Blu-ray Review: ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’
by Rachel Bellwoar
Going into Everything Everywhere All At Once, it helps to know that the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) are also responsible for writing and directing Swiss Army Man. That’s the film in which Daniel Radcliffe is used as a fart-powered boat.
Everything Everywhere All At Once doesn’t have flatulence but it does earn its R-rating with some kinky gags and a wicked sense of humor. It’s also a film where, after ten minutes, all of the tweets about people seeing it multiple times in theaters make sense. It’s not just that the film is well-made (plenty of films are well-made and don’t get that kind of re-attendance). It’s that the Daniels have created a film where, in order to catch everything, one viewing doesn’t cut it. Granted, now that the film is on Blu-ray, viewers have the option to rewind rather than accept missing details sometimes, but that’s not really the point. It’s more a question of watching Everything Everywhere All At Once on its own terms, which means being willing to miss things and not see that as a failure but part of the experience.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is meant to be too much. Between the subtitles, and keeping up with all of the sci-fi rules, there’s a lot going on (and that’s not a knock on subtitles – it’s just a balancing act sometimes, with the visuals moving so fast). Comparatively, telling the universes apart is one of the easier things to do because of how distinct they look; each uses different color gradings and aspect ratios.
No stranger to parallel universes herself (having played Captain and Empress Philippa Georgiou on Star Trek: Discovery), Michelle Yeoh is Evelyn, a mom trying to get her taxes done when her husband, Waymond (The Goonies’ Ke Huy Quan), who suddenly gets taken over by a parallel universe version of himself. According to Waymond, Evelyn can save the world, but she has to take out a woman who looks like their daughter (Stephanie Hsu) first.
At almost two-and-a-half hours long, there’s a lot to admire about Everything Everywhere All At Once, particularly the film’s fearlessness when it comes to not writing anything off as too weird. One-off jokes are ongoing storylines in this movie, and there’s nothing like realizing that absurd scene you never thought would get a sequel is going to keep recurring throughout the movie (see the “racoon” and “the rocks”).
At the same time, Everything Everywhere All At Once is tiring and will test some viewer’s endurance. Evelyn’s brutal honesty can be divisive, too, especially when geared at the gentle Waymond. That it took twenty years for Quan to be offered a role of this caliber is a crime — especially as he quietly revolutionizes what it means to be a male action hero.
At the start of their commentary, the Daniels admit to being wiped from doing press, but that fatigue doesn’t show at all in their conversation. From sharing influences to pointing out where they made cameos, the Daniels couldn’t be more willing to give away trade secrets. Find out what they considered including instead of the pinky fight and listen as they talk about how different Evelyn is from Yeoh’s more composed roles.
Also On The Blu-ray:
- Two featurettes – “Almost Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Everything Everywhere All At Once” is longer, at 40 minutes, and includes interviews with costume designer Shirley Kurata and other department heads, but Scheinert gives the best description of the film in “Putting Everything On the Bagel: Cooking Up the Multiverse” when he says it’s “like dropping our parents into one of our weird movies and watching them … struggle to make sense of it. And so the whole project was kind of this empathy journey about generational divides.”
- Deleted Scenes, including two universes that were cut from the film, as well as the missing payoff scene to the karaoke machine receipt.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is available on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD from Lionsgate.