The Iron Lady appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though not stellar, the transfer was usually good.
Some minor issues with sharpness arose. At times, wide shots looked a bit on the soft side and lacked expected delineation. However, those instances were infrequent, so the majority of the movie appeared accurate and concise. I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.
Many period pieces opt for subdued palettes, and that was definitely true here. The colors of Lady tended toward gray tones, with few no vivid hues on display. Still, these were fine given the stylistic choices. Blacks seemed dark and right, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. Though this wasn’t a great transfer, it was strong enough for a “B”.
A movie about politics wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a dynamic soundtrack, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of Iron Lady fell into expected realms. This was a chatty flick, though it occasionally displayed lively elements. For instance, war or terrorist scenes provided good bombast. Those were rare, though, so good stereo music and general ambience ruled the day. These gave us a decent sense of place but rarely much more.
Audio quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed positive.
Most of the DVD’s extras come via featurettes related to the film. We find Making The Iron Lady (12:20), Recreating the Young Margaret Thatcher (2:44), Denis: The Man Behind the Woman (2:34), Battle in the House of Commons (2:29) and Costume Design: Pearls and Power Suits (2:44). Across these, we hear from director Phyllida Lloyd, writer Abi Morgan, costume designer Colsolata Boyle, and actors Meryl Streep, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Head, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Alexandra Roach, and Olivia Colman. The programs look at cast, characters and performances, camerawork and visual style, and costume design.
Don’t expect a whole lot of substance across these featurettes. “Costume Design” is probably the best of the bunch, as it packs decent punch into its brief running time, and “Making” is fairly useful as well. The others are more superficial – and often repeat the more informative points from “Making”. They go by quickly enough to be worth a look, but we don’t find a ton of strong details in these pieces.
History Goes to the Cinema runs 18 minutes, three seconds and looks at five films: Iron Lady, My Week with Marilyn, WE, Coriolanus and The Artist. We find notes from Streep, USC School of Cinematic Arts Professor of Critical Studies Drew Casper, USC Professor of Public Diplomacy Nicholas Cull, filmmakers Madonna and Ralph Fiennes, Huntington Library Director of Research Steve Hindle, author John Campbell, film critic Wade Major, and actors Judi Dench, Michelle Williams, Andrea Riseborough, Gerard Butler, Malcolm McDowell and James Cromwell.
Going in to “History”, I expected nothing more than promotional fluff. And it delivers some of that, but it’s notably more informative than I anticipated. It includes decent notes about the various movies, so while its running time means it rushes through the films, it’s still pretty enjoyable.
The disc opens with ads for The Artist, WE, My Week With Marilyn, Anonymous and In the Land of Blood and Honey. No trailer for Iron Lady appears.
Though Meryl Streep earned a reasonably justified Best Actress Oscar for The Iron Lady, the movie itself is a moderate dud. While I don’t think it’s a bad film, it lacks much depth and tends to stagnate on the screen. The DVD comes with generally good picture and audio as well as some minor supplements. Give this one a look if you’re a Streep fan but don’t expect cinematic greatness.