Beyond the Sea—Lions Gate

Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 2

In this biopic of Bobby Darin, Kevin Spacey accomplishes quite a surprising feat: In addition to writing and directing the film and playing the role of Darin, he provides the vocals for all of the musical numbers featuring the entertainer. And he does a fine job. But, outside of this, the film sinks from the sky like a flaming zeppelin.

The movie lightheartedly follows Darin's seemingly unabated rise to fame in both music and movies. His relationship with his wife, fellow teen icon Sandra Dee, is rendered confusingly and two-dimensionally. In fact, it seems that all of the characters are intentionally shallow as part of the movie's whimsical, irreverent feel. Because the audience never really gets much opportunity to understand or connect with the characters, when the one plot twist arrives and the film suddenly becomes a somber, character-driven drama, it just doesn't make much sense. The reasons for Darin's emotional, existential crisis are more or less a complete mystery.

In spite of these failings, the video is presented quite nicely in a 1.78:1 anamorphic aspect ratio with lively colors and a smooth appearance. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is great during the musical sequences. The surrounds receive good use, while the dialogue-based scenes are very clear and intelligible.

Extras include a commentary track with Spacey and producer Andy Paterson and a making-of featurette. The booklet insert lists two more extras that I was strangely unable to locate on my disc: an interview with Darin's manager, Steve Blauner, and archival footage of Darin's estate.