Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary, an orphaned girl who discovers a magical garden hidden at her strict uncle's estate. Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.


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



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Universal - 2020
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Genre: Family

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

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Dolby Stereo, DTS-5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Starring: Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Dixie Egerickx, Edan Hayhurst, Amir Wilson
Directed by: Marc Nunden
Music by: Dario Marianelli, Luke Dunkley
Written by: Jack Thorne based on the novel by: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: October 6, 2020

"Discover What Lies Beyond the Wall"


“Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary, an orphaned girl who discovers a magical garden hidden at her strict uncle's estate.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

My Take:

The Secret Garden is a new take on the beloved classic novel of the same name written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Set in England during a new time period in 1947, the film follows a young orphan girl who, after the death of her parents, is sent to live with her uncle reclusive. While exploring she discovers a magical garden on the grounds of his estate which puts her as well as those around her, on the path to healing deep emotional wounds.

I haven’t read the novel but looked forward to seeing The Secret Garden as the subject matter’s themes interesting. The character of Mary is the film’s driving force and while the connection to her up front is lacking the narrative establishes a viable bond to her as we have the opportunity to witness and experience the formation of the story’s integral and transformative relationships. At its heart this is what The Secret Garden subsists on as the interrelationships draw you into the defining warmth of the story’s essence while simultaneously portraying difficult familial strife as seen through a child’s eyes. This is a two-edged sword that speaks to emotional trauma and its effects on children and adults alike.

The Secret Garden isn’t a perfectly executed family/fantasy/drama although, I don’t believe it strove to be singular in its narrative approach and target audience. I found myself enjoying the story the further it got into it and by the end was pretty well satisfied. Most of this was due to the solid performance by young Dixie Egerickx.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements and some mild peril.

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.

Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

    • Dynamics:
    • Low frequency effects:
    • Surround Sound presentation:
    • Clarity/Detail:
    • Dialog Reproduction:
    • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

    • Resolution/Clarity:
    • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
    • Color Reproduction:
    • Fleshtones:
    • Compression:

The Secret Garden comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This is a great looking video presentation from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. High level detail is present throughout so that images are rendered with pristine quality. Where appropriate colors are bright and visually pleasing and fleshtones are naturally rendered with discernible complexional delineation among the various members of the cast. Contrast and black levels are stable with ample depth and perceptible delineation. I didn’t observe any signs of video related anomalies or artifacts. All in all, this one looks great on Blu-ray.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio presentation renders the source elements with excellent clarity and supporting dynamic range. Dialog is delivered with appreciable tonal variation and refinement. The surrounds are active at times and used to good effect for front/rear channel pans and reproduction of music related ambience. The mix isn’t very aggressive but does create an enjoyable listening experience that matches the tone of the film.

Bonus Features:

  • • Characters – Learn more about the beloved characters of THE SECRET GARDEN and how the actors who played them brought them to life in a new and imaginative way.
    • Concept to Reality – From the majestic design of Misselthwaite Manor, to the creation of the enchanting garden, see how the filmmakers created the most immersive telling of THE SECRET GARDEN yet, full of vivid and magical realism.
    • Page to Screen – A look behind the scenes of THE SECRET GARDEN, and how the timeless, best-selling novel was brought to life in a modern, vivid, and magical way.
    • The Official Trailer
  • DVD
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

The Secret Garden is a new take on the beloved classic novel of the same name written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Its story explores universal themes surrounding family, loss and healing. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring sparkling high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound, and a light supplemental package that is worth checking out. The Secret Garden doesn’t reinvent the wheel but, conveys it heartwarming message well enough to be entertaining.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems