Much Ado About Nothing Blu-ray Review
One of Shakespeare's most outright romantic comedies that translates exactly to modern day audiences
Much Ado About Nothing Blu-ray Review
Much Ado about Nothing is a romantic comedy written some four hundred years ago and, amazingly, in all that time nothing has changed in the basic premise!What sets tonight’s feature apart is that fact that it was penned by one William Shakespeare and this version has been adapted for the screen by one Kenny Branagh, who, as most know, has made his name adapting (and directing, and starring in) the Bard’s plays.
The story centres around two couples, the first start off hating one another, then fall in love, the second love each other, hit a bump in the road, then reconcile – sound familiar? But don’t be fooled, just because you may have seen that type of story a hundred times before, something about the Bard’s words, and the way Branagh directs the piece keeps you very, very much entertained.
The cast is uniformly excellent, with such esteemed names as: Richard Briers, Kate Beckinsale, Imelda Staunton, Brian Blessed, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Robert Sean Leonard, Branagh, himself, Michael Keaton and Ben Elton to name but just a few.
Set and filmed in Italy, Branagh makes the most of his locations, showing off the rich beauty of the land to match with the rich beauty of the prose. It is also a genuinely funny adaptation too, with plenty of mirth not only at the situation, but some of the more rather off the wall characters as well.
The winner of numerous awards and critically acclaimed; definitely recommended viewing.
Much Ado About Nothing Blu-ray Picture QualityThe disc presents a theatrically correct 1.85:1 1080p transfer, is AVC MPEG-4 encoded and is Region locked to B.
On the whole this is a pretty decent picture; detail is good throughout, skin texture and clothing weaves, for example, are easily seen, and landscape shots hold edges well into the distance. It’s not absolutely pin sharp, as per modern blockbusters, but remember this is film and a softer technique (spherical) was used, thus any softness in the image is a function of the original print and not a digital defect.
Colours are bold and bright with the primaries out coming extremely well, with no wash or bleed. Greens are suitably lush, showing off the gorgeous Italian countryside, reds are bold and strong, see the masked ball, and blues are smooth, look to the clear skies. Skin colour is very natural and while some makeup is visible in places I prefer to think of that as ‘added value’.
Greens are suitably lush, showing off the gorgeous Italian countryside
Brightness and contrast are set to give strong blacks, though the picture seldom showcases them, night time scenes or the tunnels under the mansion showing off the best examples. Shadow detail is limited, but that is a function of the filming style (i.e. not much in the dark) and not a defect. There is a reasonable ‘punch’ to the image, depth into the frame is good, but there is no identifiable ‘3D’ pop. There is the occasional white clip, if you look to some of the brighter skies you can notice the occasional bit of detail missing (branches, or white shirts) but this is always a distance manifestation, the foreground is always well realised with no problems – this means that it is, again, a filming issue and not one brought about by the transfer process.
Digitally there are no compression problems, there are no banding or posterization issues and jaggies and judder are kept in check. Original print problems are occasionally apparent, the odd spot of fleck flashed momentarily in a few places, and grain is organically laid over giving a very nice filmic sheen. In all a pleasing picture, and whist it does nothing out of place, does nothing remarkable either.
Much Ado About Nothing Blu-ray Sound QualityOnly the one track to choose from: English dts-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo. For ‘just’ a stereo track I was very impressed with it, not only was is clear, precise and well detailed, but there were some very nice stereo effects as well. Dialogue is always clean and audible, sounds are very natural and given directionality when called for (see the masked ball, for example). The various songs come across with gusto and showcase some excellent uses of stereo, the Ballard in the gardens, for example, has the music moving between the speakers as the camera rotates around the scene.Bass is somewhat limited, but enough to keep the sub awake. There is no hiss, crackle or pops and the range is never tempered by any digital clean up. Impressive, despite its limitations.
For ‘just’ a stereo track I was very impressed with it
Much Ado About Nothing Blu-ray ExtrasNone! Hey nonny nonny!
Is Much Ado About Nothing Blu-ray Worth BuyingMuch Ado about Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most outright romantic comedies, and it translates exactly to modern day audiences and never more so with this, Kenny Branagh’s lavish and hugely enjoyable take on the tale. Telling the stories of two couples, one who first despise each other only to fall in love, the other, more prominent, of two lovers betrothed who fall foul of a conspiracy only to be reconciled at the end. The cast is immense with a list of recognisable faces that leap off the page, and each giving some memorable performances. Rich in costume, rich in drama, rich in (genuine) comedy this 1993 adaptation has won numerous awards, is critically acclaimed and turned in a healthy profit making it one of the best known and most watched of all of Shakespeare’s play adaptations. And it is easy to see why, the film is endearing, entertaining and hugely enjoyable.
Rich in costume, rich in drama, rich in (genuine) comedy this 1993 adaptation has won numerous awards
As to the Blu-ray, EiP has released a barebones disc, the picture is really quite good, being bright, well coloured and reasonably detailed, the single stereo sound track is actually very good, considering its limitations, but the whole thing has no extras whatsoever. A shame as surely something could have been put together for this quite brilliant film?
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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