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A Beautiful Mind: Awards Edition

A Beautiful Mind is the by-all-accounts almost-100%-fictional recreation of the real life of Nobel Prize winning physicist John Nash (Russell Crowe), who, bookending violent fits of delusional paranoid schizophrenia, conjured up a revolutionary theory on equilibrium. In a grand effort to suck all nuance from this fertile tale, Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman try to transform Nash into some kind of romantic hero: We see young Nash dreamily scribbling equations on his dorm window; we see shy Nash erecting breakthrough arguments while eyeing a sultry blonde across a crowded room; we see Nash embroiled in dangerous covert government code-breaking operations which, even though imagined by a disturbed intellectual shut-in circa 1950, appear to have been ripped from trite 1980s B-movies by the hack screenwriter (Akiva Goldsman) of such clichéd tripe as Lost in Space and the last two Batman movies. Despite physical miscasting, Crowe does a good job selling Nash's hyperactive intellect and the tolls of his mental illness, and Jennifer Connelly, who won a Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Nash's long-suffering wife Alicia, does a fine job given her limited role. Also with Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer, Adam Goldberg and Anthony Rapp. Disc One of Universal's two-disc A Beautiful Mind: Awards Edition features the film in a good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Accompanying the feature are two facile audio commentaries (accessible only by navigating to the Languages menu), one by Howard and the other by Goldsman, and 26 minutes of unindexed deleted scenes with an introduction and optional commentary by Howard. The second disc in this package is littered with featurettes, including "A Beautiful Partnership" Ron Howard and Brian Grazer," "Development of the Screenplay," "Meeting John Nash — The Nash Theory of Equilibrium," "Accepting the Nobel Prize in Economics," "The Process of Age Progression," a storyboards-to-final-feature comparison, "Creation of Special Effects," "Scoring the Film," Academy Award footage and reactions, and the EPK "Inside A Beautiful Mind." Trailer, dual-DVD slimline keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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