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A Brief History Of Time Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Review

A Brief History of Time Blu-ray

“A Brief History of Time” offers unique insight into the life and mind of Stephen Hawking.

Based on Stephen Hawking’s novel of the same name, “A Brief History of Time” is a documentary feature film (directed by the award winning documentarian Errol Morris) about the brilliant theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. The film is essentially divided into two parts. The first half deals with Hawking’s childhood, personality, family, his time at Oxford and Cambridge, and his tragic ALS diagnosis while the second half digs into Hawking’s theories and studies on the universe, the past, time, the Big Bang, stars, God, and black holes. Hawking provides commentary and partial narration via his electronic voice while family members, friends, fellow students, colleagues and his own mother Isabel are also interviewed throughout.

You don’t need to have an interest in science, cosmology, or theoretical physics to appreciate ‘Brief’ as the film is more of a character study than a college course. While Hawking’s findings are educational and thought provoking to be sure, the film is at its best when exploring Hawking as a person. Whether we’re learning about Hawking’s eccentric family or the fact that his illness completely changed his career trajectory, his life never ceases to be fascinating. Yes, one could argue that Morris glosses over his life and doesn’t truly go into great depth about certain subject matters, but given that the film crew was only granted a certain amount of time with Hawking, I think the film does cover a lot of ground both in his life and in his work.

Perhaps the only thing that I found bothersome about ‘Brief’ was the strange lack of identification tags for the commentators. Given that all of the commentators were of great importance to the film, I was rather annoyed that they were never properly identified until the end credits. It would have been nice to know who was speaking throughout the film as a common courtesy to the viewers and the interviewees.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? A superb restoration. Everything from the sets to the visual images accompanying discussions looks crisp and clear.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD. How does it sound? Philip Glass’ score, the interviewees and Hawking’s electronic voice all sounded sharp to this reviewer.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Sterritt, a chapter from Stephen Hawking’s book “My Brief History,” and an excerpt from his novel “A Brief History of Time.”
* A newly shot 34 minute interview from 2013 with Errol Morris. He chats about documentaries, truth, “A Brief History of Time,” Stephen Hawking, his experience in directing the film,
* “John Bailey”- Another newly shot interview from 2013. This one is with cinematographer John Bailey. He discusses “Mishima,” Errol Morris, the production of “A Brief History of Time,” the sets, lighting, and more for 11 minutes plus.

Overall Thoughts: Anyone who appreciates engaging documentaries would do well to check out “A Brief History of Time.”

April 1, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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