March 13, 2013
My first impressions were mixed. I do not think the subheading fits the title, because “Cosmogony” has a high tone that does not gel with the demotic “a fanedit about us”. The cover art was exceptional though and fitted the theme perfectly.
The DVD main menu was simple and effective, with a short, well-chosen clip that avoided the usual trap of animated menus: boring me senseless with a repeating montage of what I am about to see. (It could run for a little longer before it loops though.) The chapter menu is fine, but the black text does not work well against the background image. There is a nice trailer as an extra.
The division of the work into sections, with well-chosen headings, is successful and helps to unify the edit and give it structure; however, some sections are overlong, feel disjointed and feature too much material from the usually-well-selected films from which they are sourced. As a result, there are moments in which the edit feels like watching the originals and loses pace. These include the extended sequence with the proto-humans and the latter half of the one from 1492.
Where it succeeds, the edit is wonderful. Where it doesn't, it is always interesting, even when it has ceased to be enjoyable, and this says a great deal about the scope of the edit and the ambition of its editor. A strong beginning and ending help greatly and serve to bookend an edit that feels more like a fan-creation than a fan-edit.
The video, drawn from a variety of sources, is of high quality for DVD. Extremely rarely, there is some blocking. Perhaps inevitably, the quality is not always consistent, and I couldn't help feeling that some color grading could have been applied to give the edit more of a look of its own.
Unfortunately, the edit cuts between sources that display nominal analogue blanking and sources that do not, with the result that the transition from one source to another is sometimes visible, and this should have been addressed during editing. What effects shots there were did not stand out as being added, which means they succeeded. :-)
Overall, Cosmogony presents a pleasing and generally-stable image.
The audio is harder to judge. It is well edited. No cuts stand out. Dynamic range is subject to personal preference but, as the edit is largely music-based, it is worth noting that sometimes the volume is a little high. Music choices are a matter of taste, so I shall simply observe that the music chosen usually fitted the subject matter and say that the replacement of the original scoring showed skill.
TMBTM's work is always vibrant and artistic; Cosmogony is no exception. It wavers between the broad, almost dreamlike sweep for which it aims and its focus on individual moments, but is diverting to the last.