Blu-ray Review Your Highness Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Kevin EK, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Your Highness is a rude medieval comedy adventure from frequent collaborators Danny McBride and David Gordon Green.  There’s not much here when you get past the obvious sex and bodily function jokes – just a knight’s quest that combines McBride’s usual character with 2010 Oscar winner Natalie Portman and 2010 Independent Spirit Award Winner James Franco.   The Blu-ray has excellent picture and sound, and some good special features, but the underlying movie just doesn’t have much to recommend it.



    YOUR HIGHNESS

    Studio: Universal

    Year:  2011

    Length:  1 hr 43 mins (R Rated), 1 hr 46 mins (Unrated)

    Genre:  Danny McBride Comedy/Medieval Adventure


    Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

    BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC (@ an average 30 mbps)

    Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.3 mbps, up to 5.2 mbps), Spanish DTS 5.1, French DTS 5.1, English DVS 2.0

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French


    Film Rating: R & Unrated (Strong Crude and Sexual Content, Language, Nudity, Violence, Drug Use)


    Release Date: August 9, 2011


    Starring:  Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Theroux, Toby Jones, Damian Lewis


    Written by:  Danny McBride & Ben Best

    Directed by:  David Gordon Green


    Film Rating:    1 ½/5


    Your Highness is the kind of movie that can be a real chore to get through, to be honest.  It’s ostensibly a medieval knight’s quest adventure, as conceived by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green all the way back in film school.  (On the commentary, they discuss that the movie began just as a title they created in a drinking game of “Describe a movie with this title”.)  In execution, the movie is more of a series of rude gags and slapstick which occasionally draw laughs but more frequently fail.  Danny McBride stars as Thadeus, the underachieving brother of model knight Fabious (James Franco, who previously starred in Green’s Pineapple Express before being nominated for Best Actor last year on 127 Hours).  When Fabious’ bride (Zooey Deschanel) is abducted by evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), the brothers go on a quest to retrieve her.  Along the way, they encounter evil knights, conjurers, witches and join forces with a revenge-minded female warrior (Natalie Portman, fresh from winning Best Actress last year on Black Swan) while making their way to Leezar’s hideout.  Sometimes, there’s a genuinely entertaining moment – particularly when Portman is on the screen trashing bad guys, or more enjoyably for the viewer, beating up Danny McBride.  And there are some interesting visuals, particularly a battle with the spawn of conjurer Marteetee (John Fricker).  But much of the film is just a series of rude jokes and visual gags that feel like they were more amusing to the filmmakers on set than they are to the viewer trying to watch the movie.  The movie benefits from a generous budget and strong production values, but the actual storytelling is a loss here.  It’s as though the filmmakers had the resources to make something like Excalibur, but chose instead to make Porky’s II: The Next Day.


    Your Highness has been released on Blu-ray this past week in an edition that contains both the theatrical cut and an unrated version that runs 3 minutes longer.  The unrated version mostly just uses alternative takes with ruder language, and shows one rude situation in a more graphic manner.  There is one additional VFX shot involving Marteetee that is almost interesting enough to justify watching the unrated cut.  Almost.  The Blu-ray has great high definition picture and sound, and at first glance, appears to be loaded with extras, four of which are exclusive to the Blu-ray release.  In reality, there are good special features here, but there’s also been a lot of padding.  The Blu-ray includes the usual BD-Live and pocket BLU functionality, as well as D-Box functionality.  The packaging includes instructions for downloading a digital copy of the movie.




    VIDEO QUALITY   4 ½/5

    Your Highness is presented in a 1080p AVC 2.35:1 transfer that is a genuine delight to watch.  Black levels are good, flesh tones are good, and the copious CGI effects are seamless.  The beautiful Irish locations come across in grand fashion here.  From a technical point of view, the movie looks great.



    AUDIO QUALITY    4 ½/5

    Your Highness is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, along with French and Spanish DTS 5.1 mixes and an English DVS 2.0 mix.  Like the picture quality, the sound here is great, with plenty of action from the subwoofer and the surrounds throughout the movie.  Dialogue is easy to understand, even in the midst of the heavy duty atmospheric and battle sounds.  Again, on a technical level, the movie excels.


    SPECIAL FEATURES      2 ½/5

    The Blu-ray presentation of Your Highness comes with multiple special features, four of which are exclusive to the Blu-ray.  Of course, those four are almost completely superfluous.  There is a decent commentary, and some good material here, but you’ll need to pick through the bones to find the best stuff.  The Blu-ray comes with the usual functionality, although there is no PIP material, and the packaging includes instructions for downloading a digital copy of the movie.



    Feature Commentary with Director David Gordon Green, Writer/Actor Danny McBride,  James Franco and Justin Theroux, with Video Introduction –  This group commentary starts with a quick video where the guys introduce themselves on camera before screening the movie.  Once they get going, it becomes fairly interesting.  Green and McBride discuss the origins of the project and go on at some length on the production details.  There’s also plenty of joking around, but if you’re patient, there’s good information here.  The commentary is available on both cuts of the movie – apparently edited down from the session spent watching the longer version.


    Alternate Scenes – (2:07 Total, 1080p) – Two alternative versions of scenes are included here, both taking place at the home castle of our heroes.  There really isn’t anything earth-shaking here, although Charles Dance’s character gets a surprising line in the second scene.


