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A Beautiful Mind
The Two-Disc Set Awards Edition
(Widescreen)

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rated: PG-13 (Intense thematic material, sexual content and a scene of violence)

Running Time: 136 minutes

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Judd Hirsch, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp and Christopher Plummer

Written by: Akiva Goldsman
Based on the book by: Sylvia Nasar

Directed by: Ron Howard

 

Studio: Universal

Retail Price: $26.98

Features:
Disc 1:
Audio Commentary with Director/Producer Ron Howard, Audio Commentary with Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary with Ron Howard, Cast and Filmmakers, Production Notes. DVD-ROM: Total Axess

Disc 2: A Beautiful Partnership: Ron Howard & Brian Grazer, Development Of The Screenplay, Meeting John Nash, Accepting The Nobel Prize in Economics, Casting Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, The Process Of Age Progression, Storyboard Comparisons, Creation of the Special Effects, Scoring the Film, Inside A Beautiful Mind, Academy Award® Reactions, Theatrical Trailer, Soundtrack Spot

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scenes (20 Scenes)

Released: June 25th, 2002

 

 

2001's critical darling and box office success, "A Beautiful Mind" is one of those kinds of mainstream films that just has it all: a decent script, a great director, fabulous actors and strong production values. A film that not only audiences endeared, but critics also loved, making "A Beautiful Mind" just a smash all the way around. Making well over 175 million domestically and winning four Academy Awards® (including that glorious Best Picture prize), it was one of those rare films that was able to touch many (including myself) quite strongly. While the film did have some harsh critics over how accurate the portrayal of Nash's life was, there is simply no denying that this is one of the best character studies to ever come out of Hollywood.

The film, based on Sylvia Nasar's best selling biography, follows a somewhat fictionalized version of John Nash, Jr.'s life. Our story opens in 1947 at Princeton University, where we meet Nash (a fabulous Russell Crowe). Truly a genius, Nash's strong ego and arrogance is perhaps better known on the campus than his brain. As Nash struggles to develop a "truly original" idea, he eventually comes up with Game Theory. However, as brilliant as Nash is, it's nothing compared to the struggle he faces with schizophrenia. Sadly, his mental illness overtakes his brain and shadows the genius he is.

Later on, Nash becomes a teacher, he meets and falls in love with one of his students, Alicia (Jennifer Connelly). The two do eventually marry, and that's where Nash's struggle begins to take flight. Hired to do some code work and help out the government, he slowly starts to go over the edge and become obsessed with his hidden work as he gets caught up in a government conspiracy. As Nash must realize the truth, it's through his wife's compassion and unconditional love that he beats the odds and discovers the true genius and man inside.

Ron Howard, one of Hollywood's A-list director, finally won an Oscar® (and was finally nominated for one) for his directing work here, and he truly deserves it. While nearly all the other directors nominated did impressive work and on more technical and grander scales (Ridley Scott and Peter Jackson, namely), Howard's is arguably the most impressive. How he filmed this drama and create such a wonderful atmosphere for a film like this is quite astonishing.

As most of you probably know, when movies are made, they are usually filmed out of sequence to make accommodations on all sorts of accounts (actors, money, etc.) It's a rare case to film a movie in order, and that's exactly what Howard did with "A Beautiful Mind." It's a technique that I truly respect and is worthy in the long run, and the success of it shows on screen. I believe because that Howard decided to film the movie in order, the performances are more raw, more real and all the more touching since the actors were able to grow in the situations, scenes and their own characters.

Still, it's really Ron Howard's atmosphere that makes the movie what it is. The film runs a bit over two hours, and takes place over a forty-five year period. The story structure to the film is very even and extremely well paced, and you better believe that these two hours and sixteen minutes go by in no time at all. Yet it's all really in how Howard conveys the movie. This is where he's done an impressive and marvelous job. He creates a lot of lovely and haunting shots, be it the Princeton campus or Nash's home. Each is well placed and nice to look at, but some of these shots and their set-ups are rather key. The movie has a "Sixth Sense" like twist toward the middle, which certainly had me fooled. Yet looking back, Howard's work is quite visionary and clever. Dialogue from some characters are key, let alone how he staged it all. While you may not need to watch it twice like "The Sixth Sense" since most of you can just recall how and why for it to make sense, looking back upon the film more than once does give you a fine sense of appreciation.

