About Time (Blu-ray)

February 12, 2014 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

When it comes to romantic comedies, I have to admit that I wander into “eye rolling” territory often. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jaded on love, but I’m also not a hopeless romantic. So when I see a movie that’s in my “to be reviewed” pile that fits this bill, it usually goes to the bottom of said pile.  That and if it stars Rachel McAdams, who has carved out quite the career starring in this genre (think of her as the modern day Meg Ryan), it’s not exactly the motivation that I need to pop the disc in the player.  But, sometimes things happen and I decided to take a look at the back of this box.  Hey. Cool. Time travel!  Ok, I’m intrigued.  That and I see that the film was directed by Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Pirate Radio and Love Actually) – ok, I think I’ll give this a shot.  Now, granted, the box makes a mention “From the Director of Love Actually.” That’s a bold statement as the film has become quite the modern classic.  Does it set the bar high?  Yes. Yes it does.  So what’s this time traveling romantic comedy that I’m about to watch?

Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, son of actor Brendan Gleeson) is an awkward teen on the verge of his 21st birthday. Upon that magical day (literally), his father (Bill Nighy) informs him that the men in his family can, in fact, travel back through time. Granted it’s within the span of their own lifetimes, so they can’t witness the birth of Christ or anything of that nature.  Tim, doubtful, gives it a shot only to find that it’s real.  Instead of using his newfound talent for financial gain (he later becomes a lawyer), his focus is on love and, more to the point, finding a girlfriend.  He finds that in Mary (Rachel McAdams), someone who he has an instant connection with…once. You see, at times he uses his “talent” to help out others that somewhat mars his initial encounter with Mary.  However as Tim’s relationship progresses, he finds less of a use for his time traveling abilities and sets his focus on his family. But life always gets involved and it’s not long that potential problems with his sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson) and his father make him come to a crossroads in his life.

Admittedly there aren’t many movies that I’ve seen that made me shed a tear, but I’ll say that this is one of them. I think the last one was 50/50 and oddly enough another time traveling film, The Lake House.  Weird.  As romantic comedies go, About Time succeeds because it doesn’t prattle on about love. It sets the focus on family and life with a most unusual backdrop – time travel. Looking back, I think the strongest performance in the film was by Bill Nighy, who I only remember from the Harry Potter films.  Rachel McAdams plays, well, the same role she plays in her romantic comedy films (The Vow and The Notebook come to mind). As with all movies of this nature, it’s not perfect. The logic can be a bit flawed when going back and forth through time and the whole “Butterfly Effect” thing is somewhat ignored. Still, I don’t think the movie was trying to capture the science-fiction element of things and rather just gave us a new perspective on love.  And I liked that.

Video: How’s it look?

Presented in a 2.40:1 AVC HD image, About Time is indicative of any new to Blu-ray film from a major studio. Maybe it’s just me, but romantic comedies seem to have a warmer color palette used and that’s certainly evident here. Even given that the film takes place in England, which can look dull and drab in other films, it seems to look warmer here.  I’ll also say that there are a few “Gingers” in the film and the red hair seems to leap off the screen.  Flesh tones look natural with contrast and black levels working well with one another. I really noticed nothing that would detract from a perfect score, save a couple of scenes that seemed a bit soft to me.  Suffice it to say, viewers won’t be disappointed.

Audio: How’s it sound?

I don’t think that this film is one that will wake the neighbors, rather it’s more along the lines of your standard romantic comedy. The DTS HD Master Audio track does have a few moments, especially with Ben Folds’ song during the closing credits.  Vocals are crisp and clear, surrounds are used sparingly but they are used and the front stage shoulders the rest of the more light-hearted soundtrack.  There are a few times, namely during the New Year’s Eve party, that do stand out so it’s not all vocals.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Some Universal titles are hit and miss with their supplemental package, but I’m pleased to say that About Time does manage to pack in the features and makes this purchase a no-brainer. Let’s take a look at what’s included.

DVD Extras

  • Audio Commentary – This room full of collaborators includes Director Richard Curtis and Cast Members Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy, Vanessa Kirby, Lydia Wilson & Tom Hollander. It varies between a light-hearted mix and some pretty interesting tidbits about the film.  As a fan of the film, I thoroughly enjoyed this.
  • Deleted Scenes – Four scenes are shown with an introduction by Director Richard Curtis.
  • Blooper Reel: Making Movies is Serious Business – Again, Curtis provides us an introduction and we’re greeted with the foul-mouthed errors that occurred on set.
  • “The Luckiest” Music – Artist Ben Folds (long one of my favorite musicians) has re-recorded the song for the film and its subsequent use throughout the film.
  • Ellie Goulding “How Long Will I Love You?” Video – The video with some locales from the film.
  • Previews – Other Universal titles are shown including Pitch Perfect, Pride and Prejudice and, of course, Love Actually.

Blu-ray Exclusives

  • About Tim and Time Travel – Running at only five minutes, this doesn’t exactly end a debate on the time travel issue, but mainly Curtis telling us how he started with the end of the movie and arrived at the time travel element.
  • The Look, Style and Locations – Curtis admits how he loved the look and style of Like Crazy and his longing to re-create some of that on this film.
  • The World of Richard Curtis – This gives an all too brief look at the talented writer/director and as we can tell by the cast’s comments, he seems like a great guy to work with and for.  He says that this will be the last film he directs. Let’s hope not.
  • DVD/UltraViolet Copy

Disc Scores