Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Blu-ray)
When it was announced that WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS would be a follow-up to the 1987 original, there were definitely some skeptics. People were wondering if the movie would still have any relevance now, the need for greed in one of the worst economic crises. However, this film doesn’t follow the same exact path of the original. While greed still looms and every man is fighting for himself, the focus is on the downfall of Wall Street. The skeptics can be assured that this sequel is well deserved.
Before even diving into the sequel, I thought it would be a good idea to re-visit the original. I would actually recommend doing this to anyone who hasn’t seen the first one in quite some time. I really went into this thinking that I wasn’t going to be pleased when in fact it’s quite the opposite.
When the movie begins we meet back up with a very familiar character, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Gekko is not sitting high in an office somewhere, actually he’s as far from comfort as he could get. After his past finally caught up with him, Gekko spent eight years in prison for insider trading among other things. Those things he described later as “selfless crimes”. True to Gekko fashion, he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong. It was simply a case of his enemies out to seek revenge. What’s funny is that revenge still plays a huge role. Getting out in 2001, the aging Gekko is well aware that the world has changed much since he was jailed. This is illustrated when Gekko goes to pick up his personal effects upon release. Upon exiting the jail, he waits but there is no one there to welcome him back to normal living. The scene cuts and we skip ahead to 2008.
Seven years later, we are thrown into the chaos of the failing stock market. Our new Bud Fox, Jake Moore played by Shia LaBeouf isn’t fairing so well. The firm he works for is teetering on the verge of devastation. Moore is another strong and smart stock trader. His optimism for the market is quickly met with grief when his mentor Louis Zabel (Frank Langella) throws himself in front a train. Moore is out for revenge when he pieces together that finance executive Bretton James (Josh Brolin) drove Zabel to commit suicide. But how can a guy like Moore who’s so low on the totem pole fight back against James? That’s easy. Take advice from your fiancée’s father, Gordon Gekko.
Winnie Gekko (Carey Mulligan) hasn’t spoken or seen her father since she was a young girl. She has no desire to play catch up when daddy dearest is released from prison. After an event with Gekko as the key speaker, Moore introduces himself as Winnie’s soon-to-be husband. This intrigues the new softer side of Gordon Gekko who decides to help Moore get his revenge, since after all Bretton James did have a hand in putting Gekko in jail. As a trade for his insider knowledge, Moore must attempt to get Winnie close to get father again. This does not prove to be an easy task. She sees her father as she has always seen him, as we should have seen him, but Moore gets deeply involved. His downfall mirrors that of Gekko and Fox, once you get a little money and power the world starts to turn. Moore is only looking out for himself and looses big as expected.
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS offers many twists and turns to keep the viewer constantly caught up in the drama. The world is cutthroat but for many different reasons. Douglas owns this movie the same as he did the first. The last good role I saw him in was KING OF CALIFORNIA. Although, Douglas seems to be at his best when he is playing a character with very little redeeming qualities. Both of the younger actors, Mulligan and LaBeouf hit their marks as well. I still have a hard time buying LaBeouf as a grown-up actor though. There’s also a great small role for Susan Sarandon who plays Moore’s desperate mother. All in all, the actors turn in great performances. At times I felt like the film was trying to hard to replicate the beauty of the original. But with the sounds of David Byrne still echoing through the sequel, you realize that it’s just that, a sequel.
Video(2.35:1 Widescreen): The video here was insanely close to perfection. I felt like the darks were too dark in certain scenes but that’s not really even a complaint.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): Same scenario here. The audio is amazing. You get to hear more of the music and some really clear dialogue.
Commentary with director Oliver Stone: The Blu-ray presentation would have massively disappointed if it weren’t for this commentary. Stone explains these characters and this film so thoroughly. Even if you aren’t a die hard Stone fan, you would benefit greatly from listening to this.
A Conversation with Oliver Stone and the Cast of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (16:00): Stone and the cast discuss the characters as well as the economic crisis. Like every feature on this disc, it’s worth the watch. Also, Douglas further proves that he is a boss.
Money, Money, Money: The Rise and Fall of Wall Street (50:00): This is a 5-part (Unfinished Business, Gordon Gekko Is Back, Lifestyles of Excess, A Tour of the ‘Street, Trends, Schemes, and Economic Collapse) featurette that covers different areas of the film. It really goes above and beyond what a normal featurette brings. Instead of the behind-the-scenes look, we get the real behind-the-scenes look at the financial world. Gekko is Back gives Douglass the chance to talk about a character he is well known for.
Extended and Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary from Oliver Stone (29:00): There are fifteen scenes here, all with commentary from Stone. Some of these scenes are very interesting and left me wondering if Stone had intended for the film to be much longer.
Fox Movie Channel presents in Character With…Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, and Frank Langella (26:00): Theses are just short interviews with each of the above mentioned cast members.
The Return of Bud Fox: This can be found as an exclusive on BD Live. It goes into Charlie Sheen’s cameo and makes me miss him as an actor who used to get decent roles.
Theatrical Trailers: Love and Other Drugs, Unstoppable, and Solitary Man