Yet that's not even it. Ron Howard's emotional core really makes "A Beautiful Mind" such a strong and powerful story. Many have praised the film for such an accurate and heartfelt representation of the disease that is schizophrenia, and I couldn't agree more. The intensity and frustration of Nash's disease is quite a harrowing experience, and Howard creates a strong array of mindbending and overbearing images (the way letters, numbers and words pop out are a nice effect). He comes to show what the disease is, and what it can bring for not only those involved, but those around them.

Yet despite that, as Howard has said himself, "A Beautiful Mind" is really a love story. And in the end, I really think that's what it comes down to. As John struggles with such madness, it's really his wife Alicia and her love that keeps him together. It's their own coming together that is so romantic and magical, and their relationship through pain and madness that keeps them together. We see that Alicia's love is strong and that she will do anything to help her husband. For it's really all a beautiful love story. Compromises are made between them, as the pure power of caring for one another is shown. Alicia puts her husband and her family first, and supports him through many difficult and emotional times. She's always there for love and to back him up, always doing the best that she can for their relationship and own self stability. Her caring really drives the film's emotional center. Putting others first is an important lesson that not everyone in life realizes that they should do. They just don't make 'em like Alicia.

While Howard's directing is all fine and dandy, you need a script to direct from. That's where Akiva Goldsman comes in. Granted, Goldsman has written what are arguably two of the worst movies ever made ("Lost In Space" and "Batman and Robin."). But to be fair, I don't think all of his work is so terrible (I think he did a pretty good adaption of "A Time To Kill."). Still, I must say that "A Beautiful Mind" is probably his best written work. I really don't know if that's saying much, though. Yes, Goldsman won many prizes for his adaption of Sylvia Nasar's biography, but with Howard, has faced a lot of criticism (more on that later).

I really did enjoy Goldsman's screenplay, but I wouldn't say it's goundbreaking. He does have a lot of nice scenes, lines and dialogue exchanges, and he really develops all the characters to the fullest. The way he sets up the "twist" is very nicely done, and the toll that Nash's disease took on him and those around him are very well played out. The love between John and Alicia is very well developed, and through the scenes we see their build-up, their feelings and emotions collide. It's not like "oh, they meet, fall instantly and struggle." There's more to it. The life of Nash is not an easy subject for the screen, especially the way Goldsman went about to adapt Nasar's biography on him. Yet he hits many key points of Nash's life, even if they are a bit dramatized, and turns it into a fine script that is mainstream Hollywood entertainment.

While Goldsman's words do their job and work well, not everyone was happy. Perhaps the screenplay was more famous for what it left out than what was included. Many people criticized Goldsman and Howard for glaring omissions made to Nash's life. People were annoyed that his remarks against Jews, a relationship Nash had with another woman that bore another child, that John and Alicia divorced and remarried and more were left out. You know what I say to these people who wanted these omissions? Just shut up. It's not real life. Like every other movie, it's JUST a movie. It's not a documentary. This is a dramatized account of Nash's life, and that's all that one should expect and that's all that it should be. It doesn't have to be 100% accurate. A lot of films are works of fiction, and even flicks based on real life individuals aren't always accurate and also cut out a lot, not to mention add things in. This is just enjoyable Hollywood entertainment, and that's what the filmmakers sought to create. Besides, anti-Semetic remarks, a different relationship and the Nashes break-up and then reconciliation would ruin what the filmmakers were going for. It'd ruin their flow and content, not to mention the love story core mainly. Again, it's only a movie.

On a different note, I loved the photoplay of Roger Deakins (he's shot a number of great films before) and the editing style of Mike Hill and Dan Hanley. Each of these working in a cohesive manner of Howard's ultimate vision. The makeup the film features toward the end is also quite good... it's not corny at all, and the characters look the age they're supposed to be. There's also composer James Horner, who has created a fantastic score that is catchy and works with the frenzy that happens to Nash. Truly, a fine score indeed.

Despite all that, there is more greatness to "A Beautiful Mind." And yes, I've saved the best for last. This is one of the best acted dramas I have ever seen, and I've seen a ton of movies. There are small yet really strong performances from Ed Harris and Christopher Plummer that add depth to Nash's plight, while key roles from Anthony Rapp, Judd Hirsch, Adam Goldberg and Paul Bettany which add to more around him. Still, it really comes down to two actors in the film. The first is the lovely Jennifer Connelly as Alicia. Yes, she too was awarded the Oscar®, and she really deserves it. She was a perfect match to play Alicia, and brings to life what the character is all about. Capturing the beauty that is Alicia, Connelly has that sweet face yet sweeter soul. Alicia is a character that is often frustrated with her husband and what he does, yet, she has so much love that she wants to share with him. Connelly perfectly exhibits the character's warmth and strong willed soul. Connelly has been around for a bit, and has delivered a lot of other good performances ("Requiem For A Dream," anyone?), but she shows her range and electrifying ways subtly yet so strongly throughout the film.

