DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Pride & Prejudice (RECOMMENDED)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Steve Tannehill, Feb 21, 2006.

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  1. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    XenForo Template  Pride & Prejudice Studio: Focus Features/Universal Studios Home Video Year: 2005 (2006 Release) Rated: PG Aspect Ratio: 2.35x1, enhanced for 16x9 displays Audio: English, French, Spanish DD 5.1 Captions/Subtitles: English SDH; French and Spanish Subtitles Time: 2:08:09 Disc Format: SS/DL (DVD-9) Case Style: Keep Case The Feature: In late 18th century England, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five daughters. The sworn duty of Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) is to marry the daughters off, preferably to men of means, because once Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland) dies, law dictates that any inheritance will go to the closest male relative. Early in Pride & Prejudice, the daughters are in a tizzy because the nearby manor is newly occupied by an eligible bachelor (the vapid Mr. Bingley--played by Simon Woods). Bingley is joined by his sister (the bitchy Caroline Bingley--played by Kelly Reilly), and their friend (the dour Mr. Darcy--played by Matthew MacFayden). These stately members of the upperclass visit a town dance, and the marriage race is on. Mr. Bingley falls for the eldest Bennet daughter, June, played by Rosamund Pike. The second-oldest daughter, Elizabeth/Lizzie, played by the lovely Keira Knightley, is interested in Mr. Darcy until Elizabeth overhears Mr. Darcy make some nasty remarks. Elizabeth, who has an unbridled tongue, puts Mr. Darcy in his place. Mr. Darcy (a.k.a. "Pride") is taken aback, or perhaps I should just say, taken. Elizabeth (a.k.a. "Prejudice") wants nothing to do with Mr. Darcy, but finds herself drawn to him. It is the quintessential love-hate relationship in English literature. The Bingleys throw a formal ball, which would best be called a rhythmic ceremonial ritual. Poor Lizzie is pursued by a distant cousin and Mr Darcy, in a comedy of manners that is humorous, but laced with serious overtones. On the surface, Mr. Darcy is a cad, who has turned on his best friend. But the whole point of his character is that he is so reserved, you can not quite put your finger on what he has done, if anything. Lizzie is drawn to Mr. Darcy--but is skeptical. I love the use of literal effects to show that Lizzie and Mr. Darcy were "the only people in the room." The story of Pride & Prejudice, is not as simple as it seems. When the Bingleys suddenly leave with Mr. Darcy, we are led to believe it is the doing of the evil sister. But the characters peel back layers of truth and in so doing, the story is revealed. There is one point after a major falling-out between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy that she sees just how well-off Mr. Darcy is. The look on her face is priceless. Pride & Prejudice is certain to be pigeonholed as a "chick flick" to be sure, but it is a good one. The ensemble cast is excellent, although the chattering younger sisters grate on the nerves a bit. Brenda Blethyn and Donald Sutherland shine as the parents, and Dame Judi Dench is perfect as the unsympathetic Lady. Keira Knightley is perfect as the daughter with the free spirit, and the patient are rewarded with a flash of smile from Matthew MacFayden as Mr. Darcy. Does the stern Mr. Darcy have a heart of gold? You have to see the movie to find out. The Feature: 4 / 5     Video: Video quality is not bad; there is a lot of detail and texture evident on the costumes, as well as color. The redcoats are vibrant; the dresses and ribbons are colorful. The night-time shots (some CGI) have just the right amount of black. One rather spectacular shot of Lizzie crossing the field under overcast skies (also CGI) is spectacular. There is a museum shot of sculptures that is so three-dimensional you can practically touch it--so realistic that several of us thought one sculpture had a veil over it, when in reality the veil is part of the sculpture. Alas, there were some back-lit scenes where some edge enhancement appeared evident. Other than that, the picture quality was fine. Video: 4 / 5     Sound: The soundtrack is somewhat subdued, which is exactly what you would expect from a period piece set in 1797. Three 5.1 soundtracks are provided (English, French, and Spanish); dialogue is firmly anchored on the center channel. Music, largely classical piano, is front-focused. The only times I noticed more than average use of surround ambience was large ball scenes, and some atmospheric use of weather. Still, this was hardly distracting. When I want exploding helicopters, I'll watch Die Hard. Sound: 3.5 / 5     Extras: The supplements are a mix of interviews and commentary.
  2. A Bennet Family Portrait (6:03) in 16x9 widescreen - a look at the characters of the Bennet famiy, with cast and crew interviews
  3. Jane Austen, Ahead of Her Time (8:04) in 16x9 widescreen - Background on the (at first) anonymous author of the classics Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility
  4. Behind the Scenes at the Ball (6:17) in 4x3 - an oddly titled featurette with the actors talking about each other.
  5. Pride & Prejudice: A Classic in the Making (HBO First Look) (13:08) in 4x3 - a continuation of interviews from prior segments, and a good overall survey of the film
  6. Feature-length commentary by director Joe Wright - I got through about a quarter of it. There is some good anecdotal information, but it was not all that engaging. The disc begins with skippable previews for On a Clear Day, Proof, Medium, and Brokeback Mountain Extras: 4 / 5     In Conclusion: I enjoyed Pride & Prejudice and the Motion Picture Academy did, too, lavishing Oscar nominations for Art Direction, Costume Design, Original Score, and Leading Actress (Keira Knightley). Based on the competition and the awards given at the Golden Globes and the SAG, she is a long-shot. But the recognition is nice. Pick up this movie for your sweetie, and see why. Overall Rating: 4 / 5     Recommended Release Date: February 28, 2006
    Display calibrated by Steve Martin at http://www.lionav.com/
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  8. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Nice review Steve. Missed this in theaters and looking foward to watching this soon. [​IMG]
     
  9. Jack _Webster

    Jack _Webster Stunt Coordinator

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    I went into this movie against my will (trying to retain my masculinity [​IMG] ), and it won me over. This is the only film of its kind that I've raved about to everyone with no concern of how much of a girl I'm coming off as. [​IMG] It was just so delightful.

