The Other Boleyn Girl appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The transfer provided acceptable visuals.
My main complaint related to sharpness. Though most of the movie seemed reasonably crisp and concise, bouts of softness interfered. These occurred mainly in wide shots, as those images tended to be a bit ill-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, though some light to moderate edge enhancement appeared. Source flaws remained absent.
Period flicks tend to go with stylized hues, and that was true of Girl. It usually favored a muted golden look, so don’t expect too many dynamic colors. Within the visual design, the tones seemed well-developed and full. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed good delineation. This was good enough for a “B-“.
I also thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Other Boleyn Girl deserved a “B-“, though more due to a lack of ambition than because of flaws. The soundfield remained oriented toward the front and didn’t boast many memorable sequences. Music showed nice stereo imaging, and effects displayed decent environmental material. The surrounds bolstered these elements to a moderate degree, but they didn’t add a lot to the proceedings.
No issues with audio quality emerged. Speech was natural and concise, and effects seemed accurate. They displayed good range and clarity. Music was lush and full throughout the movie, and low-end seemed perfectly adequate. Nothing exceptional occurred here, but the track was fine for the material.
When we move to the DVD’s extras, we start with an audio commentary from director Justin Chadwick. He offers a running, screen-specific chat that looks at how he came onto the project, script and characters, sets and locations, cinematography and shooting HD, research and period details, cast and performances, music, and a few other production issues.
Chadwick offers a generally good commentary, but he doesn’t make this a terribly memorable piece. He tends to sag at times, so expect sporadic gaps in information. However, he does chat most of the time, and he provides reasonably useful notes. It’s not a scintillating discussion, but it’s worth a listen.
12 Deleted and Extended Scenes run a total of 22 minutes, 50 seconds. We find “Mary’s First Night” (0:58), “The Other Sister” (1:57), “What They Want Is You” (0:39), “Mary’s First Night With the King” (3:54), “The King’s Fortune” (2:38), “William Asks for Forgiveness” (1:36), “Stafford Visits Mary” (2:54), “William Carey Dies” (0:50), “George Visits Mary at Church” (0:33), “Anne Needs Mary” (1:26), “Anne Takes Little Henry” (3:01), and “Alternate Ending” (2:22).
Expect quite a few slightly extended scenes here. For instance, “First Night” and “Other Sister” don’t offer memorable additions to the existing sequences. Some others tend to be meatier, but only a few prove to be moderately useful. Mary’s husband gets a little more exposition here, and a few relationships earn somewhat greater depth. I don’t think any of the cut sequences were crucial, though, so I can’t say that they go missed from the final film.
As for the “Alternate Ending”, it shows Henry VIII as he rescues Anne from the executioner’s blade and they live happily ever after. Okay, I made that up. Instead, the “Alternate Ending” just provides slightly different text. It’s not terribly “alternate” at all.
Members of the Court: Character Biographies lasts 16 minutes, five seconds. We get comments from screenwriter Peter Morgan, novelist Philippa Gregory, USC Professor of Early Modern British History Dr. Polly Ha, ASU Professor of Tudor History and Tudor Women Retha Warnicke, UCLA Professor of Early Modern England Muriel C. McClendon, producer Alison Owen and actors Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, David Morrissey and Jim Sturgess. These snippets look at Anne, Mary and George Boleyn, King Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon, and the Duke of Norfolk. They offer quick glimpses of the characters, so don’t expect much detail. Nonetheless, they help flesh out our understanding of them, so they’re worth a look.
Three featurettes follow. To Be A Lady goes for 10 minutes, 33 seconds and includes Gregory, Portman, Warnicke, etiquette coach Noel Butler, and actor Kristin Scott Thomas. The program looks at the status and lives of women in the 16th century. As with the “Biographies”, the program provides a pretty superficial piece of history, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. We get some interesting background that helps add to our appreciation of the movie’s events.
Translating History to Screen fills 10 minutes, five seconds with notes from Johansson, Bana, Gregory, Owen, Morgan, Portman, and Chadwick. The show tells us a little about the novel and its adaptation, characters and performances, and social issues in the period depicted. “Screen” gives us a decent look at how the filmmakers brought the tale to life. It delves into various story and character elements in a satisfying manner.
Finally, we find Camera Tests with Narration by Director Justin Chadwick. This two-minute and 15-second collection looks at sample footage created to determine if HD photography would work for the film. Chadwick tells us a little about his choices in this mildly interesting piece.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Blu-Ray Discs, Hancock, and Persepolis. These also appear in the Previews area along with promos for House Bunny, 21, Vantage Point, Married Life, The Band’s Visit, Across the Universe, The Jane Austen Book Club, Made of Honor and Prom Night.
Although I expected a sappy chick flick, The Other Boleyn Girl instead provided a crisp and dark view of 16th century society. Bolstered by some fine performances, the movie keeps us interested and entertained. Both picture and audio quality are acceptable but unexceptional, while the supplements provide some useful components. Though this isn’t a great DVD, I like the movie, and the disc supports it well enough to earn my recommendation.