Begin Again
R2 - United Kingdom - Entertainment One
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (3rd November 2014).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

You're only as strong as your next move.

Seduced by dreams of making it big, Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) move to New York to pursue their passion for music. However, when Dave rejects her for the fame and fortune of a big solo contract, Gretta find herself alone and far from home.

Just when she’s decided to move back to London, life begins to look up when struggling record producer Dan (Mark Ruffalo) stumbles upon her singing during an open mic night. Captivated by her raw talent and inspiring authenticity Dan persuades Gretta to take a fresh approach to making music and together they transform the streets of New York in to their recording studio, giving their careers one final shot.

Video

Entertainment One have released the light-hearted feel-good musical "Begin Again" on to DVD in the United Kingdom, using the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer is anamorphic, in PAL format, and looks good, but not great.

As with any upbeat movie, the palette for this movie suits the tone of the story, with many bright New York street colours. Unfortunately, blacks are a bit of a downfall for the transfer, hardly ever as deep and inky as they should be, often looking washed out and overly soft. This is quite noticeable when Mark Ruffalo takes Keira Knightley to Cee-Lo Green's house, especially in clothing. Greys fare much better, as do the lighter colours, with considerable depth being added during some of the musical numbers (like in the alleyway with the kids). Details aren't bad, with some strong close-ups and decent mid to long range shots, primarily in the scene in which our stars use the headphone splitter as they go around New York. Some smaller items can appear clunky and blocky, but it's forgiveable for the format. In the first few minutes, there was some quite bad aliasing at 3:43 along the escape routes of the apartment blocks. Although aliasing does re-appear a couple of times, it is only particularly bad in that one instance. Some light edge enhancement is present, but no obvious banding, crush, or colour bleed. There's no damage to the print such as scratches or dirt either.

The film is uncut, and lasts 99:39.

Audio

When a movie relies and focuses so heavily on music, you expect the audio track to be impressive. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track included on this release manages to capture the music perfectly, effortlessly utilising the surrounds to make you feel the emotions that the music is conveying. There's a good mix of music included on the track, from classics like "Luck Be a Lady Tonight" performed by Frank Sinatra, to new music specifically written for the film performed by Keira Knightley (and no doubt some heavy autotune) and Adam Levine, all of which show great clarity and high levels of fidelity. Unfortunately, some of the more subtle environmental effects let the track down slightly, and although they can be heard, they feel as though they occasionally lack directionality. There are no issues with the track such as drop outs or scratches, and I noticed no background hiss.

As well as optional English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing, there is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio descriptive track.

Extras

The main extra included on this disc is a featurette entitled "The Making of Begin Again" (20:00). This is about as standard as these things get. Obviously made for television, the featurette is made up of plenty of footage from the movie interspersed with self-congratulatory interview segments with various members of the cast and crew. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be learned here. It's only worth a watch if you really really enjoyed the movie.

Next up, we have a selection of music videos:
- "Lost Stars" performed by Adam Levine (4:17)
- "Lost Stars" performed by Keira Knightley (3:49)
- "Tell Me if You Wanna Go Home" performed by Keira Knightley (3:39)
- "Like a Fool" performed by Keira Knightley (2:25)
I really enjoyed these tracks during the film, and it's great to have them selectable individually from the extras menu, but I have to ask - was there really a need to put the lyrics in huge multi-coloured writing for each song through the clips? This should've been an optional annoyance really, not one foisted upon us. Still, the highlight for me was "Like a Fool" which was a significant scene in the movie for Keira Knightley's character.

There are also a series of start-up trailers, which are not accessible from the menu:
- "The Good Lie" (1:58)
- "The Woman in Black: Angel of Death" (0:50)
- "What If" (2:20)
- "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (1:53)

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: B Audio: B+ Extras: D+ Overall: B

 


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