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

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

88






Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 115 Minutes
Genre: Drama

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


Audio Format(s): English/Spanish/French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Natalie Portman, Eric Bana, Scarlett Johansson, Kristen Scott Thomas, Mark Rylance
Directed by: Justin Chadwick
Music by: Paul Cantelon
Written by: Peter Morgan
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 10, 2008







"Blind ambition can sometimes have disastrous effects"



Film Synopsis:


Based on the best-selling novel The Other Boleyn Girl is a captivating tale of intrigue romance and betrayal starring Natalie Portman Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana. Two sisters Anne (Portman) and Mary (Johansson) are driven by their ambitious family to seduce the king of England (Bana) in order to advance their position in court. What starts as an opportunity for the girls to increase the family fortune becomes a deadly rivalry to capture the heart of a king and stay alive.



My Take:


I had seen the trailer for The other Boleyn girl late last year and thought it looked interesting. It is based on the novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory. This was an interesting film from a historical perspective. It drove home quite well the desperate need of some families for power and status. It detailed how women were used in furtherance of that need. In this case it was the will of the Boleyn’s (led by their father and his brother-in-law) to elevate their family to a position of prominence within the English Kingdom of Henry the VIII. The belief is that the King is unhappy in his marriage with a wife who cannot bear him a son and heir to the throne. Their plan is to have their Daughter Anne seduce the King while he is visiting which will eventually lead him to bring the entire group back to Court. Through a series of events things don’t work out as planned and the King becomes smitten by Mary Anne’s sister. The problem is that Mary is a newlywed and has no desire to go to Court but wants to settle down and raise a family.

She is coerced by her family and ends up going. From there the story begins a roller coaster ride of adultery, betrayal, passion, and blind ambition the likes of which I have never seen. Portman is one of my favorite actresses and she is clearly the foundation upon which the cast is built. Without her strong performance as Anne the story loses its solid footing. Johansson is really coming into her own as an actor. She made Mary a believable and sympathetic character who you couldn’t help but like even though she was an adulterer. I like Eric Bana but I am not so sure that I found his portrayal of Henry VIII to be his best. David Morrissey was much better as The Duke of Norfolk.

I enjoyed this film quite a bit and appreciated its historical significance as well as the strong performances by the cast. There is an alternate ending contained in the Bonus Supplements. Personally I found it to be superior to the one chosen for the theatrical release.




Parental Guide:


The rating is for mature thematic elements, sexual content, and some violent images. There are scenes that include references to incest, as well as a beheading. This is not one for younger viewers.





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: 88


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 90


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

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:


The other Boleyn girlcomes to high definition Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p AVC encoded video with an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio with an average bitrate of 1.6 mbps.

I had high hopes for this film’s video presentation and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. I was treated to beautifully vibrant and eye catching colors that looked great when set against the drab interiors used in the film. Detail was exquisite as images looked three dimensional with fine rendering at every turn. There are numerous sequences shot within the dank and shadowy confines of the period dwellings and castles. I never had any trouble making out shapes and visible structure in the uneven light within these areas. Blacks were noise free and crisp with plenty of dynamic range and extension. Exterior shots benefited from the higher contrast used as they looked dynamic and punchy. The downside is that it washed them out a bit. It looked to me like there was some post production filtering done to give certain scenes a desaturated color effect. This spilled over onto flesh tone reproduction which made them look lifeless, lacking in tonal variance, and flat. I found it to be distracting as everyone had the same complexion. This did not negatively impact resolution in any way. Several sequences were intentionally basked in blue and golden hues to gain a desired visual effect. Overall this is a pristine video transfer that is sure to look great on even the largest displays.

The lossless Dolby TrueHD audio hit all of the high points and mated quite well with the program material. This is essentially a dialogue driven soundtrack but it made good use of the surround field to reproduce the music score, ambient background details and a few discretely mixed spatial cues. Low frequency detail had solid weight and depth when used but there was rarely a call for it. Dialogue was rich with excellent tonal distinction and crystal clarity. I enjoyed the open and transparent nature contained in this TrueHD soundtrack as it definitely had a realistic ‘you are there’ feel to it.



Bonus Features:




I enjoyed the Bonus supplements but would have liked to have seen more on the production itself. There was some great info on the time period and those who were portrayed in the film. There is enough here so that fans of the film won’t feel cheated. I found enough entertainment value so that I didn’t feel that way.



Blu-ray Disc Exclusive Feature

  • Inside the Court: A picture in graphics pop up fact track
  • Commentary by Director Justin Chadwick

  • 10 Deleted & Extended scenes + Alternate Ending

  • (HD)Members of the Court: Character Bios


Featurettes:
  • (HD)To be a lady - A look at life for women during the time period depicted in the story

  • (HD) Translate History to the screen - Behind the scenes look at the process involved

  • Camera Tests with Director Commentary

  • 8 Blu-ray Disc Previews






Final Thoughts:




The other Boleyn girl is not your average “chick flick” type of film. It takes a hard look at the realities associated with life for upper class women during a turbulent time in England (and probably other parts of the world as well). I appreciated its direct story telling, historical significance, and solid casting. Sony is releasing it on Blu-ray Disc Day and Date with DVD and this presentation is easily worth the price of admission. Recommended.













Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



Sony VPL-VW50 SXRD 1080p High Definition Front Projector

Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player

Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Outlaw Audio Model 7700 seven channel amplifier

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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Nice review Ralph. Many say that the movie was quite boring.
 

