Pride & Prejudice appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image seemed largely positive.
Sharpness seemed mostly good. Low-light interiors – of which we got more than a few – could feel a little ill-defined, but these remained non-problematic most of the time.
Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and I saw no obvious edge haloes. Print flaws caused no issues, as the image always seemed clean and fresh.
Pride boasted a palette that favored an amber tint. The colors came across as appropriate for the visual choices.
Black levels also were deep and dense, while shadow detail seemed appropriately heavy much of the time. The movie adopted a warm candlelit feeling that could seem a little thick but not badly so.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Pride & Prejudice, it presented a moderately vivid affair. Not surprisingly, the focus remained on music.
The score displayed excellent stereo imaging and really added a lot of kick to the mix. Otherwise, I noted reasonably good general ambience throughout the film, and some more heavily populated scenes – like those at balls or on bustling streets – provided a greater level of activity.
The surrounds seemed fairly passive throughout the movie, but they contributed a nice sense of reinforcement, particularly in regard to the music.
Audio quality appeared good. Early in the film, I thought dialogue got a bit buried in the mix, but this improved as it progressed. Speech came across as natural and crisp, and I noticed no issues related to intelligibility or edginess.
Effects largely played a minor role in the film, but they always seemed accurate and well defined, with no issues related to distortion or other areas. Louder segments like a thunderstorm were dynamic and effective.
The music remained the most important element, and the mix provided very solid reproduction of the score. The pieces of music sounded bright and vivid, and they boasted fairly good dynamic range.
Low-end was warm and full. Overall, I thought this was a soundtrack that lacked immense ambition, but it succeeded for this sort of film.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? The lossless audio felt a bit warmer and fuller, while visuals came across as more accurate and dynamic. This was a pretty decent upgrade.
As we move to the disc’s extras, we start with an audio commentary with director Joe Wright. He offers a running, screen-specific chat. Wright discusses the cast and their performances, sets and locations, photographic issues, staging and various logistics, costumes and genre conventions, story and adaptation subjects, and general production remarks.
Although Wright offers the usual praise of the product and the participants, he shows a delightfully frank side as well. He occasionally criticizes his choices and also offers amusing notes such as when he tells us that a couple of the actors were “appallingly bad” horsemen.
There’s too much dead air and not a ton of insight, though, especially during the film’s second half. Matters can get awfully slow at times, and this ends up as a mediocre commentary.
Next we find four featurettes. A Bennet Family Portrait lasts six minutes, two seconds as we hear from Wright, scriptwriter Deborah Moggach, Louise West of Jane Austen’s House, producer Paul Webster and actors Brenda Blethyn, Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Talulah Riley, Carey Mulligan and Donald Sutherland.
They tell us a little about the story, its background, and the characters. This quick glimpse of its subjects lacks much depth. It gives us a superficial overview and fails offer
During the eight-minute, three-second Jane Austen: Ahead of Her Time, we find information from Webster, West, Wright, Knightley, Burghley House’s Lady Victoria Leatham, and actor Tom Hollander. They relate information about the life of Jane Austen as well as her continued impact on society and culture.
As with “Portrait”, this piece suffers from its brevity. It would work better if it provided greater detail instead of this short recap.
For Conversations with the Case, we get a six-minute, 17-second piece. It offers material from Sutherland, Riley, Pike, Blethyn, Hollander, Knightley, Mulligan, Malone, and actor Matthew Macfayden.
We simply hear the actors talk about how wonderful everything is and how much they love everybody. It’s a tedious waste of time.
Next we locate a 13-minute, eight-second HBO First Look. It features Wright, Pike, Blethyn, Knightley, Moggach, Sutherland, Malone, Mulligan, Macfayden, producer Tim Bevan and actor Judi Dench.
The piece offers the usual promotional showcase. It covers the characters and story along with a few tidbits about the talents involved. We learn nothing interesting in this advertisement.
The Politics of 18th Century Dating fills four minutes, 24 seconds with notes from Webster, Knightley, Wright, Macfayden, Malone, and choreographer Jane Gibson. They discuss the period “code of conduct” in this mildly interesting reel.
Under The Stately Homes of Pride & Prejudice, we get five segments: “Chatsworth House” (2:55), “Burghley” (3:54), “Wilton House” (2:30), “Basildon Park” (2:13) and “Groombridge Place” (4:24).
Across these, we hear from Wright, Webster, Macfayden, Dench, Pike, Knightley, production designer Sarah Greenwood, Chatsworth House Trust’s Simon Seligman, Burghley House’s Lady Victoria Leatham, Wilton House’s Ros Liddington, National Trust’s Mark Simmons, and Groombridge Place director Roly Rickford.
As expected, we learn about the movie’s locations during these moderately informative reels.
A chick flick that seems easily digested by the male of the species, Pride & Prejudice succeeds because it eschews the usual tired cliches of the genre but still maintains its identity. Anchored by rich, dimensional characters and an admirable sense of both period and restraint, the film works surprisingly well. The Blu-ray presents good picture and audio, but the extras seem a little spotty. Nonetheless, this is a fine movie that deserves your attention.
To rate this film visit the prior review of PRIDE & PREJUDICE