DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Josie Rourke
Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden
Writing Credits:
Beau Willimon

Mary Stuart's attempt to overthrow her cousin Queen Elizabeth I finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$2,277,820 on 795 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
French Dolby 7.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 124 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 2/26/2019

• Audio Commentary with Director Josie Rourke and Composer Max Richter
• “An Epic Confrontation” Featurette
• “Tudor Feminism” Featurette
• “Something About Marys” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Mary Queen of Scots [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 6, 2019)

Another take on an oft-examined historical period, 2018’s Mary Queen of Scots sends us back to the 16th century. Due to her Catholicism, Scottish-born Mary Stuart got sent to France as an infant. At 15, Mary (Saoirse Ronan) weds her way into French royalty, and she heads back to become Queen of Scotland at 18.

Protestant Queen Elizabeth (Margot Robbie) leads England, but Mary’s lineage gives her a reason to claim that throne for herself. This sets up a battle for power.

When I reviewed The Front Runner, I referred to it as arguably 2018’s biggest “Oscar bait” film that failed to get award consideration. Scots rivals Runner in that “competition”, though.

Given the presence of two well-regarded actresses and subject matter tailor-made for Oscar love, it feels like a failure that Scots only received nominations for two technical categories. However, like Front Runner, I can’t claim the Academy unfairly ignored Scots, as it becomes a lackluster experience.

At its heart, Scots boasts a dynamic tale. It mixes political intrigue with relationship drama and war – how could such a story bore?

I don’t know, but bore Scots does. Despite all its potential to succeed, it turns into a slow, lumbering narrative.

Though it only tangentially touches on this movie’s subject matter, 1998’s Elizabeth offers a much better example of how 16th century regal intrigue can sizzle. Director brought real style and energy to a potentially stuffy historical narrative and created a film that delighted.

Scots director Josie Rourke fails to find the same kind of cinematic charisma, though she tries – I guess. Rourke treats the material in a semi-urgent manner that seems designed to quicken pulses, but instead, the film tends to plod and seem stagnant.

Some of that comes from the movie’s repetitive feel. We bounce back and forth from Mary to Elizabeth in a manner that saps both characters of depth and that gets both predictable and tiresome before long.

Elizabeth benefited from the presence of a then-young actor with promise: Cate Blanchett. She fleshed out her role with fire and charisma.

Though both Ronan and Robbie boast talents roughly on a par with Blanchett, neither manages to add much personality to their roles. I don’t really fault the actors, as the script lets them down, but I still can’t claim either finds a way to excel in their performances.

Scots tends to feel desperate to cram 21st century attitudes into its 16th century setting. With the tagline “Bow to No One”, we see the clear desire to make the roles into feminist icons, and I can’t quibble with that concept, at least not in theory.

However, Scots forces Mary and Elizabeth to simply feel too modern and not especially effective. The film paints both in such a thin manner that they feel like lackluster feminist role models.

I’m not quite sure how a tale with such inherent drama can end up so tepid. Unfortunately, Scots fails to connect to the natural power of the material and it becomes a sluggish disappointment.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Mary Queen of Scots appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an excellent presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well. Virtually no softness materialized, so 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 Scots tended toward a laid-back mix of orange/amber and teal, without much to call vivid. Still, these were fine given the stylistic choices.

Blacks seemed dark and right, and shadows demonstrated fairly good clarity, though interiors were slightly dense at times. Across the board, this became a terrific image.

In general, the film’s Dolby Atmos mix stayed fairly subdued. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, this was a chatty flick, though it occasionally displayed lively elements.

A few action-ish moments fared best, as those showed movement and range. These were pretty infrequent, though, so good stereo music and general ambience ruled the day. This meant we got a nice sense of place but rarely much more.

Audio quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy, with strong low-end during those occasional “action” moments.

Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed positive.

As we head to extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Josie Rourke and composer Max Richter. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at historical elements, story/characters, sets and locations, music, effects, stunts/action, photography and related areas.

Though Richter chimes in occasionally, Rourke dominates the commentary. She provides a fairly good overview of the production as well as notes about the facts behind the movie. This winds up as a mostly informative piece.

Three featurettes follow, and An Epic Confrontation runs three minutes, 58 seconds and offers notes from Rourke, producers Debra Hayward and Tim Bevan, screenwriter Beau Willimon, author Dr. John Guy, and actors Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie.

“Epic” covers the movie’s scene in which the leads meet. Though brief, “Epic” brings us a few good notes.

Tudor Feminism lasts three minutes, 35 seconds and features Ronan, Robbie, Willimon, Rourke, Hayward, Guy, and actor Ian Hart. This show discusses the leads through the prism of today’s feminism. It lacks much substance.

Finally, Something About Marys goes for two minutes, 24 seconds and includes remarks from Ronan, and actors Eileen O’Higgins, Izuka Hoyle, Liah O’Prey, Maria Dragus, Jack Lowden, James McArdle, and Ismael Cruz Cordova.

We hear how much fun the supporting “Marys” had on the set. It’s a fluffy piece.

The disc opens with ads for On the Basis of Sex, On Chesil Beach, A Private War, The Bookshop and Collette. No trailer for Scots appears here.

A tale chock full of intrigue and natural drama, Mary Queen of Scots fails to muster an impact. The film wastes its talented leads and becomes a disjointed chore to watch. The Blu-ray comes with excellent visuals, positive audio and supplements highlighted by a largely enjoyable commentary. Scots gives us a lackluster historical tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main