The Number 23 DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

New Line pulls out all the stops for this interesting Jim Carrey film.
  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
New Line pulls out all the stops for this interesting Jim Carrey film.
THE BAD
Ultimately, it seems like this movie takes a little too long to get where it's going.
THE FEATURE
The Number 23 is a mind-bending tale of intriguing portions which sees our star Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) come to terms with who he is. When he finds a book called The Number 23 in a used book store, Sparrow begins to relate to the book's main character because they have so much in common. He continues to uncover clues about this man's past and eventually realizes that he committed a heinous act of violence. Suddenly, Walter realizes that he might be on the same course to endangering his family (or maybe he already has?), and all of this seems to revolve around the Number 23.

Showing us parallel worlds and colliding lives, what makes The Number 23 work is how the story presents itself. The whole time the film is unspooling, Director Joel Schumacher is feeding us information. While things get a tad fantastical at times and test how much we as viewers can suspend our disbelief, ultimately this film works because of how it resolves itself. It isn't like we are force fed an ending that is supposed to tie everything up. This whole movie has been building up to the final moments when we realize just who Walter Sparrow really is.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes/Alternate Ending

16 of these Deleted scenes are provided here for your viewing pleasure. They are each of very high quality and seem as if at one point they may have been in some version of this movie. They have titles like "Empty Truck" and "Walter Chases Ned." The Alternate Ending was alright. There wasn't anything that special about it and it's understandable why Schumacher and Co. decided to go another way. I don't want to say too much, I will just say that this ending focuses more on Walter Sparrow and his son.

Fact Track Trivia

Commentary Track

Joel Schumacher, as he usually does, provides an interesting commentary track here. He starts off by letting the listener know that if they are listening to this track, chances are they are doing so because they have an interest in movies and filmmaking. He then proceeds to talk about the titles for the film, how he got the script and how The Number 23 came together. He even points out that this movie is his 23rd directing job! After this he explains where certain scenes were shot, the use of red in the film (it happens to be his favorite color), and how the shoot was different for Jim Carrey because it wasn't a comedy; this changed up the amount of takes that were done and also seemed to bring out the emotions in the actors easier.

"The Number 23 Enigma" Doc*mentary

"Creating the World of Fingerling" Featurette

Here we are taken into the alternate world that is featured so prominently in the film. We get the book, The Number 23, broken down in regards to what is and isn't computer generated, and how Joel Schumacher's directing style really played into the look and impact of this section of the film. He told the set directors and the people lighting this section to take chances, and he also praises his cinematographer Matthew Libatique. After this we see how the scenes were put together and then we delve into the characters as well. Overall, this is a pretty interesting look at this "dual" section of the film.

"Making of The Number 23" Featurette

"How to Find Your Life Path" Featurette

By far this is the best section on the DVD. We are given a quick glimpse of numerology and then we find out how our birthday gives us our life path. We then see how the numbers that our birthday equals explain how the world sees us. Also, whatever number we are is the number we must fulfill to make us happy. After this, the numbers are explained to us and we see how to add up our birthday in order to find our number. While I can't say that my number was 100% accurate, I have enough respect for all this stuff to say that if you watch no other extra features, you should certainly check out this section.
THE VIDEO
Presented in a format preserving the 2.35:1 aspect ratio of its technical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs. This movie, if nothing else, looks extremely interesting. I always felt that even with the scenes that take place in the real world, Joel Schumacher and his team were pushing for something bigger. It is as if they wanted to give every set and every prop a purpose. Having done this, The Number 23 takes a very diverse look. In many ways it plays like two parallel films against one another, and even within this the looks of the film remain continuously varied.
THE AUDIO
5.1 EX Surround Sound. Stereo Surround Sound. English. Close Captioned. The audio for this movie was good if not a little over done at times. The scenes in which we see Walter Sparrow were noticeably quiet. The scenes taking place inside the book were harshly contrasted against this. While I understand why this was done, I felt that some of the music sounded a little too familiar. As if it couldn't have been anywhere else but these scenes and therefore the people using it were limited.
THE PACKAGE
A red vinyl cover goes over this DVD case and it's purpose is to make this disc look like The Number 23 book. The DVD cover features the familiar shot of Jim Carrey with "23" written all over his face. The back serves up more images from this movie, each of them laid out in such a way to juxtapose against the various ideas in this film. There is a well written description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. Overall, New Line has shown this DVD a great deal of tender loving care.
THE FINAL WORD
I had many different feelings as I watched The Number 23 in the theater. On DVD, since I knew what was going to happen it was a completely different story. I noticed more things about the characters, and as a result of this things made more sense. Sure, I find Jim Carrey hard to take sometimes (when you see him being such a jokester in interviews it is really hard to take him seriously when he tries to be serious) but he does a good job here. I don't understand why he had to grow his hair out (or why he feels the need to keep it grown out), but he has allowed Joel Schumacher to make him look really lived in. The lighting scheme seems to have been done so that it catches every line, wrinkle and crevice on his face. This alone adds a great deal of dimension to the character that Carrey is embodying. That the mood of the movie builds on this with color layers and other cinematic devices, does nothing more than drive home that we are seeing a man being turn apart by his actions.

While some aspects of this movie are certainly flawed, The Number 23 presents us with a highly engaging story and a Jim Carrey that we have heretofore never seen.

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Comments (1)

  1. Shelley

    I do not think it seems to take too long to get somewhere, it actually does. While overall I liked the movie, I think if it had been done differently this would have been an excellent film.

    6 years agoby @shelleyFlag