Bridget Jones's Diary
Distributed by Lionsgate
Presented in AVC CODEC 1080P
DTS-HD 5.1 Audio
Subtitles in English available
Single Layer BluRay Disc
When Helen Fielding’s “Bridget Jones Diary” first appeared, the best way to think of it was as an almost complete “Screw You” to the at the rise of TV talk shows, advice columns and dating advice that had filled up TV, magazines and elsewhere with examples of “how women should get a man”. The summer before the movie came out, the hottest book in America was “The Rules” a guide for women to get men, and how they could attract them. Dr. Phil was just coming around, giving girls advice on what they could do to make sure they got the right guy.
Fielding’s book, a thin but fun read. It’s part a chronicle of a woman living with the pressures to fulfill all of this advice, and part a book about the humor in being able to say “the advice sucks”.
Rene Zellweger comes across as a downbeat but lovable woman who just seems to need the right push to get her in the moving in the right direction.
I’ve read both the book and seen the film before, and sometimes I find myself saying: how well does a film realize the heart of a book? It’s not that it has to be verbatim to the book, but does it really latch on to what the book was getting across. And Bridget Jones Diary definitely succeeds on that front, and I enjoyed both. There are differences to be sure, but I found them to be relatively minor and more then that often done for better visual and dramatic effect when put to a screen. This is in large part that the screenplay was co-developed with the book author, which gives it the real feel of the book and it makes the transition very well.
The year that Bridget Jones Diary came out, Zellweger had several big performances just prior – Jerry Maguire, Nurse Betty – but nothing as substantial as her role in Bridget Jones Diary. And, outside of the sequel, the only other film I can think of where her role has ever been as meaty would be Chicago. But she handles the role effectively and makes it quite a bit of fun.
That’s not to say there aren’t elements that I think don’t work; the subplot of her mother and a home shopping network assistant never seems to materialize into anything, and some secondary characters never really have any impact.
But as a whole, it’s a fun sometimes very funny film.
Video: 3.5 / 5
Bridget Jones Diary is encoded with AVC 1080P at 2.35:1. It’s a brisk 1 hour, 38 minutes encoded at a VBR average of 20.9 Mbp/s with an AWBR of 23.2 Mbp/s. I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed with this transfer. The film grain seems natural and provides a real film look to it. Dark scenes look correct with minimal error. But the problem I tended to have is that while it’s improved from the previous DVD release, it still doesn’t achieve near the color quality I would expect from a title that should have been treated better. The film was shot in a way that was always written off as soft focus, but the color quality still stood out when presented in the theater. Here, the colors are sometimes too muted, as though it never quite achieves what I would expect from the title.
I recognize that some may see this as “it’s the way the film was” and that may be true; though it certainly doesn’t mirror my memory of it. But it just means that this will never be a “Blu Ray Reference” disc. It won’t stand out as a film you use to show off the quality of sharpness fine color and great looks.
Bridget Jones Diary is presented in DTS-HD 5.1, and it is a complete upgrade over the DVD. When I say complete, I mean COMPLETE upgrade over the DVD version. I have written in other reviews that I value audio as a way to give me the best presentation of a film as accurate as possible to a theater. I don’t need big crashes or wild effects to give a 5/5, I want a feeling that tells me: this is as good as it could have been in a theater. Bridget Jones Diary accomplishes that. The dialog is fantastic, ambient sound effects pour through the soundtrack and helps build a real environment and the film succeeds everywhere it tries with inserted soundtrack to the few pop-ish numbers. This presentation of Bridget Jones Diary is as good as it ever was in a theater, and far better than the DVD release.
The extras included are:
A full Audio Commentary by the director Sharon Macguire. I will admit, she seems into it going through the commentary, but I could not complete this commentary. Some films, maybe.. but after a while it was a bit too irritating for me to continue. I’m sure it’ll be right up the alley with people. Commentaries are seldom anything I use as a make or break for a film – some are exceptional and I’d note that. This one is just there.
The Young and the Mateless (An Expert Guide to Being Single 480I MPEG2, Dolby AC3 Stereo 8:15 This is a short about how the Fielding Novel impacted women upon it’s release.
The Bridget Phenomenon 480I MPEG2, Dolby AC3 Stereo. The effects of the book.
Behind the Scenes Featurette 480I MPEG2, Dolby AC3 Stereo a look behind the filming of the movie.
Portrait of a Makeup Artist – 480I MPEG2, Dolby AC3 Stereo they discuss makeup and effects for Bridget Jones Diary. I actually did watch through this and was surprised at a few of the things mentioned, so it’s a quick five minutes.
Deleted Scenes – 480I MPEG2, AC3 Stereo – I believe this real has been available long before, nothing really new here, and the quality is quite bad.
A guide to Bridget’s Britishisms 480I, Dolby AC3 Stereo – a look at some of the choice phrases and words used by Bridget in the film
The movie also includes the DTS-HD Audio Soundcheck, which I’ve praised cheap films for including to help those with a home theater setup.
Included Trailers: Everything Must Go, 1080P, Dolby AC3 Stereo, The Switch 1080P, AC3 Stereo, I Love You Phillip Morris 1080P, AC3 Stereo, Immigration Tango 1080P, AC3 Stereo
This is a film I enjoyed the first time in a theater and I find that it’s aged pretty well. It’s a fun film to go back and revisit, and the performances are just as good now as they were then. I’m a bit disappointed by the extras. While I’ll give the extras a 3 of 5, I wish more films would take some time and offer HD extras along with their films. I recognize that’s not always possible, but I would have suspected with newer films there would be something included that doesn’t seem like a recycle from DVD in DVD level quality MPEG2 @ lower then DVD bitrates with AC3 Stereo audio. I was also somewhat disappointed that the original theatrical trailers, which I found a lot of fun when they first aired are not included. The film is a great value buy for those that loved the movie and it will be a quick buy for those people who like me enjoy the film for what it is.
It's definitely priced right, so for a lot of people who helped make this film a success, it's an easy purchase.