    Deleted Scenes – (8:15 Total, 1080p) – Five deleted scenes are included here, mostly containing unnecessary bits.  There is one surprise here that I won’t spoil – it piqued my interest, in spite of its absurdity.  It’s the last one on the list – if you watch it, you’ll see what I mean.


    Extended Scenes – (15:13 Total, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – Four extended scenes are included here, none of which really add anything to the scenes in question.  When you add up all the Alternate/Deleted/Extended scenes, there’s not a lot here.  And it all could have been condensed into one section.


    Gag Reel – (5:14 1080p) – Here we have five minutes of blown takes, usually from the cast being unable to say the dialogue with a straight face.


    Damn You Gods:  The Making of Your Highness – (30:14, 1080p) – This is your typical making-of featurette, including interviews with the whole cast and a generous amount of on-set footage.  There’s a lot more footage of blown takes here, this time seen from alongside the camera.    And there’s an interesting examination of the Marteetee battle sequence, including discussions of and with John Fricker, who went over and above the call to play the part.


    Line-O-Rama – (4:03, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – The usual Apatow feature is included here, where multiple ad-lib options are presented for lines at various points during the film.  I didn’t hear any major ideas here, and this feature winds up feeling more like filler than providing anything really funny or entertaining.


    Perverted Visions – (2:32, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – This is really just a series of outtakes from the brothers’ visit to the Great Wise Wizard.  There’s nothing particularly memorable here – just more filler.


    A Vision of Leezar – (2:57, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – Here’s where filler hits critical mass.  This is actually just the outtakes of a VFX shot of Leezar, where actor Justin Theroux stands in place and either laughs maniacally or glares with menace, in between moments where he jokes with the off-camera director.  I really have to ask the question: What is so special about this feature and why was it included, other than to pad out the disc?


    BD-Live – The usual BD-Live functionality is present.


    Pocket BLU – The usual pocket BLU functionality is present.


    D-Box – This functionality is available for those viewers who have this as part of their home theater.


    Digital Copy – Instructions for downloading a digital copy of the movie are available on an insert in the packaging.  The copy may not be available after 1/27/2012.


    The movie and special features are subtitled in English, Spanish and French. The usual chapter and pop-up menus are present.  When you first put the Blu-ray into the player, you’ll see a few BD-Live trailers for upcoming Blu-ray releases.


    IN THE END...

    Your Highness is not my kind of movie, but it may appeal to fans of Danny McBride, or to fans of Pineapple Express.  Fans of Natalie Portman may enjoy watching her wield a sword and punch out Danny McBride but there isn’t a whole lot else for her to do here.  The Blu-ray has great picture and sound, but in the end it’s the movie that matters most.  In this case, it’s hard for me to recommend a rental unless you’re already a fan of these guys.  And even then, I suggest you rent before buying. 


    Kevin Koster

    August 13, 2011.


    Equipment now in use in this Home Theater:


    Panasonic 65” VT30 Plasma 3D HDTV – set at “THX” picture mode

    Denon AVR-3311Cl Receiver

    Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray Player

    PS3 Player (used for calculation of bitrates for picture and sound)

    5 Mirage Speakers (Front Left/Center/Right, Surround Back Left/Right)

    2 Sony Speakers (Surround Left/Right – middle of room)

    Martin Logan Dynamo 700 Subwoofer 

     
  2. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    Good review but one correction: James Franco didn't win Best Actor. He was nominated but he didn't win. Vincent
     
  3. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I'll be honest: this movie is one that I got suckered into with a free screening. I felt like they robbed me for popcorn and soda money. I also felt as though I missed something because, and maybe I wasn't paying attention


    But I was very confused when he found the unicorn sword, and they told him "you can go back because if you don't deserve it, you'll die" and the next thing we see is him charging out and killing things. It's just as though that scene ended really abruptly and I couldn't figure out what the hell happened.
     
  4. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Vincent, thank you!


    Silly mistake, too. How could I forget Colin Firth in The King's Speech? Big oops. I'll correct the review.


    I think I messed it up because of both him and Natalie Portman being in the movie together right after the Oscars, and because I was at a special viewing party for the Independent Spirit Awards earlier this year, where he did win. But an ISP award is definitely not the same as an Oscar.
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Man how could this be so bad? Danny McBride? Loved him in Tropic Thunder. James Franco - I'm a fan. Natalie Portman, outside of the Star Wars Prequels I'm a huge fan. I want to buy this blindly but after reading all the reviews on it I know I'll likely regret it.
     
  6. Adam Gregorich

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    I had to think for a second, and I concluded (right or wrong) that he truely was worthy--his life as a screw up was over. It was time for Danny 2.0
     
  7. Adam Gregorich

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    If you have a fair number of "guilty pleasure" movies you may not think its as bad as others have said, regardless, I would say rent first. I think problem is they couldn't decide what kind of movie they were making: Krull or Men in Tights.
     
  8. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    Krull with really raunchy jokes would be a good description! I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I laughed my head off when I saw this in the theater. (It's a damn sight better than most "Syfy Channel original" films with sword and sorcery themes.) I also couldn't help but notice my local Best Buy only had about four copies left on the shelf when I went there last night. ;)
     

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