Yet the biggest joke to me is that "A Beautiful Mind" can win the Best Picture Oscar®, yet Russell Crowe cannot win the Best Actor award. He's the one who holds this movie from his first appearance all the way until the final shot. He's the stronghold of the film and perhaps, makes it so good to watch and so involving. Nash is the center of the film, and the story's most complex character. Crowe really should have won for his performance. While I did like "Gladiator" (read: LIKE, not love) and thought Crowe was good in that, I didn't think it was Oscar® material, especially compared to his other nominated performance a year before that for "The Insider." Crowe has done a whole range of roles and has delivered solid performances all around, and this is his best work yet. I can't imagine anyone else playing John Forbes Nash, Jr. Crowe hits everything right and his performance is absolute perfection. Nash is a tough character to play, yet somehow, Crowe runs with it and it's so damn believable. There really is a lot to John Nash. Crowe exuberantly plays his arrogant qualities to a T, shows his frustration in developing a strong idea, his love for Alicia and ultimately, his madness and insecurities as he tries to overcome his schizophrenia and what is happening around him. Crowe, with that wonderful Virginian drawl, makes Nash nervous around the ladies, makes him intense with competition from his peers and makes him just plain scary, depressing and forceful through his long battle. He's all so intense and all so raw, it's just a performance anyone can see and be amazed at all his acting gifts. Nash goes through so much and there is so much to characterize him, and Crowe blends it all naturally, all while having great chemistry with Connolly.

Who knows why Denzel Washington won. As you may recall, the race between them was quite neck and neck. Many felt that Crowe didn't deserve to be in the company of Tom hanks and Spencer Tracy (who won Best Actor Oscars® back to back). Many felt that his bad behavior was also a factor. Again, that's all politics. Don't get me wrong at all, I loved Denzel Washington in "Training Day." I thought Washington was really electrifying, charismatic, superb and intense in that film. He delivered one of his best performances, and certainly one of 2001's best performances. I just felt that Crowe's performance was the absolute best. Whether you like the guy or not, there is no denying that Russell Crowe is one of our most talented actors working today.

In case you didn't notice by now, "A Beautiful Mind" is a triumph in filmmaking. It's mainstream Hollywood entertainment at its best. While there are those who love it, I'm sure there are those who weren't as quite as impressed as me, just thinking it's another schmaltzy tale that tugs at the heartstrings for its awards. I highly disagree with that. This film really did connect with me through its characters and emotions. The messages and themes it offers are really important. It brings awareness of mental issues through a stunning and harrowing tale inspired by real life, all while delivering extraordinary performances from its actors. This will be surely remembered as one of Ron Howard's best films. Through the power of hope and love, Howard shows that anything can happen in the least likely of places.

 

 

Being released in separate widescreen and pan and scam versions (you know, please the mainstream audience who also loved the movie), the widescreen edition features a lovely 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is bound to please. The image is fairly sharp and consistent throughout, but doesn't come without its flaws. The sharpness of the transfer really shows here, and looks quite lovely. The film's tone and settings do change throughout, and the image keeps up with it. Be it the beautiful scenery of the Princeton campus (the detail and colors there are quite impeccable) or the nightmare palette that sets a dark tone of Nash's meetings with William Parcher, the beautifully composed shots do look quite stunning throughout. Fleshtones are dead on, as they fit and blend in quite nicely. Detail, black levels and hues are rock solid as well. Still, the color saturation makes this image. Everything looks really nice here. The colors do stand out and bring much depth to the image, giving off that 3-Dish quality. Colors don't bleed or look underwhelming. They're quite satisfying and look pure.

Still, despite how good it looks, there are some flaws. Edge enhancement is noticeable throughout the movie, while there is some of that halo edge effects on the characters at points (I always find that distracting). Shimmering and some noise is present in some scenes, too but aren't major. Yet, throughout the movie, there are some scratches, blemishes, pieces of dirt and little annoyances. They are there, and do appear often, but never get to the point of annoyance thankfully. They just pop up here and there through the scenes. Still, despite these instances that bring the score down, the transfer is very well done.

