Film Length: 115 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 High Definition 1080p
Disc Type: BD-25 Single Layer
Codec: AVC Mpeg-4
Audio: Uncompressed 5.1 PCM (48kHz, 16-Bit), English & French 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French & Spanish
Release Date: March 13, 2007
Nancy Meyers, director of The Holiday, is, in my opinion, the current leading practitioner of the “Chick Flick.” From What Women Want to Something’s Gotta Give, she has managed to consistently deliver an estrogen fueled screen experience that has delighted audiences worldwide. Of course, for me, the best of these so-called “Chick Flicks” are the ones that are enjoyed by men as well as women. How does The Holiday hold up under this criteria?
Iris (Kate Winslett) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) have a lot in common. Despite Iris being an English writer and Amanda being a Los Angeles based film trailer maker, they both seem to be having a rough time with the men in their lives. Through the magic of internet connectivity, Amanda discovers a travel website where vacationers are able to trade houses. Fortunately, Iris’s English cottage is available and both are ready for a change of scenery. So, Iris jets off to Los Angeles and Amanda whisks herself away to the English countryside… and before you can say Bridget Jones’ Diary, both women will find new men who manage to solve all their problems and teach us all a lesson about love.
Despite the heavy sarcasm of the above paragraph, there is a lot to like about The Holiday. Kate Winslett is, as usual, a joy to watch. Her storyline is clearly the more entertaining of the two. There are some genuinely sweet moments as Iris befriends an elderly Hollywood screenwriter (Eli Wallach) and takes him under her wing. Jack Black plays the love interest in this side of the story. He’s a bit awkward, but enjoyable in the role. I wish I could say the same for Cameron Diaz’s character. Amanda is so insufferably high-maintenance, I had a hard time even watching the scenes featuring her character. Jude Law is the love interest here and manages through his sympathetic character to elevate the Amanda story line to being almost worth watching. It’s a testament to his acting abilities that his is able to convincingly portray affection for Amanda. So, the bottom line is, four stars for the Kate Winslett scenes; two stars for those awkward and sometimes irritating scenes with Cameron Diaz. Ouch!
The Holiday is presented in full 1080p from an AVC encode of the original source material. While I can find nothing to complain about with the transfer - - there are no artifacts, instances of edge enhancement or picture anomalies of any kind - - the transfer is just plain boring. The film is clean, colors can be vibrant, but the picture lacks punch and seems a bit lacking in shadow detail. I did not view The Holiday theatrically, so I really can’t honestly report on this being an accurate reproduction of the theater experience. With Sony’s recent track record, however, I will give them the benefit of the doubt that this is how it probably was intended to look. With that being said, this really is a good transfer of a film that wasn’t intended to be flashy in the first place.
The Holiday is presented in uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio. The mix is heavily biased to the front channels with very limited surround activity. What we do have here, however, is a very clean and crisp soundtrack with perfectly intelligible dialogue and nicely presented music. Again, in a dialog heavy film, this is about the best we could possibly ask for. I applaud Sony for sticking to their guns with PCM.
Here’s what’s included:
-“Foreign Exchange: The Making of The Holiday”
Well, this is a pretty boring set. I honestly had a hard time staying awake during the Nancy Meyers commentary. It was just plain BORING. The “Foreign Exchange” documentary is your standard fluff piece that offers a few nice tidbits of info, but nothing really worth digging into. Fortunately, the theatrical trailer is included along with trailers for several other Sony Blu-Ray releases.
The Final Analysis:
The Holiday could have been a really entertaining film if it had been solely about Kate Winslett’s character. Cameron Diaz’s Amanda really drags the film down. The audio and video is high quality, but not reference. Supplements are, on the whole, lacking. Why is this one worth seeing? Kate Winslett and Eli Wallach. Their scenes together are fantastic and really quite charming. Because of this, The Holiday is an excellent choice for a date night.
Equipment used for this review:
Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-Ray Player
Panasonic PT-AE1000 Front Projector
Carada 93” diagonal 16x9 Criterion Series/Brilliant White Screen – www.carada.com
Rotel RSX-1056 Surround Receiver
Rotel RB-1080 Amplifier
M&K MX-125 Subwoofer