The Holiday appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie featured a surprisingly lackluster presentation.
Sharpness turned into the most obvious concern, as softness abounded. Close-ups brought adequate delineation, but anything broader than that seemed mushy and ill-defined.
I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws failed to appear, and grain felt adequate.
The movie’s palette opted for a gentle lean toward amber and teal. The hues felt somewhat flat and uninspiring.
Blacks were reasonably dark, while shadows showed decent clarity. Even though I cut some slack to Blu-rays from the format’s early years, this nonetheless seemed like an awfully iffy presentation. It barely rose to “C-“ level, as all that softness tempted me to give it a “D+”.
If you expect razzmatazz from the PCM 5.1 soundtrack of The Holiday, then you’ve not seen a lot of chick flicks, and the soundfield stayed subdued most of the time. Music showed good stereo imaging, and the track opened up the sides and surrounds for a decent sense of ambiance.
A few scenes broadened to the back more effectively, especially when we heard Amanda’s bombastic trailers. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the mix remained uncomplicated and without much ambition.
Audio quality was fine. Speech sounded natural and crisp, while music was lively and perky.
Effects also came across as accurate and concise. Bass response was acceptable. Across the board, this was a decent mix but not one that impressed.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio showed a bit more warmth and range compared to the Dolby 5.1 of the DVD, but the restrained nature of the mix left little room for real improvement.
Visuals didn’t offer much of an upgrade either. Given the prevalence of compression issues on the DVD, the Blu-ray got the nod, but I found so much softness that I couldn’t view this as an obvious step up in quality.
The Blu-ray brings the same extras as the DVD, and we find an audio commentary with director Nancy Meyers, composer Hans Zimmer, production designer John Hutman, and editor Joe Hutshing. All of them sit together for this running, screen-specific piece, though Meyers heavily dominates.
Hutsching doesn’t show up until around the end of the first act and Zimmer leaves at about the 50-minute point. In any case, the chat looks at the opening sequence, cast, characters and performances, the score and musical themes, sets and locations, inspirations and influences, production design, and various scene specifics.
Meyers and the others provide a decent examination of the flick. The commentary covers the production in a general way that illustrates various issues with reasonable depth. At no point does this threaten to become a particularly involving chat, but it works well enough to merit a listen.
By the way, when I reviewed Something’s Gotta Give, I griped because Meyers referred to deleted scenes but the disc included none. Here she explains why she doesn’t like to provide deleted scenes on these releases. I’m glad she finally set the record straight on that issue.
In addition, we find an 18-minute, three-second featurette called Foreign Exchange: The Making of The Holiday. This show includes interviews with Meyers, Hutman, director of photography Dean Cundey, UK location manager Benjamin Greenacre and actors Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black, Rufus Sewell, Edward Burns, and Eli Wallach.
“Exchange” provides a recap of story and characters as well as cast and performances, Meyers’ work on the set, the flick’s tone, visual design, sets and some scene specifics.
“Exchange” offers a tedious promotional piece. Throughout the featurette, we get the usual praise and puff combined with a surfeit of film clips. Some of the info about the sets is interesting, but otherwise I learned almost nothing useful about the movie in this long advertisement.
Under Previews, we find ads for The Pursuit of Happyness, Stranger Than Fiction, and Casino Royale. No trailer for The Holiday appears on the disc.
Should you expect anything new, fresh or even vaguely interesting from The Holiday? Nope. It gives us a forgettable romantic fantasy that runs too long and offers too little to occupy our imaginations. The Blu-ray offers dull visuals, restrained audio and modest bonus features. Neither the movie nor the Blu-ray impresses me.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of HOLIDAY