 

"A Beautiful Mind" is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 (there's also a 5.1 Dolby Digital Track in French), and the ambiance it brings is pretty impressive. The soundstage is rather broad here, but overall works for the film. This movie is pretty dialogue driven, as a lot of conversations with the events advance the film. Still, there is a very fine balance between all the sound elements. Nothing overlaps or interferes with one another, which is always a good thing. Dialogue is crisp and clear and sounds very pleasant, while the music sounds really, really nice. James Horner's score is well mixed through the channels and encloses you in Nash's atmosphere. Still, the sound effects pack a nice punch. There are a good deal of them too. Check out scene 12. The car chase brings a very good amount of activity thanks to the roars of the cars, the sudden stops and gun shots. Other noises throughout the movie, such as Nash being restrained and going through his medical treatment, sudden footsteps and the wind whispering add nice touches. The .1 LFE does solid work here, and the more intense scenes give your speakers a work out with some fine surrounds. Dynamic range is excellent, and the overall dymanics of the mix are very strong. This is not the strongest 5.1 track I have ever heard, but it certainly gets the job done and works with the film quite nicely. Too bad there's no DTS, though. Also included are English subtitles, French subtitles and English closed captions.

 

Given the success "A Beautiful Mind" has garnered during the past few months, it's only natural that it gets a special edition DVD release. Entitled "The Two-Disc Awards Edition", it may bring back memories of the rather sparse "Awards Edition" of another Oscar® winning film Dreamworks took a share in, that being American Beauty. Thankfully, Universal offers us a wide range of supplementary material that does not fall short, and all audiences are bound to be pleased with what's in the set. There's a good deal, so let's get started.

On the first disc, aside from the movie, you'll find not one, but two separate commentaries. The first Audio Commentary with Director/Producer Ron Howard is excellent. Howard has delivered strong commentaries before, and he offers a superb session here. Opening how he's glad to be recording the commentary about 8-10 weeks after its release in theaters (and not years trying to remember stuff), Howard touches on a variety issues and aspects of the film. He begins about Horner creating an opening overture since the film opens with a few logos, and goes on to the film from there. Some of Howard's comments are bit obvious, but we do learn that Crowe is a big Judd Hirsch fan. Howard talks about casting, filming techniques, what he wanted to capture and much more. Howard divulges on his vision very nicely and is quite articulated about it, some fun production stories (damn, how we all love Clint Howard) and how the clues lead up the twist point in the film. Be warned though... if you haven't seen the movie, watch it first and then listen to the commentary. As you'd expect, Howard talks about some major things early on. This is one solid track overall and I really, really loved it. Howard keeps things going whenever he can, and has that nice, friendly voice as if he were speaking to you directly. The track has focus and is quite even, and covers a great amount of the film. Don't miss it. This is one of the best tracks I've heard in a long time.

The second Audio Commentary with Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman is a little bit dull (does he really need to describe the opening logos? Why didn't he think of something funny to say about the Imagine logo? Couldn't he start talking about some background information?) at first, but he slowly gets into the groove of things. No offense to Mr. Goldsman, but I found his voice to articulated and tone too annoying in my tastes. But what he says counts the most, right? What he says is pretty decent, but I found a lot of his comments too obvious for my tastes. Mostly, he describes what's on screen, but words it differently and puts it in a writers perspective. He talks about some character motives and all, but basically he reads between the lines for us. He offers good descriptions like writers do, and does keep things going, but in the end, I didn't find too much insight on crafting the story sadly. Like Howard, he does spoil major surprises early on. Still, it's nice to have I guess if you want to review a scene without directly watching it, but this was disappointing overall and Howard's track is certainly preferred.

