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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

81






Studio and Year: MGM - 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 91 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Ewen Bremner, Peter Dinklage, Matthew MacFadyen, Kris Marshall, Alan Tudyk, Daisy Donovan, Rupert Graves
Directed by: Frank Oz
Music by: Murray Gold
Written by: Dean Craig
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 7, 2011







"We all grieve in different ways"



Film Synopsis:


A dignified funeral ceremony erupts in uproarious chaos when a family is forced to come to terms with each other's bad behavior, outrageous faults and hidden secrets.



My Take:


As the mourners and guests at a British country manor struggle valiantly to "keep a stiff upper lip," a dignified ceremony devolves into a hilarious, no-holds-barred debacle of misplaced cadavers, indecent exposure, and shocking family secrets. This is a hilarious comedy about family, death, and life's embarrassing moments. I first saw it back in early 2008 when Fox sent me the DVD to review. I had never heard of it and went in with low expectations. We absolutely loved it and I have been eagerly awaiting its arrival on Blu-ray. I would like to share my comments from my initial review of the DVD:

This wonderfully crafted comedy depicts the events surrounding a family in mourning and anything BUT a dignified funeral. The story opens with Daniel and his wife Jane and the recent death of Daniel's father. The funeral has been planned and will be held at the family home. All seems well as the funeral home pulls up to the house with the casket containing the deceased. Upon examining the body within Daniel looks at the undertaker and says who is this? This is not my father. What ensues for the next 88 minutes or so is one of the funniest movies I have seen all year. As the mourners begin to arrive the stage is quickly set up for a wonderful blend of perfectly timed disasters and shocking family secrets. Add to that the very nervous Simon (played to perfection by Alan Tudyk) who is engaged to the deceased's niece Martha (Daisy Donovan) and trembles at the very thought of meeting her disapproving father. In need of something to calm his nerves he is the inadvertent recipient of a drug that sends him into a hallucinogenic stupor. Then there is wheelchair bound Uncle Alfie, Justin, who has never gotten over his one night stand with Martha, Robert (the family favorite), Daniel's very successful brother, and of course the arrival of an unexpected guest who carries with him a secret that makes everything else pale in comparison.

Death at a funeral is not only fun but relevant (from a sort of far fetched perspective) in terms of its portrayal of the complexities that can accompany family gatherings in such situations. It also takes that dynamic and throws in some outrageous scenarios that really strike a fun balance between realism and disbelief. I must admit that there were a couple of moments that literally had me in stitches.

I have turned several people on to it and all have had similar reactions. Watching it now I found myself chuckling and laughing out loud at all the same moments. I refused to see the 2010 remake starring Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Martin Lawrence and company simply because I didn't feel it would do this justice. Friends that have seen both have commented to me that this is the superior version. Director Frank Oz and the well placed cast do a marvelous job with Dean Craig's pitch perfect script. This is a personal favorite that I am thrilled to now own in high definition.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for language, drug content, thematic material and brief nudity.





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)


Audio: 76


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 86


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Death at a funeral comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 37 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.

This film utilizes a de-saturated chromatic visual style that doesn't lend itself to overly vibrant colors. There are instances where brighter elements/deeper color extension are utilized and the boldly applied contrast allows them to stand out where appropriate. Otherwise onscreen images predominantly lean toward a sort drab aesthetic which results in the look that the filmmakers strove for. Dynamic contrast and stable black levels allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with crisp whites and punchy highlights. Resolution is discerning as images are characterized by cleanly rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. This is the case in all but a few instances where definition softens and doesn't retain the same level of lucidity.

The DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail enhances the detection of less prominent sound effects and the subtle nuance in the music score's instrumentation. The film is essentially driven by dialogue so there is little call for deep bass and room filling sound effects. The surround channels supply occasional rear channel ambience which extends the front soundstage from time to time but otherwise the focus remains front oriented. I didn't feel as though the presentation was lacking in way and thought it sounded fine.



Bonus Features:

  • Commentary by director Frank Oz

  • Commentary by writer Dean Craig, and actors Alan Tudyk and Andy Nyman

  • Gag reel - 7 minutes of outtakes

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer




Final Thoughts:


Death at a funeral is a wonderfully crafted comedy that depicts the events surrounding a family in mourning and a funeral service that is anything BUT dignified. It is a personal favorite that I have eagerly anticipated coming to Blu-ray Disc. I am happy to report that its high definition debut from 20th Century Fox is a good one that features rewarding audio/video quality that is supplemented by the two audio commentaries and hilarious outtakes found on the original DVD release. Fans of the 2010 remake that haven't seen this original version are in for a treat. Highly recommended.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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Perfect timing. I just posted a thread last night asking about this release.


Have you seen it on DVD? Just wondering if the BD is worthy replacement of my DVD copy.


