Emma Blu-ray Review

Jane Austen’s nineteenth-century comedy on misguided matchmaking and romantic mishaps gets a refreshing update in the heartwarming and witty Emma. Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

89

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 2020
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 124 minutes
Genre: Drama/Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart
Directed by: Autumn de Wilde
Written by: Eleanor Catton
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: May 19, 2020

“Based on the Beloved Classic Novel by Jane Austin”

Synopsis:

“Jane Austen’s nineteenth-century comedy on misguided matchmaking and romantic mishaps gets a refreshing update in the heartwarming and witty Emma.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

Jane Austen’s beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending is reimagined in this delicious new film adaptation of EMMA. Handsome, clever and rich, Emma Woodhouse (Taylor-Joy) is a restless “queen bee” without rivals in her sleepy little English town. In this glittering satire of social class, Emma must navigate her way through the challenges of growing up, misguided matches and romantic missteps to realize the love that has been there all along.

I have never read a Jane Austen novel, nor have I seen any previous film adaptation of Emma. So, my impressions of this character/film are based solely on this version which piqued my curiosity due to it casting of Bill Nighy and Anya Taylor-Joy. This is a character driven period piece that teeters back and forth between drama and satire as it spins its yarn about a well to do and precocious young woman that comes of age in the rising British upper class.

The narrative is a slow burn in its first act, requiring the patience of audiences that are typically expecting something that jumps in up front followed by evenly peeling its layers back. Luckily the second act makes the wait worth it. The character base is solid serving as the film’s foundation for its fanciful wares where through them, it explores themes of generosity, kindness, classicism and matters of the heart. The romantic tension between “Miss Woodhouse” and “Mr. Knightly” is wonderfully played despite the fact that its conclusion is evident.

Watching Emma’s evolution over the course of the film, the turning point being one of the story’s best moments, is one of the things I most enjoyed about Emma. Anya Taylor-Joy gives a wonderful performance in the lead. The supporting cast, most notably Johnny Flynn, Mia Both and Miranda Hart, are equally deserving of praise. Bill Nighy is one of my favorite character actors. This role didn’t give him much to do but, I am always glad to watch him work.

Emma probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but, if you’re willing to give it a shot and allow it to ramp up to speed, it’s got something viable to offer.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for brief partial 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.**

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: 

Emma 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 solid high definition presentation that seems a perfect match for the source material. Colors are pleasing, within the scope of the timeframe and balanced nicely by the cinematography. Fleshtones err on the side of pale but remain lifelike in depiction. Images are resolute, with stable sharpness, crisp detail and appreciable subtle refinement. Certain scenes appeared better resolved than others although this appears related to the photography and not the encoding. Contrast is stable and blacks are rich in depth with discernible detail in low lighting and shadows. I didn’t see any distracting signs of video related artifacts and thought that in general video quality was spot on

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack had no trouble rendering clear and well-articulated dialog. Sound effects had notable dynamic energy so that they sounded full bodied and aurally satisfying. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere. The mix does a decent job of creating the right sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field’s acoustic environment. Low frequency effects are used to add solidity to sound effects and the film’s music score. I thought the presentation served the source material well and sounded fine.

Bonus Features:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • A Playful Tease
  • Crafting A Colorful World
  • The Autumn Craze
  • Feature Commentary
  • DVD
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Based on the classic novel by Jane Austen Emma is a quaint and well-spun period dramedy that while not perfect, managed to draw me into its world. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a fair supplemental package. Emma is recommended for fans of its author and period based subject matter but, feel free to give it a spin on Blu-ray if you’re curious. It might just surprise you.

 

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 Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 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