Next up are eighteen Deleted Scenes with optional commentary from Director/Producer Ron Howard. Howard offers a nice introduction before the scenes, saying he usually doesn't include deleted scenes on DVDs, but was proud of what was cut. Mentioning the cuts were basically due to timing and to keep with the flow of the story, you can then advance to the scenes without or with the commentary (and during the scenes you can change between the commentary and the actual audio if you wish). The scenes total a little under twenty-seven minutes, and are all pretty great. Some of them are actually alternate versions or extensions. In either case, they really fit with the film well, but as Howard introduces, were cut to trim time. Still, you can listen to Howard comment on all eighteen scenes, and he does a terrific job explaining himself and the reasons behind the cuts. There are all sorts of different factors of the cuts and changes, and like his actual commentary for the film, he's quite enthusiastic and willing to share more of the filmmaking process. These scenes each deserve to be watched at least twice. Once on their own and once with Ron Howard's commentary. I must say I particularly enjoyed the final alternate scene of Nash's big speech at the end. It has that quote that was in the trailer that I loved, but was cut from the final movie and Goldsman used it in his Oscar® acceptance speech ("It's one thing to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to discover a beautiful heart."). In either case, that final scene is quite interesting from a visual standpoint. But enough about that. These scenes are worthy additions to the DVD. Sadly, however, they are presented in non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound. The quality isn't great either as they are somewhat blurry and dirty. Still, they're fully edited and are watchable.

Rounding the disc off are some Production Notes about the project (and different ones inside the keep case insert), Cast and Filmmakers biographies and some DVD-ROM goodies. That's right, Universal uses it's Total Axess feature here. Every week, you can log on and get new interview clips, more behind the scenes footage and other sweet stuff. This is just more bonus material you can access through your computer, and as I've found with the "Spy Game" DVD, is somewhat groundbreaking as if filmmakers and the studios want to offer more to keep users coming back or couldn't fit extra stuff on the disc, they can get it right here.

Now on to the second disc. A Beautiful Partnership: Ron Howard & Brian Grazer is a five minute interview with the two (in full frame). Grazer talks about discovering the project and getting the rights to it. Grazer talks about setting the project up and choosing between Howard and an unnamed director, and of course, going with his longtime friend. Grazer goes on about "testing" their creative partnership. Howard talks about his relationship with Grazer, and how they work quite nicely with their directing and producing styles. The two are together and talk at an even focus. All of this is played against Horner's score, and stills, film clips and behind the scenes footage are shown. This is an honest little piece about their relationship as filmmakers and friends, and you can tell what their saying isn't some promo fluff but rather true. While there are mentions of the film, it's basically about how they go about their business. It's still a nice watch.

Development Of The Screenplay (AKA Inside a Writer's Mind: a conversation with Akiva Goldsman) has the usual behind the scenes footage and film clips (plus clips of the actual John Nash), but offers an introduction from Brian Grazer. From there, Goldsman speaks in this full frame eight minute piece. He talks about Nasar's book and then crafting the screenplay as far as what he wanted to do with it. He talks about getting the project, working it out and his method of going through the screenplay. He talks about his favorite scenes, and that he literally wrote an emotional scene 75 times (!). This is a very good watch and, believe it or not, this little conversation is more enjoyable than Goldsman's commentary.

Meeting John Nash lasts about eight and a half minutes and is also in full frame, and is quite interesting. Howard talks about meeting John Nash, and getting Nash to explain his own theories to him. From there, Howard talks about Nash opening himself up more.Howard seems touched about meeting Nash and then realizing all his plights. From there, a load of footage of Howard meeting with Nash is unraveled as Nash and Howard talk, and as Nash explains theories. Very cool and a great watch.

Accepting The Nobel Prize In Economics (full frame again!), is a mere two minutes and is the real life footage of Nash accepting his prize for his work, as featured in the end of the movie. Short, but good enough to watch. And hey, you got some Swedish subtitles and some Swedish audio with it.

Casting Russell Crowe & Jennifer Connolly lasts about six minutes. This full frame feature has Howard talking about how key casting is for him, and through stills, behind the scenes and film clips, and of course, Howard's narration, we learn about his casting of Russell Crowe. Most of Howard's interviews here, however, seem to be from press junkets and on the set, though the opening we can tell is made for the DVD. Brian Grazer chimes in as well.Still, Howard picked a great choice obviously and raves on and on about Crowe's energy for the project. The second half of this is about the same with Jennifer Connelly. Clips, Grazer saying a few words, stills, behind the scenes footage and more. Howard talks about why he chose her, her thoughts on the character such. Nice, but it would have been really good to get Crowe and Connolly chiming in somewhere.

The Process Of Age Progression supplement, in full frame and lasting seven minutes, has clips, behind the scenes footage and stills, Howard and Grazer here talk about the make-up at the start, but the main focus here is an insightful look at the process with the artist himself, Greg Cannom. Cannom offers about creating and making the differences in ages through the makeup, and how happy he was how it all turned out. I totally agree. The changes look gradual and quite natural. Using actual models and talking about the techniques he used for what scenes, he's quite thoughtful and really seems to enjoy his work.

