Curtis has outdone himself this time in producing a film that is 'sweetly pretty' and appeals to everyone
About Time Blu-ray Review
It seems Richard Curtis has the whole romantic comedy genre sown up by producing films that appeal to almost everyone; young, old, couples, singles, women, men - a Midas touch!His latest, About Time, is somewhat atypical in that it takes, for its premise, the science fiction aspect of time travel to ostensibly ask the question “how would you spend your last day” and ends up answering it by exploring relationships that develop between partners, but more explicitly by examining those between a father and his son. Scientific, theological and time paradoxes are neatly glossed over to be replaced by the simple truth that the best time is that of the present, and Curtis demonstrates this with the typical wit and charm that all his films contain. Domhnall Gleeson, son of Brendan, takes over the ‘Hugh Grant’ role and does, for my money, a much better job at it.His character, Tim, has his life changed dramatically once he discovers his gift for time travel. His goal is to find love and after a few abortive attempts discovers that when you are not looking, love comes to you; in his case in the attractive form of Mary (played with delight by Rachel McAdams). We watch their relationship bloom, at the same time other aspects in Tim’s life, his father’s condition, his sister’s outlook on life becoming crushed, resolve themselves without using his gift, other than revisiting past experiences to live them once again, and then again making the present all the more special.
Taking its premise of time travel, the film ostensibly asks the question “how would you spend your last day?”
About Time Blu-ray Picture QualityThe disc presents a widescreen 2.4:1 (OAR 2.35:1) 1080p transfer using the AVC MPEG4 codec and is Region free.
As you might expect from such a modern film there is very little wrong with this image which is bright, detailed and clean. Detail remains sharp throughout, with very little if any softness creeping in, from skin texture to clothing weaves, from beach foliage to pavement slabs, edges are held well into the distance. Colours are bright and vibrant, with all the primaries coming off spectacularly well, reds are rich, check out Mary’s wedding dress, greens are lush and blues are cool brilliance. Skin tones are natural and realistic with a typical ‘English rose’ appeal.
Colours are bright and vibrant, with all the primaries coming off spectacularly well
Brightness and contrast are set to give very decent blacks, though the film seldom uses them, though the pitch dark ‘blind’ meal shows just how good the blacks are. Shadow detail is apparent when necessary with the blacks helping to add some 3D pop to the proceedings. Whites are strong and never clip. Digitally there are no compression problems, no edge enhancement, no aliasing or posterization issues and the original print is in tip top condition. In all very little to fault at all.
About Time Blu-ray Sound QualityI concentrated on the English dst-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which, like the picture, hardly puts a foot wrong. First up, dialogue is clear, natural sounding and dominated by the frontal array, though there is the occasional bout of directionality when called upon. Ambient effects are myriad from weather, to street noise to party flavour; especially well realised in the ‘blind meal’ where you are totally reliant on the sound as the picture is pitch black. The score makes full use of the dynamic range of all the speakers, with the various montages creating the best sound field. Bass is well realised even though it never plumbs the depths of mega-blockbusters, it’s simply not that type of film. But the surround environment is very well catered for placing you in a very natural experience. Once again, very little if anything to fault at all.
About Time Blu-ray ExtrasAudio Commentary – With Richard Curtis, Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy, Vanessa Kirby, Lydia Wilson and Tom Hollander; not so much a commentary, more a bunch of people discussing a film, but in a way it works, there are plenty of stories told and much merriment, not enough to become infectious, but never enough to get on your nerves.
Deleted Scenes (15.33, HD) – There are four in total that can be played all together (with an introduction by Curtis explaining their worth) using the ‘play all’ icon, or individually (with each scene getting its own introduction by Curtis, explaining why it’s missing). All are one watch items really – their titles are: Struck by first love, Those stripy pyjamas, Mary’s narcolepsy and The Abbey Road distraction.
Blooper Reel: Making movies is a serious business (03.16, HD) – Again, introduced by Curtis, this is the usual amount of goofing around, fluffed lines and mistakes caught on camera; they seem to be having much more fun than I did.
About Tim and Time Travel featurette (05.13, HD) – Short feature about the genesis of the film, the initial idea and how it all came together, Curtis leads the way, but there are contributions from most of the cast.
The Look, Style and Locations featurette - (08.13, HD) – Another short feature which is perfectly summed up in the title, most was filmed on location and it was during last summer’s glorious heat wave (long forgotten in the floods this winter!)
The World of Richard Curtis featurette - (03.55, HD) – A very brief glimpse into Curtis’ work and career told by himself and those that worked on the film with him (apparently his last).
The Luckiest Music – Curtis extols the value of the music in the film, particularly The Luckiest by Ben Folds who reinterpreted his original song for the film.
Ellie Goulding, How Long Will I Love You – Music video
Is About Time Blu-ray Worth BuyingAbout Time is a ‘sweetly pretty’ film about father and son relationship both of whom have the ability to travel in time, and they find that no matter how many times you can alter your past, the best time is that of the present. In what is a somewhat atypical Richard Curtis film, Domhnall Gleeson takes over the Hugh Grant role, but inhabits it so much better (perhaps because he is relatively new to the business) and makes for a very charming lead character, who uses his special skill to win the love of his life inhabited by Rachel McAdams, who is adorable in the role. Curtis tells his story with ease and it’s full of love, life and charm with each story element resolving itself with a natural encharntment; it’s also funny and entertaining and for Valentine’s Day would make a very watchable date movie.
Curtis tells his story with ease and it’s full of love, life and charm.
Universal’s Blu-ray set is a very nice package, the picture and sound are nigh on perfect with only the fluffy extras slightly letting the side down, but the gate fold slip case is a delight. Recommended.
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