    This was one of my top films of the year (being beat out only by Munich) and I can't wait to have the DVD. [​IMG]
     
  10. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    I love this movie, it was my #2 favorite film last year after Brokeback Mountain. Can't wait to buy it.
     
  11. Jon Smith

    Jon Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Bought the UK version a few weeks ago and watched it for the first time, I loved it.

    Will the US DVD restore the UK ending or would it retain that god-awful one ?
     
  12. Jack _Webster

    Jack _Webster Stunt Coordinator

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    Technically, the US ending was the original one and it was removed when it tested badly in the UK.

    I'm a sappy hopeless romantic - so I'm very happy it will be there.
     
  13. John H Ross

    John H Ross Screenwriter

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    Are you sure? I'd heard the crappy ending was added at the end to appeal to the US audience's demand for an "obvious" romantic ending.

    The UK ending is the same as the novel and is FAR superior.

    John
     
  14. Jace_A

    Jace_A Second Unit

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    The US ending was the original ending that was imposed on the film makers. British test audiences hated it (if for no other reason than the scene does not occur in the novel) and thankfully it was re-done. Every territory outside North America received the British version of the film (even the film-makers were dismissive of the US version). The US ending is available on the UK disc. I'm glad I know which version I have.
     
  15. Jack _Webster

    Jack _Webster Stunt Coordinator

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    I guess I don't have a problem with it since: 1) I've never read the novel, so I don't care about whether it's true to the source material or not, and 2) It's the only version I've seen, so I'm used to it.

    If I'm part of the US that needs the (as you guys call it) "obvious" romantic ending - so be it. It seemed perfect to me.
     
  16. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Buy now or wait for hi-def...

    [​IMG]

    I really want to see this film. I love the 6-hour BBC version...one of my regular "rainy weekend" favorites.
     
  17. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    My soon to be 11yr old daughter is dying to see this movie. Is it appropriate for her?

    Thanks!
     
  18. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Certainly. No torrid love scenes in this movie. It isn't that type of story.

    Jason
     
  19. jason:g

    jason:g Stunt Coordinator

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    Many differences to the novel set this film apart from the novel, as the filmmakers take liberties to the script, oftentimes rewriting whole dialogues to fit the storytelling. This movie is not the book. Nevertheless, we don't go to watch a movie because we want to "see" the novel that it is based on -- we go to watch a movie to enjoy the movie. The film is very enjoyable as a form of entertainment.

    There's a lack of extras (as well as a DTS track) for this DVD, prompting one to expect a future "Ultimate Edition" from Universal. Where are the deleted scenes, for example??
    Please, Universal, release a 2-Disc Ultimate Edition...


    Yes.
     
  20. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Fantastic film. Kiera Knightley and Donald Sutherland give some of the best performances of their careers, but it is Matthew MacFayden as Mr. Darcy that is the stand-out. Truly a formidable performance that captures all the disparate aspects of the character.

    What was the original British ending? Did it simply remove the final scene or was it a different plot all together?
     
  21. Jack _Webster

    Jack _Webster Stunt Coordinator

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    It removed the final scene between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy & just ended on Donald Sutherland.
     
  22. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Well, call me an American, but I liked that final scene between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy. [​IMG]

    - Steve
     
  23. JohnEF

    JohnEF Stunt Coordinator

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    We saw the film with another couple and one of them (the guy) turned to me at the beginning and whispered "super chick flick." In a way it was but as a history teacher I like this sort of period piece and I thought it was well done. My wife and her friend did promise to go see King Kong with us.

    In the book Jane, the elder sister, is supposed to be the great beauty, not Elizabeth but in this film Keira Knightley is breathtaking. Also, what is with the hair for Bingley-it looked unintentionally (or intentionally?) ridiculous.

    I thought the longer version with Colin Firth did a better job following the book by Austen but it had 5 or 6 hours to play with, not just 2. Nevertheless I did enjoy the movie and we intend on adding it to our all too large DVD collection.

    John
     
  24. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I'm not here to threadfart. Going to be
    very polite and constructive with my thoughts.

    I never saw the original version nor any of
    its various reincarnations.

    I bought this DVD blindly based on all the
    Oscar attention it has received.

    I'm sorry -- could not get into it. A major
    chick flick that left me bored.

    Very beautiful film to watch, otherwise.
     
  25. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    You make it sound like that's a bad thing, Ron! [​IMG]

    It helps to see it with the right audience. I saw it with two women who had seen the movie in the theater, and read the book; their husbands; kids, and various friends who could give the guys on MST3K a run for their money.

    I started out being fairly skeptical and critical; an early scene shows the two sisters chatting about the excitement of the ball. They are in a bed with the covers drawn over their heads, yet it is brightly lit. I asked where the light came from, and was told it was Keira Knightley's teeth.

    I also did not have control of the remote--no, no skipping this time, but occasional pauses where those who had read the book would explain the finer points of the story, which admittedly are lost in this shortened rendition.

    Is it a chick flick? Sure. What "chick flicks" would you recommend?

    - Steve
     
  26. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Election, Legally Blonde, Clueless, Mean Girls

    (the only three I could think of quickly)
     

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