Nicholas Sparks: Limited Edition Collection (DVD)


Whether we like it or not the Nicholas Sparks movies haven’t lost steam. Even when they’re flops, they’re still somehow tapping in to the life line of female movie goers, giving movie studios even more of a reason to adapt Sparks’ dramas about gorgeous Caucasian people with no actual problems, that find love with one another. Their love is, of course, chaste, pure, and innocent, with no real raw looks at the passionate love that become the focus of many of Sparks’ movies. Even posters for his movies show people on the verge of kissing. Nothing more. If aliens ever found these movies as a last remnant of humanity, they’d be convinced humans kissed and mated by rubbing noses together and meeting eyes intently.

That said, the Limited Edition Collection on DVD will be a worthy purchase for female audiences, and folks that love this kind of soapy melodrama and romance. Sparks is a fan of surprise twists and young people falling for one another despite large odds. The seven films that are on this collection are mostly typical Nicholas Sparks tropes. Forbidden love, conquering time and space, etc. etc. Not all of the films are goofy romance schlock, but most of it is definitely only for fans of romance films that are forgiving in nature. Very forgiving.

Featured, along with extras and subtitles options is the 2013 “Safe Haven,” the goofy romance drama starring Julianne Hough that is known mostly for its goofy surprise ending. Not only is the ending infamous for being incredibly far-fetched, but Julianne Hough, despite being beautiful, is no actress. “Safe Haven” is a mostly flat and typical Sparks vehicle with a goofy twist. 2012’s “The Lucky One” stars Zac Efron as a war veteran who falls in love with the widowed wife of a soldier. Efron is a good looking guy, but “The Lucky One” is another fairly forgettable Sparks romance drama that really doesn’t stand out beyond its equally goofy twist ending that offers nothing but an eye roll.

2010’s “Dear John” stars Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried in another military based romance drama with Tatum playing an American soldier in love with a young girl whose life takes a toll on her while he’s away serving. It’s another fairly generic romance drama with Tatum and Seyfried being incapable of garnering respectable chemistry with one another, despite being solid actors with the right material. 2008’s “Nights in Rodanthe” garners a great cast but is another forgettable romance drama from Sparks. Starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere in their third outing as big screen lovers, “Nights” features Lane as a jilted divorcee, and Gere as a tortured surgeon that bond over a night spent protecting a gorgeous Inn in Rodanthe, initiating an affair that could ruin Lane’s character’s reconciliation with her ex-husband.

2004’s “The Notebook” is admittedly a great version of the Nicholas Sparks formula. Starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, they play two lovers torn apart by class and the war, managing to experience their own woes in life, and eventually drift back to one another to form a lifelong bond. Compelling, and often times heartbreaking, “The Notebook” is one of the few Sparks adaptations I really enjoyed from beginning to the tear soaked heartbreaking finale I still rather love, if only for the wonderful performances by James Garner and Gina Rowlands.

“Message in a Bottle” from 1999 is another of the goofy and hokey Nicholas Sparks dramas, one of the few focusing on adults. Kevin Costner gives a somewhat laughable performance with Robin Wright, and Paul Newman, as a sailor who is having trouble getting over the death of his wife, and forms a relationship with a local reporter. It’s another of the Sparks adaptations with a big twist ending that closes on a weep or two, but it fails in its intent to surprise audiences.

“A Walk to Remember” from 2002 is one of the many vehicles for fleeting pop star Mandy Moore, as she plays a young religious girl who falls for a local town juvenile delinquent, played by Shane West. After playing a cruel prank on her, character Landon is forced to volunteer, and eventually forms a bond with Moore’s character Jamie. Their friendship escalates in to an affair, that makes Jamie’s Reverend father angry. As one last gesture, Landon decides to fulfill Jamie’s dying wish. Though occasionally goofy and cursed with a stiff performance by Moore, “A Walk to Remember” definitely has potential to be great. It likely could have been much better with a stronger actress at the helm, but on its own, it’s a solid teen romance drama.

Featured in the collection are seven post cards with full color screen shots of the films within the set, along with a letter from author Nicholas Sparks. Most of the films within the collection garner bonus materials, including “The Notebook” which garners almost extensive extras for fans to soak in.

In Stores January 28th. Buy It Here!