of them simply just happen, but they still are taking a more prominent role in Hollywood. Something which has the potential for more unique stories and more unique takes on traditional roles. The problem is, most of these efforts come across as little more than propaganda pieces, or at least simply contrived and cliched to the extreme. There was a fantastic opportunity a few years back when Julianne Moore played the role of real life Laurel Hester, a woman fighting for the right for her legally espoused domestic partner (played by Ellen Page) to inherit her pension like most married couples would have. Again, the film had POTENTIAL, but came across as overly preachy by turning the opponents into evil mustache twirling caricatures to get it’s point across. The same can be said for this year’s 3 Generations, which does much the same with the whole transgender issue as Elle Fanning plays a young girl who is trying to change herself (as much as she can) into a boy.

    3 Generations started out titled Three Generations, before moving on to About Ray (probably the most accurate title), before ending up with the title before us. Ironically I reviewed a much scummier film dealing with transgenderism in The Assignment, which had Michelle Rodriguez being altered against her/his will as a revenge plot, but 3 Generations takes a more dramatic and personal take on the issue. Ray (Elle Fanning) was originally born as Ramona to mother Maggie (Naomi Watts). However, Ray has what most people call gender dysphoria. A sense that the person is not the sex that they are born with. Ray has struggled for years under the illusion that she might get better, but now has settled on going completely over the line with hormone therapy and surgery to become a full-fledged “boy” if you will. Maggie is having a hard time dealing with the changes in her little “girl”, but is open to the idea, even if she’s not too keen on it. Grandmother Dolly (Susan Sarandon) and her partner Frances (Linda Emond) are a bit more “traditional” (as traditional as a lesbian grandmother can be), and really are frustrated at the turn of events.

    Despite the frustrations, angers, and chaos that surrounds Ray, “he” is bound and determined to finish the gender reassignment and get on with his life. The only problem is that Maggie is not the only person that has to sign off on the 16-year old’s paperwork. Ray has to have his estranged father sign off as well, and that may turn out to be a whole different ball of wax that requires some serious effort to hurdle, as daddy dearest has been out of the picture for at least ten years. A turn of events that requires Maggie and Ray to track him down and force a confrontation.

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    Like I said. The potential for an interesting story is definitely here. Whether you agree or disagree, are an “ally” or an “enemy” to the LGBTQ cause, the potential for an interesting story is just missing from 3 Generations. Everything feels ridiculously cliched and over sugar coated with every stereotype in the book present. Ray is a transgender teen with all of the frustrations and fears of someone trying to reassign themselves, Maggie is a single mom who’s getting behind her daughter’s change to a boy, and then there’s Susan Sarandon as a lesbian grandmother. The only thing missing from the equation is to have her father a gay man who left Maggie for another man after years of marriage. It’s just textbook social clichés all wrapped up into one movie. Even WITH those little clichés there is ample room for a compelling drama, but much of the time is spent around Maggie coming to grips with her daughters’ changes. There is no time (or almost no time) spent dealing with the inner turmoil of someone going through the process, instead painting Ray as a steadfast proponent of her surgery, with none of the complications and confusions of someone undertaking the ordeal. Even the ending is horribly under complicated, with the hormone therapy being a wild success, and everyone (including the estranged father) having a happy meal together at the end with them dancing off into the sunset (so to speak).

    The performances are the large portion of the positive aspects of 3 Generations. Elle Fanning does a solid job in her role, but like I said, the lack of identity issues is something that hinders it from being totally believable. On the other hand, Naomi Watts does a good job at portraying a conflicted mother. She wants to do the right thing for her daughter, but is having a hard time coming to grips with the changers that are happening, and the resulting turmoil is very palpable to the viewers. Susan Sarandon is abnormally tame for this type of role, and while she plays the opinionated old lady extremely well, her most poignant lines are when she’s calm and giving her daughter a little bit of motherly advice devoid of her usual brashness and bluster.




    Rating:

    Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, some sexual references and language




    Video: :3.5stars:
    [​IMG] I couldn’t find any information on the cameras used, or the resolution of the digital intermediary, but
    3 Generations looks like a solid effort from Lionsgate through Starz/Anchor Bay despite some odd stylistic choices. The fine detail is quite good for the most part, with some really sharp outdoor scenes that contain some visual pop to them. Past those sequences though, there is a more pallid and dull look to the colors, with a propensity for boosted white levels. A choice that gives the film a slightly milky look, especially with the black levels, which suffer the most. The overall clarity and sharpness of the film is quite good, but that milky appearance sometimes robs the image of some of the clarity it seems to have, and gives it a washed out look that stays fairly consistent till the end.






    Audio: :4stars:
    [​IMG] Audio is a bit better, with a standard 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that does exactly what you would expect for a drama. Vocals are the majority of the experience, with the melancholy score taking up the rest of the labor. There’s some surround activity with said score, and a little bit of mild ambiance that flows throughout the track when Ray is at his school, or when Maggie takes to the city streets, otherwise it tends to live mostly in the front three speakers. LFE is clean, but fairly reserved, only really making itself known with a couple of ominous moments with the music in the last half of the movie. It won’t win awards for heavy duty immersion, but it does everything needed, and with crystal clarity at that.






    Extras: :halfstar:
    [​IMG]

    • Deleted and Extended Scenes






    Final Score: :3stars:


    3 Generations DOES have potential, but ends up squandering it with overly cliched propaganda techniques that hamper any message that it may have originally had. There’s some strong performances, but those elements are in conflict with the pandering dialog and cliched scenes that don’t really stretch the concepts of transgenderism past basic talking points. It’s interesting to see this community take on my adventurous roles, but in the end the effort is just that. An effort without really catching hold of anything. The audio and video are fairly strong, but the extras nonexistent, and coupled with the underwhelming story makes for a rental at best.
    .



    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandan
    Directed by: Gaby Dellal
    Written by: Nikole Beckwith, Gaby Dellal
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
    Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Studio: Lionsgate
    Rated: PG-13
    Runtime: 92 Minutes
    Blu-ray Release Date: June 13th, 2017







    Recommendation: Rental

     
  2. Jon Liu

    Jon Liu Active Member

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    Despite really enjoying all three of the main stars, this looks like a pass to me. Elle has certainly impressed me in nearly everything I've seen her in, however there's too many other good movies to watch (and possibly mediocre ones with dragons :)). Thanks for taking one for the team, Mike!
     
  3. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    haha, yeah too little time, too many movies to waste it on mediocre ones. I'm with you there.
     
  4. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Yeah... looks like a pass to me also.

    I'm saving my pennies for a rainy day this week, Mike!! ;-)
     

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