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Henry V [Blu-ray]
(Kenneth Branagh, 1989)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Video: Shout! Factory
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,232,917,170 bytes
Feature Size: 22,962,094,080 bytes
Video Bitrate: 19.22 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 27th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1677 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1677 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
• Trailer (4:3/480i - 2:10)
Description: Kenneth Branagh makes his feature-film directorial debut with this adaptation of William Shakespeare's Henry V. After the Chorus Derek Jacobi introduces the play, young king of England Henry V Kenneth Branagh begins an angry dialogue with King Charles of France Paul Scofield. The king's son, Dauphin Michael Maloney, insults Henry and the argument escalates into war. In flashback, Henry is seen as a young man drinking in a tavern with Falstaff Robbie Coltrane, Bardolph Richard Briers, Nym Geoffrey Hutchings, Pistol Robert Stephens, and Mistress Quickly Judi Dench. Meanwhile, Henry and his captain, Fluellen Ian Holm, assemble an army and invade France. The French greatly outnumber the British troops, yet Henry leads them to victory in the Battle of Agincourt after delivering his famous St. Crispin's Day Speech. Throughout this struggle, Henry also courts Katherine Emma Thompson and eventually wins her over.
Branagh adapted and directed this opus as well as starring, and he's found jobs for all his pals. Look, there's John Sessions mugging frantically at the back! Scurvy knave Bardolph is a be-latexed Briers; Mistress Quickly is a dusty Judi Dench; plus there's the grim spectacle of Emma Thompson bounding around in a red wig, gabbling Franglais. Coltrane is Falstaff: great idea, but as the fat man doesn't appear in the play, he's wedged in by way of fumbling flashbacks. Most of the scenes, including exteriors, could have been filmed on the stage of the National, and devices like Jacobi's Chorus, in anachronistic black greatcoat and woolly scarf, serve to accentuate the theatricality of the enterprise, as does the fact that Hal appears to be attacking France with 25 men. The fog of war is convincingly portrayed, though other scenes have an unmistakable whiff of the BBC production: the clip-clop-whinny sound effects, the sudden downpours, the swirling dry ice. Quibbles apart, Branagh succeeds in his blunt, robust portrayl of the Soldier-King, hauling the film along in the wake of his own gung-ho performance.Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE
Kenneth Branagh has done it. Who is Kenneth Branagh? He's the young
Belfast-born actor and director, best known here for his recent
appearance in the ghastly ''Fortunes of War'' mini-series on
television, who has transformed what initially seemed to be a lunatic
dare into a genuine triumph. Mr. Branagh has made a fine, rousing new
English film adaptation of Shakespeare's ''Henry V,'' a movie
that need not apologize to Laurence Olivier's 1944 classic.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Henry V looks solid on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory - it is filled with gritty texture and grain. The image quality supports the realistic style. It works well with the excellent art direction and is juxtaposed by the modern narration sequences. This is single-layered with a smallish bitrate for the 2 1/4 hour film. Certain colors are bolder and detail rises above SD-capability. Contrast is adept but with the cinematography style used there is not an abundance of depth. There are no flaws - the video is clean and produces, what appears to be, an authentic visual presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
A DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1677 kbps gives the effects some depth and the score by Patrick Doyle (Nim's Island, Alfonso Cuarón's excellent Great Expectations, Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way, and the 2011 version of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, among his credits) sounds fabulous via the lossless. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.
Unfortunately, only a trailer - but a film that deserves much more. I wonder if a Branagh commentary was every discussed? It would seem appropriate.
January 17th, 2015
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 5000 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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