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What Dreams May Come

There are films that sneak up on you with unsuspected sentimentality, and there are those that serve it up on a platter. What Dreams May Come does neither, and instead imposes its emotional sentiments in such a Gestapo-like fashion that it probably will only have an effect on hopeless romantics who also cry during idyllic television commercials for retirement plans. Robin Williams stars as Chris Nielsen, a neurologist who suddenly dies in a horrific accident, leaving his wife Annie (Annabella Sciorra) to suffer alone, the both of them having lost their two children a few years earlier. Arriving in a nebulous world of his imagination (a theologically indistinct heaven), he is guided through his new afterlife by an old friend (Cuba Gooding Jr.). It's all hugs and sunshine until Chris learns that Annie has committed suicide and cannot enter her own heaven, causing him to venture through Hell to find her. With such a threadbare, saccharine plot, What Dreams May Come only finds redemption through its inventive, groundbreaking CGI visuals, which are nothing less than hypnotic. Chris's pastoral world of paint -- evoking images of the Impressionist masters -- is extremely clever and well done, and the additional worlds he visits have a fantastic depth-of-field that seamlessly blends live action with vivid, detailed panoramas. Give it a spin and your eyes will be transfixed -- even if your ears tell you that you should be gagging yourself from the sickly-sweet plot. Also starring Max von Sydow, Jessica Brooks Grant, and Josh Paddock. Good transfer, commentary track with director Vincent Ward, production featurette, two trailers, textual supplements, photo gallery, dual-menu design (you pick -- Heaven or Hell?), and an alternate ending that is so awful it's hysterical.

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