Storyboard Comparisons are just that. Introduced by Howard as he talks about the advantages of using them, we have five comparisons to choose from. The first three ("The Pub Scene," "John Nash Meets Dr. Rosen" and "Baby In The Bathtub") made it into the final film. The other two ("Nash and Parcher Dispose Of The Car" and "Alicia and the Disappearing Audience") did not. The final film is squeezed at the top, the storyboards at the bottom in a full frame image. Yet, you can enlarge the storyboards. The deleted scene of Alicia and the audience does have timecodes, though. Nothing new here really, but if you're interested in comparing the two mediums and these particular scenes, you can.

Creating The Special Effects lasts about eleven minutes. Howard introduces it by talking about Imagine's relationship with Digital Domain and how they've used their services for a few films. Howard then segues into his relationship with Kevin Mack, and then the feature begins. Yes, it has film clips, stills and behind the scenes footage too. Yet the focus here is Mack. Mack talks about how creating special effects go about with him and what it all comes down to. Granted, this isn't an effects heavy movie, but there are some special effects choice shots. There's some demos of the bar scene, the baby in the tub and a few others. Still, this is some really cool stuff and is explained quite well in the eleven minute timespan.

Scoring The Film (yes, also in full frame, film clips, behind the scenes footage and stills) is about James Horner's wonderful composing work on the film. Grazer and Howard offer praise for Horner, and then a behind the scenes short of Howard and Horner talking about doing the project together and what they wanted to create musically comes into form. I would have loved for this to be longer, but Horner does offer some insightful remarks on what he wanted to create. There's also a brief bit with Charlotte Church, who sings the closing song.

Everything else is purely promotional. Inside A Beautiful Mind lasts twenty two and a half minutes, and is your typical making of feature. I've seen this on television several times (studios pay for a time slot like an informercial and run it). It has that trailer-like narrator, behind the scenes footage, film clips and a slew of interviews with the likes of Howard, Grazer, author Sylvia Nasar, Conolly, Crowe, Goldsman and the real Nash. There's history on Nash's life, what he did, making the movie and what the filmmakers wanted to accomplish and praise for the film (you get to see Howard getting honored). This is better than the usual promotional making-of feature, but let it be said, all the other featurette supplements on the disc are a bit more insightful.

Academy Awards® has short clips of the winner's reactions back stage for the press. Howard and Grazer, Howard, Connolly and Goldsman. I guess this is what makes it the "Awards Edition!" All are rather short.

Rounding the supplements out is the Theatrical Trailer in two channel sound and non-anamorphic widescreen, a Soundtrack Spot, information on Organizations you can contact dealing with Schizophrenia (a nice touch) and Now Showing. A promo spot showing Universal on DVD, followed by your selection of trailers and a sneak peak at the actual DVD: "Apollo 13," "The Family Man," "K-Pax" and "Patch Adams."

Overall, truly outstanding supplements. Most of these seemed to be made exclusively for the DVD, so let me rant here... why full frame? To please that mass market consumer? Couldn't they shoot in high definition video? I guess not... oh well. I hope studios in the future do adopt to creating widescreen supplements. Another disappointment of mine was that the actors weren't involved in any of the supplements. Yes, the filmmakers did an outstanding job, but I would have loved interviews with Connolly and Crowe. The acting is a crucial part to the movie, and I wish there was something made just for the DVD on them. Oh well.

On a different note, the packaging is quite interesting. The two discs have the film logo and specs on them, while the background has imprinted raves and their critics. Heheh... might as well just sell the film everytime you look at that shiny disc, right? Well, I guess it is the "Awards Edition" for something. Oh, and I think the box art is quite strong. I thought the film poster itself was quite bland, but the image of Crowe in madness on the cover comes to represent what the film is about. Finally, the menus are really superb and well done. They're a bit mysterious, but their setup, images and that Horner score all work together perfectly.

 

One of 2001's best films (in my opinion at least), "A Beautiful Mind" is truly an impressive work of filmmaking brilliance from Ron Howard. The performances are simply flawless, the screenplay is good and it's an overall solid movie with a lot of heart, spirit and emotion. This DVD release won't disappoint fans of the movie either. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very good, the picture quality is very nice and the extras dig deep into several different aspects of creating this remarkable film. This is a really good release for a really good film. It surely earned it. And while it may be a little early, this probably ranks as one of the best DVD releases of 2002.