The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 119 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon
Directed by: Tom Hooper
Music by: Alexander Desplat
Written by: David Seidler
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 19, 2011
"It takes leadership to confront a nation's fear. It takes friendship to conquer your own."
When England’s throne is suddenly thrust upon him, amidst royal family scandal and impending world war, King George VI must overcome a lifelong, debilitating speech impediment to lead his nation. After his iron-willed, compassionate wife Elizabeth secretly enlists an eccentric speech therapist, the two men forge an unlikely friendship that will ultimately empower the monarch to find his voice, inspire his people and rally the world.
Public speaking has always made me a barrel of nerves. In the opening scene, when King George VI (Colin Firth) approached the microphone at Wembley Stadium to give 'The King's Speech', I was riddled with anxiety. This is a testament to how effective Tom Hooper's direction was, as the plot of the film had not yet been fully introduced.
Colin Firths portrayal of the stuttering English Duke of York, was absolutely wonderful. Not just in the believability of his 'stammer', but in the way he emoted having a big heart deep below his guarded nature. He also conveyed an intoxicating uncertainty as he not only worked to overcome his stuttering speech pattern, but ultimately learned to overcome himself. After trying every so-called cure for his stutter, from a mouthful of marbles to smoking, his wife, played with much needed comic relief by Helena Bonham Carter, sends him off to meet Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). He reluctantly agrees to work with Lionel, a speech therapist of Australian descent, to try to overcome his speech impediment. Their unlikely friendship gives him a new outlook on the common man, the world, and a confidence to take the throne after the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, and in the beginnings of WWII. The interactions between Firth and Rush are thrilling display of acting chops, and their on-screen chemistry was nothing short of a joy to watch.
From direction to acting, script and pacing, I found 'The King's Speech' to be engaging, fully enjoyable and worthy of all the accolades and superlatives it has received. It won Best Film, Best Actor, as well as Director in the 83rd Academy Awards. It also received nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Actress. This is one not to be missed!
Rated R for some language.
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:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
From the opening shots, it is evident we will be treated to great details by the definition in the BBC Studios microphones grille. Unfortunately these details, though rendered quite well on close-ups, appear a bit soft on long shots. Shadow detail and black levels is where this release was lacking the most, appearing crushed and noisy a bit more often that I would like to have seen. Colors felt natural, though, at times a bit understated; they were grounded with Flesh-tones that looked spot-on.
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound track was very nice for what seemed to the primary focus, voices. Geoffrey Rush had a buttery warmth in the low end when his voice rumbled, while the clicks and pops in Colin Firth's stutter came through with a crisp level of articulation. Surrounds were used quite well, but seeing that this is a dialogue driven film, it was mostly for atmospherics like echoes in the large, open rooms of most the films locals. Alexandre Desplat's score was the most compelling aspect of the mix, not only sounding superb, but adding much needed dynamics.
- Audio Commentary With Director Tom Hooper
- (HD) Making of Featurette: An Inspirational Story of An Unlikely Friendship
- (HD) Q&A With The Director & The Cast Including Colin Firth
- Speeches From The Real King George VI
- The Real Lionel Logue Highlights
- Previews: Blue Valentine, The Company Men
'The Kings Speech' is worthy of all the accolades it has received. Though I had a few minute issues with the video presentation, I found it to be a well above average Blu-ray release. The supplemental features were worth the time to view, and I did quite enjoy the Q&A, as well as listening to speeches from the real King George VI. If you have yet to see 'The Kings Speech' I highly suggest viewing it in its original form (not the PG-13 re-release), as one of my favorite scenes will surely be missed. This release comes highly recommended.
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Reference Review System:
Marantz SR5005 Receiver
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Artison Portrait LCR and Artison LRS Surround Speakers
Martin Logan Dynamo 500 Subwoofer