A Brief History of Hawking
The Theory of Everything Film Review
Powerful yet surprisingly playful, this brief history of Stephen Hawking is an outstanding biopic, driven by an accomplished and absorbing lead performance by Eddie Remayne.Taking us back to the days of Hawking’s first trembles, concurrently occurring as his genius intellect soared above the other minds at Cambridge, the surprise core of the The Theory of Everything is the added layer of a heart-warming romance between this supernova star and the future love of his life. It’s easy to get wowed – and flummoxed – by his scientific breakthroughs in real life, but here they’re grounded by the portrait of a real man. The insight is enlightening, as we follow him through his early life and love, and the tragedy that threatens to define him. He fights to overcome this, in many ways, so that he can make the scientific world a better place.Featuring a nuanced and faithful performance by the young Eddie Remayne, it’s not long before you are caught up in Hawking’s world, long forgetting the man cast to cinematically walk in his footsteps. Similarly excellent, although understandably overshadowed, is Felicity Jones, who shines as the girl determined to stay with him no matter what. It’s perhaps no surprise to find that director James Marsh chose to adapt the book by Jane Hawking as the foundation for this brief history. Surprisingly stylistically playful with colours and light, and emotive in its scoring, the film is both heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure.
Blu-ray Picture QualityThe Theory of Everything arrives on Region Free UK Blu-ray sporting what looks to be exactly the same splendid 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation that adorned Universal’s US counterpart a few months’ back, framed in the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen.
Peppered with striking uses of colour, the digitally-shot The Theory of Everything looks largely excellent on Blu-ray.
Detail remains outstanding throughout, with fine skin textures and clothing weaves, and excellent background nuances coming into play, bringing the warm, rich Cambridge environments to life with satisfying depth. Clinical hospital settings contrast this, with a colour scheme that pops with intentionally strong contrast, from bright whites to deep blacks, although seldom at the expense of fine object or shadow detail. There’s an unavoidable haze of softness which is perhaps more a stylistic choice with regards to the smoky period flavour of many of the earlier sequences and, with no overtly distracting digital issues (even the most striking colours don’t throw up too many problems, with the UV sequence and subsequent fireworks standing out) this one’s just shy of a reference.
Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a pretty impressive effort too, considering that you perhaps would not expect that to be the case for this kind of biopic. However the track keenly balances dialogue, non-intrusive atmospherics, and a surprisingly good score to perfectly enhance the main feature.
It may not be blisteringly bombastic – fireworks notwithstanding – but the accompanying track keenly balances precision and presence.
Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, balanced across the fronts and centre channels. Effects involve some suitably effective hospital noises and generally impressive and authentic atmospherics to bring the various settings to life. There’s also an effective blend of more emotive orchestral ethereal scoring with a few engaging song tracks, rounding out a surprisingly good audio accompaniment.
Although not brimming with extras, we do get a technically proficient Director’s Commentary, a short Featurette focussing on the Oscar-winning lead performance, and a collection of Deleted Scenes.
The Theory of Everything Blu-ray VerdictWhether or not you thought that Michael Keaton was robbed of possibly his only chance at an Oscar in Birdman, there’s no denying that Eddie Remayne’s award-winning performance is a highlight of this powerful and compelling drama which looks behind the life of one of the greatest minds of all time.
This brief history of Stephen Hawking’s universe is well worth your time.
Universal's Region Free UK release of The Theory of Everything offers up excellent presentation, both in terms of video and audio, of the often visually striking and aurally emotive material, as well as a solid selection of extra features, leaving it a recommended purchase for fans and an arguable blind buy for those who have yet to see it.
You can buy The Theory of Everything on Blu-ray here
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