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Blu-ray Reviews

Much Ado About Nothing Blu-Ray



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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted April 26 2011 - 03:51 PM

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Much Ado About Nothing
Release Date: Available now
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-ray "ECO-BOX"
Year: 1993
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1:50:58
MSRP: $19.99

  THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES
Video 1080p high definition 1.85:1 Standard and high definition
Audio DTS: English 2.0 (mislabeled as DTS-HD MA) / Dolby Digital: Spanish 2.0, French 2.0, Italian 2.0, German 2.0, Castellano 1.0 Stereo
Subtitles English SDH, Spanish, French, Italian, German SDH, Castellano, Dutch, Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish None


The Feature: 4.5/5

Love fills the air when Don Pedro (Denzel Washington), after successfully winning a battle against his half-brother Don John (Keanu Reeves), pays a visit to his friends in the city of Messina, Sicily. One of Pedro's men, Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard), is instantly smitten with Hero (Kate Beckinsale), the daughter of Messina's governor Leonato (Richard Briers), and in short order the two are engaged to be wed. But one lovestruck couple isn't quite enough, so the friends scheme to unite the bickering duo of Benedick (Kenneth Branagh) and Beatrice (Emma Thompson), another of Pedro's company and Hero's cousin, respectively. By planting the notion their verbal sparring is really a sign of deep affection and desire, the meddling friends manage to bring the acerbic pair together. Yet while everyone plays Cupid, Don John sows seeds of discord and doubt with the goal of undoing Claudio and Hero's union. The success of his plot casts a pall over Messina's once joyous atmosphere, but love and truth - with the help of some additional manipulation and deception - may still prove triumphant.


Director-actor Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Shakespeare's frivolous comedy hits all the right notes thanks to a cast that effortlessly brings the Bard's words and characters to life, though one may not always track their every detail. Indeed, the viewer may question whether he missed a crucial piece of information that explains Don John's disruptive scheming and sour attitude, but alas, there is none. He proves to be a villain for villain's sake, one of the play's many contrivances, but one that ultimately gives the most pause. As pauses go, however, it's a relatively brief one, as the work's wit, humor and joy ultimately dominate, becoming the film's most memorable qualities.


Video Quality: 3.5/5

The film is accurately framed at 1.85:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The transfer exhibits strong contrast, deep color and solid blacks, but also contains mild to moderate edge haloing that gives the image a noticeably over-sharp quality. Wide shots suffer from it the most, while close ups will largely impress with their detail in skin and hair. The consistently soft and even lighting makes for a highly attractive picture, but - knowing that aesthetic doesn't throw up many challenges for the format - one can't help but wonder how much more beautiful things could have been.


Audio Quality: 3/5
Dialogue in the 255 kbps 2.0 DTS track (mis-labeled on the packaging and the menu as DTS-HD Master Audio) is consistently clear and intelligible, though the quality can be a little inconsistent, sounding sometimes hollow and reedy. The two-channel spread is fairly expansive with the film score usually filling things out to the far ends. Lower frequencies are respectable, but one moment of lightning and thunder was underwhelming at best. I'd like to think that's the sound effect itself and not the track, but given the other inconsistencies I'm not so sure.


Special Features: 1.5/5
The extras are meager, although consistent with the number of extras on the past DVD release.


Making Much Ado (6:05, SD) is an archival featurette that includes brief interviews with the cast and their impressions of the source material.


Theatrical Trailer (2:24, HD)


Recap

The Feature: 4.5/5
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 3/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3/5


MGM Home Entertainment turns in a somewhat disappointing presentation of Shakespeare's popular and frivolous comedy, as adapted and directed by Kenneth Branagh. There also isn't much to be said for the extras, though to be fair it's consistent with the 2003 DVD. Though owners of that release won't find the Blu-ray a compelling upgrade, anyone looking to add the film to their collections for the first time should be happy with it given the right price point.



#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Mark-P

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Posted April 26 2011 - 05:25 PM

Cameron, you better check the audio again. Many other sources are reporting that while the box and menu state that the audio is DTS-HD MA 2.0, it is in actuality plain old DTS 2.0.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted April 26 2011 - 05:38 PM

Thanks for catching that. I've updated the review accordingly.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted April 26 2011 - 07:50 PM



Originally Posted by Mark-P 

Cameron, you better check the audio again. Many other sources are reporting that while the box and menu state that the audio is DTS-HD MA 2.0, it is in actuality plain old DTS 2.0.



If it was just the packaging I might think it was a misprinting, but with the menu listing it as DTS-HD MA I'm leaning towards mistake in authoring.


Oops.


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted April 27 2011 - 02:35 AM

Is that a mistake easy to make? Like a matter of having selected the wrong file?

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   gomezfan69

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Posted April 27 2011 - 03:20 AM

Fox's "Robots" Blu-ray is the same deal





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