Beautiful Mind, A: Two Disc Awards Edition (2001)
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Ron Howard (Director)
Audio Commentary-Akiva Goldsman (Screenwriter)
Deleted Scenes-+/- Director's Commentary
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-A Beautiful Partnership-Ron Howard & Brian Grazer
Featurette-Development Of The Screenplay
Featurette-Meeting John Nash
Featurette-Accepting The Nobel Prize In Economics
Featurette-Casting Russell Crowe & Jennifer Connelly
Featurette-The Process Of Age Progression
Storyboard Comparisons-5 + introduction
Featurette-Creation Of The Special Effects
Featurette-Scoring The Film
Featurette-Inside A Beautiful Mind
Featurette-Academy Awards (4)
Trailer-A Beautiful Mind Soundtrack
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Ron Howard|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
A Beautiful Mind - Academy Award winner for Best Picture, 2001. A worthy winner? It is up to you. Some may believe that it was deserved, some may think it not and some may think that it was American patriotism on behalf of the Academy. Whatever stance you take, you must concur that A Beautiful Mind is a quality film, if nothing else. Subtle direction, outstanding performances, wonderful score, beautiful effects and an amazing story certainly makes one think that this picture was a worthy winner.
Unless you have been living in isolation for the last 6-12 months, you will know that A Beautiful Mind recounts the life story of John Forbes Nash, Jr - a mathematical genius who has been haunted by schizophrenia for most of his adult life. The Nash economic equilibrium (Game Theory), which he discovered in 1948, was a breakthrough in the way we think about economics on a global scale, even today. Nash's Game Theory, in actual practice, does not get implemented in most economic situations as it tends to combat the capitalist ideal. As the western world is built on this foundation, Nash's Game Theory, while it is clearly the most effective correct method, does not see the light of day in too many economic negotiations. His works are recognised and used in many other circumstances that are not directly involved with economic theory.
The film focuses more on Nash's battle with schizophrenia than his genius, but director Ron Howard still gives Nash the respect that his prior work deserves and does not make Nash's delusional reality the main point of the film. Rarely does he show Nash holding a conversation with thin air, and deals with schizophrenia as a disease, rather than a side-show attraction.
Howard was a deserved winner of Best Director last year- even if he wasn't the most deserved. One would have to say that Peter Jackson's Fellowship of The Ring was a more amazing feat, and Baz Luhrman pushed more boundaries with Moulin Rouge, but Howard's effort here is still one to savour. He is thoughtful, precise and structured throughout. Howard, by his own admission in the audio commentary, describes how some of the film's most important moments were structured by fate, more than design. Howard was amazed when audiences in test screenings were not convinced that the characters of Parcher, Charles, and Marcee were imagined until the 'baby in the bath' scene. When he realised this, we went back to editing room and built up a lot of suspenseful moments to climax at this point, keeping the audience guessing until that very moment. Originally, the audience was meant to know the complete truth much earlier. In the end, I guess the courage shown by Howard to make this change and risk the wrath of a 'smarter' audience was a brave one.
Russell Crowe is simply magnificent in this film. He steers away from playing this role in a way that is at all clichéd. His bouts of paranoia are subtle yet strong, and he makes the audience feel for Nash instead of being scared or amused by him. A lot of this structure comes from Howard and writer Akiva Goldsman, but it is Crowe who truly delivers in this performance. From his nervous mannerisms to Nash's social bigotry, Crowe shows a variety of different sides to the character that gel together seamlessly.
Jennifer Connelly is equally brilliant (and stunningly beautiful) as Alicia Nash. She plays her role in as real and honest a way as as she can She makes us love her and get a sense of what it is like to live with and love someone with schizophrenia for so many years. She is thoroughly a deserved winner at the Oscars last year - finally some recognition for years of solid work.
Other great performances come from Ed Harris (but of course!) and Paul Bettany, who turns another great performance in as Nash's room mate Charles Herman. If anyone has read my review of Gangster Number One, you will know what I think of his talent.
John Forbes Nash Jr, if you take this screenplay as gospel, is a poor innocent mathematical genius who sadly fell victim to a terrible disease. Through the love of his beautiful wife, he learned to deal with his afflictions and come out the other side with a Nobel Prize and a clear conscious. In reality, this brief summation is a complete fabrication. Accusations of homosexual affairs, illegitimate children and numerous marriages are abound to let us know that maybe A Beautiful Mind does not tell us the full story, but it is up to you to decide whether that matters to you. Personally, I still love the film and think that is a great work from a fantastic cast and its director.
There are no problems with the sharpness of this transfer. The source material is sharp and clear throughout the feature- kudos to cinematographer Roger Deakins, who turns in a superb performance behind the camera. Shadow detail is excellent throughout with a prime example of perfect shadow detail to be found at 32:00. There is no low level noise in the inky blacks, but there is some noticeable edge enhancement at 40:52, 41:00, 50:45, 122:10. At times there is some very light grain, but nothing worth mentioning here.
The colours are solid throughout, with flesh tones and the like being very constant. There are no instances of colour bleed or anything to mar the superb work by Roger Deakins.
There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Aliasing is very mild, with the only observed instances being at 11:18, 71:17, 71:23 and 98:39. The period in which a lot of this film is set is usually a land mine for aliasing, as there is a lot of chrome and cars with big fat grilles on the front. Picket fences, and park benches aplenty - all there to make DVD reviewers like me mad. The fact that there are only 4 (very mild) instances of aliasing throughout the picture is a tribute to the success of this transfer. There is a very quick shot with some moiré effect at 67:49, but that is about it - there are no major film artefacts that are out of the ordinary, and the rest is clean and clear.
I watched about 10 -15 minutes of the subtitles and found them to be fairly accurate to the spoken word.
This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change found at 68:48.
In summary, this PAL video transfer is FAR superior to my NTSC Region 1 disc. As this film has a lot of natural light, usually coming from the side of the screen, whenever an actor moves one way or another there is a sickening level of NTSC-related artefacts such as 3:2 pull-down or judder haloing the actor's body. It almost makes the film completely unwatchable, and I am very disappointed that I bought it. Apart from this atrocity, the transfers seem identical with the same artefacts appearing in the same places.
There are a number of audio tracks recorded on this disc, I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack plus the two audio commentaries by Director Ron Howard and Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman.
The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times, and there were no problems with audio sync.
The musical score by James Horner is fantastic. From the beautiful overture that plays during the logos at the start of the film, right through to the end credits, Horner creates a score that challenges the more conventional musical cues found in modern films. During tense scenes, he often uses lighter, more relaxing music, as opposed to introducing a louder, more aggressive feel.
The surround channels are used very well throughout the feature. A very dialogue-based film, the surrounds are used to add atmosphere only with whispering voices and and other background noise.
The subwoofer is not called on too much, but when it is, it performs well. It is mainly used during the one or two action scenes and whenever Nash has an epiphany.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video transfer is excellent, but mildly flawed.
The audio transfer is excellent.
The extras are numerous and for the most part, very entertaining. A lot of effort has gone into them.
|DVD||Sony DVP-S525, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm) 16:9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Jamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround|