Jordan Peele’s latest film comes home this week as NOPE hits 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray. It’s a damn fine film you need to keep on your shelf at home.
Directed By: Jordan Peele
Written By: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Michael Wincott
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Purchase [Affiliate Link]: https://amzn.to/3gwcUH3
I’m incredibly sorry to say, I wasn’t able to check out NOPE when it hit theaters. I love Peele’s preview films, and him going the Sci-Fi route with alien stuff instantly put this as one of my most anticipated films of the year. Sadly, it just didn’t work out for theaters. Thankfully, the Universal sent me the blu-ray and I was able to remedy that situation.
Folks…this film is amazing.
The story itself, is relatively simple and puts the focus on brother/sister duo Otis “OJ” Haywood Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer). Following the inexplicable death of their father, the pair do what they can to maintain their family’s horse farm (where they’ve trained horses for TV/movies for decades) and maintain their legacy. Em is a bit flippant about it all, while OJ retains a more stoic/serious demeanor.
As OJ is forced to sell some of his family’s beloved horses to a local theme park owner; a former child star named Jupe (Steven Yeun). Even as Jupe offers to buy the ranch completely, OJ holds out hope for turning things around and even re-purchasing his horses at some point.
Things take a turn, however, as the strange phenomena that resulted in their father’s death turns out to be something…supernatural. Seeing it as a chance to turn their fortunes around, OJ and Em endeavor to find some way of capturing it on video, allowing them to capitalize on this once in a lifetime discovery. Things…don’t go exactly as planned and what they uncover turns out to be far more dangerous than they could have ever expected.
Again, it’s a pretty straight forward plot and follows a fairly traditional setup for the classic creature feature genre. NOPE manages to take those iconic tropes and not only utilizes them to their full potential, but subverts them in subtle ways to hammer home some important themes.
NOPE has much to say about the nature of spectacle, and how the pursuit of such things, along with fame, is problematic. And yet, even as it tells us this, we can’t help but watch the terrible spectacle the film itself puts before our eyes. The film continually ratchets up the tension, investing you deeper into the mystery while keeping you fully on the edge of your seat for the entire back half.
It’s impossible to look away and even as characters make seemingly baffling decisions, we can’t help but understand the desire leading them there.
It’s impressive. Not only for the ultimate message of the story, but in how it’s all presented. The end result is easily one of the best creature feature/monster movies around. It manages to expertly capture everything that makes those kinds of movies equally entertaining and terrifying, all with stunning performances and brilliantly shot.
Sight and Sound
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my hands on the 4K release in time for the review, but the blu-ray transfer certainly isn’t slouching. The picture is crisp and clear, with blacks that are sufficiently deep enough to prevent any major crushing. Considering how some of the most engaging sequences take place at night/in the dark, it’s nice to have such deep blacks to you can actually see everything going on.
The sound design is also impressive. As is the case with most horror movies, the sounds you hear is a big part of the fun and what helps set the tone and drive some of the scarier moments. The sound of the “ship” itself is bone-chilling and hearing it from a distance (behind your or of to the side) in surround sound makes for an immersive experience.
All in all, from a technical standpoint, the Blu-ray is solid.
The Special Features
NOPE on blu-ray comes with a DVD copy of the film, a digital code insert, and these bonus features on the disc:
SHADOWS: THE MAKING OF NOPE – Unpack the meaning of NOPE with Jordan Peele. Secrets are revealed with this 56-minute immersion exploring the film’s unanswered questions, taking you on an intimate journey inside every aspect of production and offering a detailed look at Peele’s revolutionary filmmaking process.
DELETED SCENES – Watch five unreleased scenes from NOPE
GAG REEL – A highlight reel of bloopers and outtakes featuring main cast
CALL HIM JEAN JACKET – The object of the Haywood siblings’ fascination is an entity known only as “Jean Jacket.” Filmmakers provide insights into the conception, design, and execution of this mysterious organism.
MYSTERY MAN OF MUYBRIDGE – A deep dive into THE HORSE IN MOTION by Eadweard Muybridge, its relationship to the Haywoods, and how it relates to the larger themes in NOPE.
The bonus features are pretty hefty, including a VERY lengthy making of documentary that’s insightful in terms of the movie itself AND the filmmaking process all together. As a monster movie lover, I also enjoyed getting a look at how they designed the unique creature in the “Call Him Jean Jacket” featurette, and there’s some great history regarding the Horse in Motion as well.
There’s a lot of good stuff in here, that goes plenty deep enough that should have film fans more than eager to dive into these multiple times. The movie alone is worth the price of purchase for the release, but these certainly add a lot of bang for your buck.