I also haven't seen the American remake, and don't wish to. From the previews it just comes across as stupid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn94 /forum/post/20541543


Perfect timing. I just posted a thread last night asking about this release.


Have you seen it on DVD? Just wondering if the BD is worthy replacement of my DVD copy.


I also haven't seen the American remake, and don't wish to. From the previews it just comes across as stupid.


Greetings,


I would say that this is easily worth the upgrade.



Regards,
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts /forum/post/20541727


Greetings,


I would say that this is easily worth the upgrade.



Regards,

Thanks Ralph.


BTW, I really enjoy your reviews and find your assessments of AQ/PQ spot on.
 

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Cannot opine on the BD version, but I can say that both the Amercian version and the English version are hilarious. I laughed just as much at the Amercian version, even after having previously seen the English version. I have also recommended this movie (both versions) to friends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn94 /forum/post/20541846


Thanks Ralph.


BTW, I really enjoy your reviews and find your assessments of AQ/PQ spot on.

Greetings,


Thanks much!



Regards,
 

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Thanks Ralph for the review. For those who haven't seen the original (british ver), do yourself a favor and at least rent it. One of my favorite movies to pull out for those who haven't seen it. My in-laws are somewhat stodgy. They had tears in their eyes laughing so hard. I father in-law couldn't stop talking about how funny it was.


I have the german hd-dvd....I think I may do a lateral upgrade for this title.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by rboster /forum/post/20542156


Thanks Ralph for the review. For those who haven't seen the original (british ver), do yourself a favor and at least rent it. One of my favorite movies to pull out for those who haven't seen it. My in-laws are somewhat stodgy. They had tears in their eyes laughing so hard. I father in-law couldn't stop talking about how funny it was.


I have the german hd-dvd....I think I may do a lateral upgrade for this title.


Greetings,


Great stuff Ron!



Regards,
 

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Hate to cast a cloud on another fine review but I have to say that this is one of maybe two movies in the last 10 years that I could not watch to the end. I put alot of stock in Ralph's reviews and agree with 99% of what he says but I thought I would put out another opinion on this film. Me and the wife rented it after reading glowing reviews a couple of years ago and after about 20 mins we both looked at each other decided to give up and watch something else. I do not give up easily on movies and I love British humor, but something about this I was not getting. There was just something silly about the tone, and not silly in a good Monty Python way, silly in an off putting way.


So I would not say this movie is for everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyswof /forum/post/20542850


Hate to cast a cloud on another fine review but I have to say that this is one of maybe two movies in the last 10 years that I could not watch to the end. I put alot of stock in Ralph's reviews and agree with 99% of what he says but I thought I would put out another opinion on this film. Me and the wife rented it after reading glowing reviews a couple of years ago and after about 20 mins we both looked at each other decided to give up and watch something else. I do not give up easily on movies and I love British humor, but something about this I was not getting. There was just something silly about the tone, and not silly in a good Monty Python way, silly in an off putting way.


So I would not say this movie is for everyone.

Greetings,


Thanks for sharing your thoughts Andy. Sorry to hear this one didn't click with you.


Regards,
 

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Is the Chris Rock film pretty much a shot by shot remake of this one? I think the new one was funny as hell.


Thanks,

Tom
 

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I saw them both and it seemed the second was just a platform for the standup routines of several of the actors. Danny Glover was good though.

I'm glad this is on Blu, thanks for the awesome review!.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyswof /forum/post/20542850


.....So I would not say this movie is for everyone.

Of course this could be said about any movie.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacco /forum/post/20546267


I saw them both and it seemed the second was just a platform for the standup routines of several of the actors. Danny Glover was good though.

I'm glad this is on Blu, thanks for the awesome review!.

When I heard an American remake was coming, I told a friend I thought the American version would be about the actors, not the story/situations. When I saw the previews, it just reinforced my suspicion. What I like about the original is that the comedy is in the situations/story, not in comics/actors showing off how "funny" (or not!) they are.


Your post just reinforces my lack of desire to see the remake.
 

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I agree with Ralph on this one. The original is the one to get. Absolutely hilarious. For those who enjoy British comedy, this is a must have.
 

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Roger Ebert prefers the remake even after seeing the original first. After watching the remake first and then the original today I have to agree with him. YMMV


Tom
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Monahan
Roger Ebert prefers the remake even after seeing the original first. After watching the remake first and then the original today I have to agree with him. YMMV


Tom
Agreed.


My wife and I are both fans of Britcoms. We both absolutely loved Chef, Fawty Towers and Are You Being Served?. We rented the remake of Death at a Funeral and found it hilarious. Upon recommendation we subsequently rented the original, fully expecting to find it better. Much to our surprise: It turned out we both felt the remake to be much better. The original did not "click" for us at all.


Jim
 
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