Tuesday, 28 February 2012

"The Jane Austen Book Club" on BLU RAY. A Review Of The 2007 Film Now Reissued And Remastered Onto A 'European' BLU RAY.

"…Beautiful And Accomplished…"

I reviewed the DVD to the lovely "Jane Austen Book Club" in November 2008 and have been hoping for a playable UK Blu Ray reissue ever since - and at last - here it is (albeit in a roundabout way). And what a corker it's turned out to be.

First up - the BLU RAY is a European issue on Sony Pictures Classics (Danish to be exact - complete with Danish details on the rear sleeve). The 'billedformat' (aspect) here is a High Definition Widescreen Presentation in 2.40:1. The ratio aspects of 1.78:1 and 16.9 also appear at the bottom of the box too. Whatever way you look at it - it automatically fills your entire screen (no bars top or bottom) and unusual for this kind of reissue, the film is 're-mastered in high definition'. Unlike its US counterpart where some have complained about the softness of the image - the 're-mastered' difference here is gobsmacking. This is a beautiful transfer from start to finish and has made the whole film feel properly grown up all of a sudden. Best of all for European customers - it's 'Region A, B and C' coded - which is all-regions and will therefore play on all players.

Right from the opening montage of busy people on mobiles trying to get through their day without killing themselves or someone else - the clarity of the shots and the actor's names rolling in the credits is absolutely amazing. When Prudie (Emily Blunt) is in her car with Lynn Redgrave (who plays her mother) - the camera is maybe two foot away from her face and you can't see embarrassing blusher or lipstick to up the lips - her makeup is so expertly done and the scene so beautifully filmed that it looks absolutely spot on - without you knowing why. When Maria Bello is showing Grigg around her dog pens (Hugh Dancy) in the morning sunshine - it's fantastically clear - and adds a depth and warmth to the watch the DVD didn't even get close to (if you want an appraisal of the movie itself - go to my separate DVD posting entitled "Never Underestimate The Power Of A Well-Written Letter").

Almost all the extras of the DVD have been transferred to BLU RAY (see list below). Particularly nice is the 'Behind The Scenes' feature which has interviews with most of the cast clearly enthused by the film they're in and Robin Swicord's superb Writing and Direction - and a short but fascinating history on Austen in literature.

To sum up - in a world where I watch and review way too many lack-lustre transfers onto BLU RAY - this BR version of "The Jane Austen Book Club" is a joy to look at. It gives the punter what they want (properly great picture quality) - and I'm thrilled to say that this little peach of a film fully deserves it. And it's reasonably priced too.

Highly recommended.

BLU RAY Specifications:
REGIONS: A, B and C (all regions)
ASPECT: High Definition Widescreen 2.40:1 (1.78:1 and 16.9)
AUDIO: English TrueHD 5.1 and Italian TrueHD 5.1
SUBTITLES: Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, English and English for the Hard Of Hearing

BONUS Material:
Cast And Crew Commentary (Subtitles in English and Italian)
Behind-The-Scenes of The Jane Austen Book Club
The Life Of Jane Austen
The Book Club: Deconstructed
Walking The Red Carpet Los Angeles Premier (DVD-only feature)
Deleted Scenes

Barcode for Danish disc is 5051159223470 – they’re using it for UK releases too.

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