Pride & Prejudice DVD Review
PictureWith an anamorphic 2.35:1 image, this is quite a good transfer albeit with two caveats. Practically dust free, it has rich, vivid colours and good levels of detail are maintained throughout, blacks are dark and maintain their detail also. There's no obvious signs of edge enhancement nor did I notice any artefacts appear during the movie which is a good sign, especially as this is quite a packed disc overall. However, it does look a little grainy; or rather I should say it looks rather English. It sounds a bizarre statement to make, but in the same way as Hollywood movies look American, this looks, well, English. I'm not talking about the scenery etc. I am referring to how it looks in terms of picture quality - take Gosford Park for example, it's very similar to this. Of course this may sound odd, but when you view it, you'll know exactly what I mean. The second issue I'd care to mention is that the contrast of the image is higher than normal, not quite overblown, but enough to make you wonder if you need to recalibrate your setup. I'm sure it's just part of the style and flair, to make it look bold and bright, but it is very apparent. Suffice to say, other than these minor criticisms, this is a fine looking movie.
SoundAudio-wise, this is an adequate but unexceptional soundtrack. Dialogue is clear and crisp throughout and is never drowned out by the rest of the audio. However, the rest of the audio is primarily incidental music which plays strongly from the front speakers, with the surrounds being underused in comparison. LFE is non-existent however; it isn't really required for this movie, or any of its ilk for that matter. Suffice to say, that with such a heavily dialogue laden movie, this soundtrack fulfils its requirements well.
ExtrasFirst up we have a Director's Commentary, which I have to be honest, I've never been a fan of commentary tracks outside of Kevin Smith's. I have to say that I found his voice dreary while watching the featurettes on the disc and so magnify that into 2 hours and you have some idea of how difficult it is to listen to for that length of time. Having said that, if it weren't for his voice, it is one of the more interesting chat tracks, but his voice, oh dear, his voice.
The Politics of Dating is a 4.24 minute featurette which elaborates on the differences on dating during the time the movie was set and nowadays. To summarise, it's much, much harder now. It's quite interesting as such, especially as it's very much related to etiquette rather than how it is done today.
The Stately Homes of Pride & Prejudice is a little interactive featurette which allows you to visit the homes which were used for shooting the movie. The featurettes are around 5 minutes each in length and are more interesting for those into stately homes and not for the movie fanatics.
The Bennets is a 6:02 minute featurette which focuses on, unbelievably, the Bennet family. Although the movie is primarily about the romancing of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, the driving force in the movie is Elizabeth's family - be it the sisters causing traumas or the mother who is a complete “Mother Hen” if ever there were. It's also good to hear, albeit very briefly, from Donald Sutherland - and I do mean brief, as in about 3 sentences. Now that's a shame, although most of the actors only say a few words in this section.
The Life and Times of Jane Austen which runs for 8:02 and is a nice little featurette which reflects on the works of Austen, pointing out that Bridget Jones was a modernising of Pride & Prejudice and that Clueless was also a modern telling of one of her books. It touches upon Austen's influences and so forth, but while interesting, it lacks depth due to the running time - it could have filled 30 minutes quite easily.
Pride & Prejudice Family Tree is an interactive slide show which allows you to select a character and thus showing you the links between them and other characters and families.
Galleries of the 19th Century are 3 galleries showing the clothes & costumes, jewellery and accessories and furniture and furnishings of the period. It mentions that you can see these items at the V&A Museum in London, should you wish to.
On Set Diaries is a 6:17 minute featurette, which is little snippets of video diaries from each of the actors, starting with Donald Sutherland's input and some behind the scenes footage. It certainly looks like everyone had fun and it is a little gushy when they talk about their co-stars, but it does seem more honest than the usual ones.Alternate US Ending runs for 2.29 minutes and is a horrible, horrible tacked on scene to the end of the movie, that solely exists to clarify the ending for those too dim-witted to have understood the final scene. Watch it and weep.
Finally, the Trailer available from the menu is not for this movie, rather a trailer for the movie “Nanny McPhee”. Its inclusion would most likely be due to the fact that Emma Thompson, who plays McPhee, apparently did an un-paid and un-credited re-write of the script for this movie - hence the special thanks in the end credits.
VerdictI'd be honest enough to say that I didn't think this would be a movie I'd enjoy, but I did. It's brisk, it's witty and it has a solid cast with good performances throughout. As I said, maybe the Oscar nod is a bit over the top, but Knightley hasn't acted better yet, although there's obviously still scope. Shame about the contrast on the picture side of things though.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99