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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Shakespeare in Love [Blu-ray]

 

(John Madden, 1998)

 

     

     

We suggest avoiding the Alliance Canadian edition:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal Pictures

Video: Universal Home Video / LionsGate / Miramax

 

Disc:

Universal is Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

LionsGate / Miramax is Region 'A'-locked

Runtime: 2:03:36.617 / 2:03:43.666

Disc Size: 42,335,038,341 bytes  42,220,508,661 bytes

Feature Size: 39,057,524,736 bytes  36,869,455,872 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.04 Mbps   32.99 Mbps

Chapters: 31 (both)

Case: Standard Blu-ray case (both)

Release date: December 2nd, 2010 / January 31st, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2684 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2684 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio German 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Italian 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Japanese 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4111 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4111 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greece, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none

 

English, English (SDH), Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary with John Madden

Commentary  with cast and crew

• Featurette: Shakespeare in Love and on Film (21:40 - 480i)

• Deleted Scenes (10:53 - 480i)

• Academy Award Winning Costumes (2:27 - 480i)

Theatrical Trailer (2:00 - 480i)

21 TV Spots

My Scenes capable

 

• Commentary with John Madden

Commentary  with cast and crew

• Featurette: Shakespeare in Love and on Film (21:40 - 480i)

• Deleted Scenes (10:53 - 480i)

• Academy Award Winning Costumes (2:27 - 480i)

Theatrical Trailer (2:00 - 480i)

21 TV Spots

Bookmarkable

Bitrates:

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

Description: In this well-conceived Elizabethan comedy, writers Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman ask the question: Who was William Shakespeare's muse? The answer: Viola de Lesseps, a young noblewoman who dreams of acting on a man's stage. The screenwriters deliver a cleverly crafted scenario which beautifully illustrates both the early aspirations of the playwright, and a glimpse into the culture of Elizabethan theater. Colourful characters, like the Globe theater owner Henslow (played by Geoffrey Rush), the lead player in the troupe (Ben Affleck), and the Queen herself (Judi Dench), give the cast charm, wit, and feasibility. The young playwright who at the start of the film is experiencing writer's block bursts forth with a lyrical text inspired by the lovely and passionate Viola. Ultimately this film is about the making of a great play, but most importantly it is about the power of words.

***

Triumphant winner of 7 Academy Awards(R) -- including Best Picture -- this witty, sexy smash features Oscar(R)-winning Best Actress Gwyneth Paltrow (SLIDING DOORS, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS) and an amazing cast that includes Academy Award-winners Judi Dench (Best Supporting Actress), Geoffrey Rush (Best Actor -- SHINE), and Ben Affleck (GOOD WILL HUNTING, PEARL HARBOR). When Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes -- ELIZABETH) needs passionate inspiration to break a bad case of writer's block, a secret romance with the beautiful Lady Viola (Paltrow) starts the words flowing like never before! There are just two things he'll have to learn about his new love: not only is she promised to marry someone else, but she's successfully impersonating a man in order to play the lead in Will's latest production! A truly can't-miss motion picture event with outstanding critical acclaim to match its impressive collection of major awards -- everyone will love this funny behind-the-scenes look at the writing of the greatest love story ever told

 

 

The Film:

Shakespeare meets Sherlock, and makes for pure enchantment in the inspired conjecture behind ''Shakespeare in Love.'' This film's exhilarating cleverness springs from its speculation about where the playwright might have found the beginnings of ''Romeo and Juliet,'' but it is not constrained by worries about literary or historical accuracy. (So what if characters talk about Virginia tobacco plantations before there was a Virginia?) Galvanized by the near-total absence of biographical data, it soars freely into the realm of invention, wittily weaving Shakespearean language and emotion into an intoxicatingly glamorous romance. No less marvelous are its imaginings of an Elizabethan theater fraught with the same backbiting and conniving we enjoy today.

Tom Stoppard's mark on the jubilant screenplay, which originated as the brainstorm of Marc Norman, harks back to the behind-the-scenes delights of his ''Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.'' This is a world in which a therapist times his patient with an hourglass and a souvenir mug is inscribed ''A Present From Stratford-Upon-Avon.'' Says the dashing young Shakespeare, played tempestuously well by Joseph Fiennes, about the more successful Christopher Marlowe (Rupert Everett): ''Lovely waistcoat. Shame about the poetry.'' And there is the inevitable moment when someone asks who Shakespeare is, only to be told by a comically obtuse producer (Geoffrey Rush): ''Nobody -- that's the author.''

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Firstly, I have the Japanese Blu-ray release but can atest to this being the 'international version' - most probably with very little difference from the other Universal Blu-ray editions sold around the world. The exception is the Canadian Alliance edition which we have been told is region 'A'-locked, single-layered and bare-bones. This Japanese disc sports multiple subtle and DUB options and has an initial screen letting one choose from a list of countries for Menu languages. This Blu-ray from Universal looks solid. The feature takes up almost 40 Gig on the dual-layered disc and, hence, has a high video bitrate. There is a bit of consistent grain and a there is depth and detail. Skin tones seem a shade warm - contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. Daylight scenes are more impressive but nothing is overly dark. Colors (costumes) are very impressive. This Blu-ray is essentially flawless and exports a strong presentation - probably not far off the original theatrical appearance. Really - quite excellent visually.

Technically the discs are almost exactly the same (disc size, encode, bitrate etc.) and I can find no difference in the image quality between the Universal and the Lionsgate / Miramax transfer.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Universal Captures

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio sports a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a supportive 2684 kbps. Mostly dialogue driven with only a few effects - there is still some less-demonstrative separation and Stephen Warbeck's Oscar winning score is crisp and tight. Shakespeare in Love does not offer aggressive audio and hence depth and bass don't really come into play but the lossless track certainly opens-up the films soundstage compared to the DVD. The music, especially, seems to become a larger part pof the viewing experience. As stated there are DUB and plenty of subtitle options and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

The LionsGate / Miramax takes a slight edge in audio with a more robust DTS-HD Master track. I expect only a real fanatic would notice or care. The US edition loses the foreign language DUBs but keep some subtitle choices (not as many!) and is region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Extras duplicate the previously released 'Miramax Collector's Series' DVD from way back in 1999 with the commentary from director John Madden, and second commentary with the cast and crew. There is also a 20-minute standard featurette, 10-minutes of deleted scenes, a short piece on costumes, a trailer and stack of TV Spots. All are in 480i. So nothing new, but the commentaries are worthwhile. The Blu-ray has Universal's 'My Scenes' bookmark-able feature.

Duplicated as far as I can tell - same commentaries and video featurettes.

 

Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I really enjoyed revisiting this film in 1080P. I had forgotten how well crafted, amusing and face-paced it is. Shakespeare in Love took some flack for beating films like Life is Beautiful and Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture in 98'. But this really is a great film - well written, performed (incredible supporting cast with Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Simon Callow, Ben Affleck etc.) and entertaining with some sly references. The Blu-ray does a great job and this is certainly a title that benefits from the improved video resolution and lossless sound. A wonderful film for this format. Strongly recommended!

The Japanese and European Blu-ray releases were solid and no need for improvement. LionsGate / Miramax have the license for Shakespeare in Love in US and this is, essentially a duplicate with only minor variances. Good thing is the price - less than $10 - an easy purchase in my mind. GREAT value here.  

Gary Tooze

January 19th, 2011

January 25th, 2012

 

     

     

We suggest avoiding the Alliance Canadian edition:

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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