The Tudors comes to Blu-ray at a 1080p, 1.78:1 ratio using the Sony favoured MPEG-4 codec. The video in this production is nothing less than we would expect from a series shot on high definition Panavision cameras, the same cameras which were used on the recent Battlestar Galactica. There seems to be some slight induced grain which gives a film like look and feel to the venture. This 'grain' is not excessive by any stretch of the imagination.
Blacks are rich and deep with special mention going to Cromwell's cloak. The black embroidery on the velvet black cloak can still be easily identified and traced with your eyes, much the same can be said about most other swathes of black within the feature. That being said there are times where some crush is apparent in some internal dimly lit scenes and this might just be a creative decision. Some of the corners of these rooms or cells are somewhat lost. However whilst bathed in bright sunlight streaming in through windows the detail in Henry's chambers or the court is outstanding. Much the same can be said on all outdoor scenes in the market places, the fields which the common man toils in and the march on Pontefract Castle.
Equally, colours are beautiful. Bold and vibrant, yet contained within their borders with no hint of bleed. Rich reds, yellow and golds are the order of the day and like Cromwell's cloak all have an incredible amount of detail on show. The CGI work showing the landscape of London could be paused and perused for some time as the detail and depth are wonderful to behold. That depth again more than apparent in the Pilgrimage of Grace marches and the courts which frequent balls are held in. A little soft at times, and I'm wondering again if this is more a creative choice rather than a defect of sorts.
This DTS-HD MA English track is not all bells and whistles but then you wouldn't expect it to be. What you do expect is up front pristine dialogue and that's exactly what you'll receive. It's pretty much a frontal based track with the dialogue given plenty of priority and firmly rooted in your centre channel. The frontal array widens somewhat with Trevor Morris' score. That score seems to drift from the front to the viewer with nicely highlighted mid and upper tones the order of the day. The light harpsichord or strings entertain us.
Lower tones are kept in check for the majority of the piece apart from some thunderous LFE use when horse speeds across the English countryside. Panning at the front is never really exploited however there is some subtle use of the rears which blend well into the particular images on screen. The peel of a church bell, the baying of a blood thirsty crowd, applause from the court of the twittering of birds as they dart from one surround to the next.
This is not a track which wraps around you and encompasses you into the middle of the frame. It does its job well by prioritising the fronts whilst injecting subtle ambiance to the rears as and when needed.
- On Set with The Tudors: Three Scenes in Production. - 0:07:50 - 1080p/MPEG-4.
A number of cast members, as well as Michael Hirst, indicating what you'll expect from the third series of The Tudors. The Rebellion, The King's Reaction and The Royal Family are the three scenes which are very briefly discussed. Not a lot to see here and no more than an extended trailer for the promotion of the series.
- Henry's Magnificent Palace: An Exclusive Tour of Hampton Court. - 0:08:12 - 1080p/MPEG-4.
Dr Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator of Hampton Court Palace, takes us on a tour inside Henry's most favoured of residences. She discusses the individual halls, the construction, the timber used, the rich tapestries and a wide variety of other matters. Interesting enough but far too brief to gain any real insight into the palace or its history. Worth a watch, especially the changes in architecture in the 17th century, but you're going to have to do your own research if you wish to find out more.
- Soul Queen Meets Tudor King: Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves. - 0:06:36 - 1080p/MPEG-4.
Joss Stone giving her views on the series, how she auditioned for the part of Jane Seymour and what she thought when she was finally offered the role of Anne of Cleves. Like the other extras here worth a watch but in all honesty should have been a little longer. The image is rather soft at times.
- Trailers. - 1080p/MPEG-2.
Trailers for Damages Season 1, The Shield and Breaking Bad Season 1.
BD-Live is also included on the disc but neither my Panasonic BD-35 nor my HTPC could connect. This period in time is ripe for a wide variety of extras and unfortunately we get none here. A few very brief, very short EPKs is about as good as it gets. No historical documentaries on the man or his wives, the times or the common uprisings. Such a missed opportunity.
Although I did find fault with some of the writing and scene presentation of some parts of this series on the whole I more than enjoyed what I was watching, to the degree that when I started an episode I just had to find the time to see if I could fit in one or two more. The performances are more than adequate and have been praised as such in the past. The historical inaccuracies are not so much that they completely detract from your viewing pleasure.
The production values are immense and should stand as a test to anyone else wanting to embark on any period drama. The attention to detail is excellent and the crew responsible have been rewarded for their efforts in the past. Coupled with a good video presentation these costumes and sets look absolutely incredible.
Whilst not, yet, having seen the first two instalments of this ongoing saga I felt that this can be watched as is, however in saying that I did have to do some brief research into some of the characters to get the best from it. I look forward to filling in my gaps soon. In the meantime, if you've kept up to date with The Tudors then I can certainly recommend this disc. If not then I would have to say that it's a series well worth getting your teeth into, a period of history lavished with intrigue, plot and characters all out for their own ends.
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