Mrs. Doubtfire Blu-ray Review
PictureMrs Doubtfire comes to the next generation High Definition Blu-ray format complete with a pretty decent 1080p video presentation in the movie's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Detail is good throughout, with very little softness, negligible grain and no noticeable digital artefacting. Considering the movie's 15 years' old it looks better than ever, the colour palette given a new lease of life, with skin tones realistic, the setting sunny and bright and all the deeper reds and blues coming across rich and vibrant. Black levels are good throughout, and whilst this is not the type of movie where shadows and low-level-lighting often come into play, they still remain solid throughout and stave away grain for the most part. It's not a perfect rendition, but it is far superior to its DVD counterpart and makes for the best condition we are ever likely to see this movie in.
SoundTo accompany a great video presentation we get a technically superior DTS-HD Master Lossless audio track that does its best with fairly limited material. It's a dialogue-driven comedy drama so the dialogue gets centre-stage, coming across clearly and coherently, predominantly from across the frontal array. Everything else all but pales into insignificance in comparison, although the background ambient noises, particularly the kitchen and mayhem-related stuff, does get some representation. The score is fairly indistinctive, typical for this sort of frivolous affair, and it gives the rears a little more to do. LFE is fairly restrained, and overall this is not exactly the most punchy material, but it comes across far better than on DVD.
ExtrasShockingly, this new High Definition release, which should supersede all previous incarnations of the movie - whilst being superior in terms of both video and audio presentation - is a step-down when it comes to the extras package. Missing arguably one of the most important features - the Audio Commentary - it thankfully still has many of the other good extras on board, not least the extensive Deleted Footage and the Improvisation Footage with Robin Williams. If you liked the movie then you're sure to enjoy the near forty minutes of Deleted Scenes, some of which are pretty funny, as well as the alternate dialogue takes with Williams, where he improvises variations on some of the key moments. We also get a half-hour Evolution of Mrs Doubtfire Making-Of Featurette that does its best to avoid being too fluffy and promotional. It is split into sections, taking on the various stages of the production, and gives a nice overall impression of how it was all put together. There's a separate 22 minute Featurette devoted to examining the hours of application required to get Williams suitably made-up (apparently it was so good that he was able to walk into a bookstore without being recognised) as well as a retrospective 15 minute Ageing Gracefully, A Look Back at Mrs Doubtfire Featurette that has interviews with all of the main contributors, discussing the movie and their involvement in it. There's an 18 minute Featurette looking at the Animation done for the opening sequence, as well as a Featurette dedicted to the promotion and advertising surrounding the production, and the corresponding Galleries to go with it.
VerdictMrs Doubtfire may not show us just what Robin Williams is capable of, but it's a prime example of a fun movie in the style that he is arguably most famous for. It's got plenty of typical Williams-humour moments, as well as a few touching touches, and may not be anything particularly special, but it is still more than your average family-viewing comedy fodder. This Blu-ray release comes with a superb video and decent audio, along with a good set of extras marred only by the lack of a couple of key features from the movie's previous releases. Aside from this niggling defect, this High Definition variation is superior in all other aspects and fans should strongly consider picking it up.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.77
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