Dive deeper into the Daniels’ multiverse on Blu-ray and 4K
Everything Everywhere All at Once is the movie of 2022. It won’t be the highest grossing film of the year, although it has set a record for indie darling A24. It won’t be the only multiverse movie of the year. What Everything Everywhere All at Once has working in its favor, however, is everything else. It’s the most imaginative, thrilling, heart-filled movie of the year. It’s also the most movie of the year. It’s bursting at the seams with ideas both juvenile and sophisticated, mixing them into a blend that will make you laugh as easily as it will make you cry. Call it the Raccacoonie Effect.
It’s about a middle-aged woman, Evelyn, played by Michelle Yeoh, who runs a laundromat with her milquetoast husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan). They’re staring down the barrel of an IRS audit (doggedly enforced by Jamie Lee Curtis) when Evelyn’s world is upended and expanded when she steps into the multiverse of her life, and the lives of family which, in addition to Waymond, includes their daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) and her father Gong Gong (James Hong). From there the movie becomes an exhilarating emotional ride with something for everyone. There’s jaw-dropping action, gut-busting laughs, romance, silliness, seriousness, domestic drama, rocks, pinatas, and googly eyes. The miracle of it all is that it works so well.
As they demonstrated in their debut Swiss Army Man filmmakers Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively billed as Daniels, are adept at balancing the wildly different tones they’re chasing. They take eye-catching premises like multiverses and farting corpses and marry it to deeply intimate stories about identity, life, love, and human connection. Their work is empathetic first and foremost, with characters who have gone out too far on their own and lost their way. To get back to who they are, who they want to be, they have to reach out to the people around them and trust that those people will reach back. To be that vulnerable is courageous and powerful, and to have it validated is one of life’s great gifts.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is like the friend or stranger that asks you how your day is going and sincerely wants to hear your answer. It can be overwhelming, but if you open yourself up to it the rewards are more than worth it. For a film that has some much going on, it also takes time to listen. It gives the characters room to express themselves and gives the other characters the time and space they need to take it in.
The Blu-ray release will only deepen fans’ appreciation for the film. Not only does Everything play spectacularly on repeat viewings, but the special features on the disc are actually insightful and enhance the film’s multitude of charms. First up is “Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a 40-minute peek behind the scenes. If there’s a throughline to the special features, it’s that everyone poured a lot of themselves into the movie. Most of the core cast and a handful of crew members take turns talking about their contributions and ideas they brought to the movie or thought of in relation to what someone else was doing. It’s an endearing affair.
The same goes for Daniels’ commentary track. Recorded as the movie was beginning its theatrical run, the Daniels are exhausted and excited. The commentary covers all manner of interesting tidbits (like OutKast’s Andre 3000 playing flute on the soundtrack during the stairwell fight at the 46-minute mark) and explanations for many of the creative choices. Scheinert explains that they aren’t precious with their process. The candor is refreshing.
Other highlights of the track include both Daniels singing the praises of Home Alone’s opening credit sequence, the origins of Racaccoonie, and a funny story about how the filmmakers didn’t realize how distressing the early scene where Waymond tries to give himself a papercut would be for audiences (they assure viewers that Ke Huy Quan was never in danger of succeeding). In a moment that captures Everything’s mix of high- and low-brow, they recall acclaimed author Ted Chiang explaining the first appearance of a particular prop as “Chekov’s Butt-plug.” I don’t know if there’s a fancier release for the film coming down the pike, but with the quality of the film and the special features, this release is highly recommended.
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The film is available now on Blu-ray and 4K UHD. A Blu-ray was provided for the purposes of this review