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Nice review Ralph. I'll be watching this one this weekend. I just read the AQ and PQ remarks since I don't want to spoil the presentation when I watch it. I'll chime in after I watch the movie, but my wife is really looking forward to this one.
 

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Excellent review. We typically don't watch violent content, but I think we'll preview this on in our new theater.


Thanks for your contributions here, they are sincerely appreciated.


-Robert
 

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Thanks Ralph. Keep it coming. Your reviews are concise, detailed on the tech. and are a real help. With the price level on these discs no one wants to buy or even waste an evening with a Netflix rental.


Regards,


Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Greetings,


Thanks for your comments.



Looking forward to hearing your impressions Dave.

Quote:
Many say that the movie was quite boring.

Of course I can't speak for others but I didn't find it to be boring.



Cheers,
 

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Quote:
Overall this is a pristine video transfer that is sure to look great on even the largest displays.

That is most likely because the movie is a video to begin with!



In a recent article in Videography the filmmakers go into great detail about the technical detail about the taping of the movie.


They are quite proud of the job they did on this movie - rightfully so. The equipment and technique are the current state of the art.


That being said...I believe the following things-

They should have stayed more true to the book - as always


They should have stuck with Film.


The video tools are too harsh for a piece like this. The overall look was flat and lifeless. Film would have given this piece more depth of field and better overall visual impact. I would have enjoyed this movie more had it been shot on film even with the same script.
 

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Compared to Anne OfThe Thousand Days, which covers much of the same material, this film comes off as exceedingly light weight. I didn't dis-like the movie at all, but I did walk out feeling very under nourished. It moves at a pace almost brisk enough for the ADD crowd, but at the expense of a lack of gravitas. Court intrigue is simplistic, rendered in checker, rather than chess, moves.

That said I thought it was a beautiful looking film, and haf no idea it didn't originate on film. I was going to pass on the Bd, but curiosity over seeing the straight digital file port, as well as the historical-centric extras have put this on my 'to buy' list now.
 

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Beautifully shot... I was a bit distracted with some of the green hues that is some shots. Intentional for sure as most shots were pristine. Some of the flesh tones were ill affected by the green hues but in reviewing the film again, it seemed that the greenish flesh tones were interior shots and may've been the lighting or lighting affected by colored stained glass windows (perhaps). Still a bit over done ... Otherwise, a gorgeous film to look at and a competent soundtrack as well.
 

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Last night I watched this movie and agree with the ratings.. Some of the exterior shoots were so distracting due to the color wash out. But most of the movie has a nice pq.
 

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Nice review. One of my favorite Blu-rays, certainly among recent releases.


One of the 1st movies I watched on my new Kuro and although I thought it may have looked a little saturated at times, I didn't find it washed out very often. I liked it. Excellent acting.


Really appreciate HD extras too.
 

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Excellent review. This is one of my favorite blu-rays. Who would have thought a guy would like this movie, but I have rewatched it about four times.
 

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A few comments on the video:


I noticed what appeared to be what I'll call "gamma boost" in the shadow detail in a number of the darkly lit scenes. It may be what you are referring to when you mention the use of some sort of filtering. I've seen this same effect when editing photos in photoshop. If you try to increase the shadow detail by boosting it's level, it can desaturate color and end up looking like a pale gray mess. In the scenes where I noticed it, it made facial colors turn more gray than they should be, and the hadow detail ended up going a little flat.


Did anyone notice this?


Also, the use of color filtering was a little excessive I thought, such as the very yellow fields in the opening and ending scenes.


Other than those items, I thought the video quality was excellent, and the story very engaging and thrilling for a film from this period.


Dan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfbinet /forum/post/14398447


Excellent review. This is one of my favorite blu-rays. Who would have thought a guy would like this movie, but I have rewatched it about four times.

The reason you liked it?! Two words "Natalie" and "Scarlett"!!



Kidding, i am looking forward for the release of Disney's Sleeping Beauty as well!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfbinet /forum/post/14398447


Excellent review. This is one of my favorite blu-rays. Who would have thought a guy would like this movie, but I have rewatched it about four times.

This was keyed to the male ego. Women were subservient to the men in their families with no limits.


As Mel Brooks would say "it good to be the King". Bedding whoever catches your interest at the moment and discarding them when done.


I'd say the modern woman would not look favorably at this flick, even if it does reflect the way life used to be in merry old England.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu /forum/post/14714977


This was keyed to the male ego. Women were subservient to the men in their families with no limits.


As Mel Brooks would say "it good to be the King". Bedding whoever catches your interest at the moment and discarding them when done.


I'd say the modern woman would not look favorably at this flick, even if it does reflect the way life used to be in merry old England.

I agree. Believe no male ego involved with me. The women were treated as cattle. They got nothing but the men were the ones who were enriched by their daughters and wives and enriched. They basically pimped them out to further their own agenda. The women received nothing, but their fathers, uncles, and brothers received the rewards and the inheritance. But this is history and I still find the film, and the book which it is based on fascinating. Lord Norfolk was a bastard. Just read the history.


As a comparison I would suggest, the Original Six Wives of Henry the VIII on PBS circa 1970's and the current "The Tudors" which I have imported on Blu-ray first season. Also read the books for this period.


The Tudors on Blu-ray is region free so for anyone interested in this period of history check out the available titles.


I am very impressed with the PQ and AQ on my Pioneer 51FD
 

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alfbinet,


I agree, The Tudors is an outstanding show. I only watched the first season, but I look forward to seeing the second on either BD or DVD.
 
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