The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 104 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Mark Strong, Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany, Thomas Kretschmann, Harriet Walter, Jim Broadbent
Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallee
Music by: Ilan Eshkeri
Written by: Julian Fellowes
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 20, 2010
"Her country. Her heart. Her Majesty"
Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend star in the lavish historical drama, THE YOUNG VICTORIA. Resolved to establish her authority over those who rule in her stead, a young and inexperienced Queen Victoria (Blunt) draws strength from the love of Albert (Friend), the handsome prince who’s stolen her heart. Based on the courtship and early reign of England’s longest-serving monarch, THE YOUNG VICTORIA is a majestic tale of romance, intrigue and power.
I generally tend to enjoy biographical films, especially if they are well done. I had seen the trailer for The young Victoria and wasn’t left with much of a desire to see it. When the Blu-ray Disc showed up for review I wasn’t expecting much. I have said it before and I will again, one of the things I enjoy most about reviewing movies is coming across good films that I probably wouldn’t have watched otherwise. I thoroughly enjoyed The young Victoria and found it to be a wonderfully engaging character driven story.
Victoria was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain from June 1837 until her death in January of 1901. Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and 7 months, longer than that of any other British monarch before or since, and her reign is the longest of any female monarch in history. The time of her reign is known as the Victorian era, a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military progress within the United Kingdom. The film focuses on her early years, briefly as a child, and later as a teen and subsequent successor to the throne at 18 after the death of her uncle King William IV. It carefully depicts her struggles and dissatisfaction with her childhood and the controlling nature of the “Kensington System” an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by her mother and her live in lover, Sir John Conroy, to prevent the princess from ever meeting people whom they deemed undesirable, and to render her weak and utterly dependent upon them.
Victoria is also shown to be astute, gregarious, formidable, and a lover of the arts. Her youth and inexperience with politics leave her at the mercy of others who advise her for the purposes of meeting their own agendas. That is until she meets and falls in love with Prince Albert. After their marriage the two would rule as partners for twenty years until Albert’s premature death from Typhoid at the age of 42. Victoria would carry on and become one of the most revered and longest reigning monarch in English history.
Emily Blunt delivers the best performance I have seen from her to date in the title role. A film like this lives or dies by the strength of its cast and this one features an excellent ensemble that delivers. Mark Strong as Sir John Conroy, Miranda Richardson as the Duchess of Kent (Victoria’s mother), Paul Bettany as Lord Melbourne, Jim Broadbent as King William, Rupert Friend as Prince Albert, and Harriet Walter as Queen Adelaide. The story is told with high regard, passion, and a dramatic flare that conveys the essence of Victoria’s strengths, weaknesses and love for both her country/people and the love of her life. This film doesn’t necessarily require a deep interest in the subject matter and can be enjoyed by everyone that appreciates a well executed drama that is supported by a great cast/performances and apt direction.
The rating is for some mild sensuality, a scene of violence, and brief incidental language and smoking.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The young Victoria comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 mbps and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 mbps.
This presentation features an extensive and visually pleasing color palette that offers lush, vibrant textures and detailed panoramic vista views of the landscapes and palatial structures that is impressive. The diverse colors and intricate patterns used in the period clothing worn by the cast looked excellent in high definition. Flesh tones are wholesome and natural with appreciable complexional detail and tonal variety. The video has a rewarding and dimensionally strong quality that offers transparent resolution and meticulous fine rendering. Whites are brilliant and crisp and blacks are stable and deep with noticeable gradational stages that enhances depth in the low lit and shadowy areas of the palatial dwellings. This is a well rounded and reference quality high definition presentation that is boldly colorful, clearly drawn, eye catching and perfectly suited for the source material.
The DTS-HD Master Audio sound is equally impressive and proves to be quite involving. This is a fairly active sound design that supports the story through use of beautifully orchestrated music and refined high level detail. The massed strings and rousing choral during the coronation sequence sounds incredible. The mix generates an involving surround experience that provides excellent balance and 360 degree envelopment that comes in the form of rich atmospherics and extended dynamic range. LFE is present in furtherance of the music and while it never achieves sub bass frequencies, it can easily be felt throughout the room. Dialogue is reproduced as well as I have heard as it has superb clarity and excellent room penetration. For a character driven film this audio presentation delivers opulent detail and spatial, room filling sound that is quite impressive.
This title includes Sony’s new Movie IQ feature which requires a BD-Live connection and allows fans the option of viewing continuously updated details on the cast and crew and to explore relevant trivia such as production facts, music, and soundtrack information which are tied into scenes in the movie.
- 17 deleted/extended scenes
- The making of young Victoria – 5 minute featurette
- Lavish history: A look at the costumes and locations – 7 minute featurette
- The coronation – 2 minute feature
- The wedding – 2 minute feature
- The real Queen Victoria – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) Previews: The imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Hachi: A dog’s tale, Not the Messiah, Extraordinary measures, Nine, Michael Jackson’s This is it, Dear John, A knight’s tale, The other Boleyn girl
- BD-Live enabled
The young Victoria is a compelling, well acted and beautifully shot film based on the early life of Queen Victoria, Great Britain’s longest reigning monarch. I appreciated its factual basis and found myself drawn in by its gratifying script and strong performances by the ensemble cast, most notably Emily Blunt. Its debut on high definition Blu-ray Disc from Sony features reference quality video and resplendent lossless surround sound. The bonus supplements are the same as those on the DVD release and consist of several short features that offer brief background on the production and title subject. If you’re a fan this disc is highly recommended. For genre fans that aren’t familiar with it it’s easily worth a rental so take it for a spin on movie night.
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