Big Little Lies (Blu-ray) (2017)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Melodrama Production Notes-Inside the Episode (Episode 1) (1.20)
Production Notes-Inside the Episode (Episode 3) (0.59)
Production Notes-Inside the Episode (Episode 4) (1.16)
Production Notes-Inside the Episode (Episode 5) (0.45)
Production Notes-Inside the Episode (Episode 6) (0.58)
Production Notes-Inside the Episode (Episode 7) (1.05)
Featurette-About Big Little Lies (7.25)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 371:16
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jean-Marc Vallée
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Reese Witherspoon
Nicole Kidman
Shailene Woodley
Zoë Kravitz
Laura Dern
James Tupper
Adam Scott
Alexander Skarsgård
Iain Armitage
Darby Camp
Cameron Crovetti
Nicholas Crovetti
Ivy George
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Big Little Lies is a seven part mini-series adapted from a book of the same title written by Liane Moriarty. The script is fairly faithful to the book, although the setting was changed from the coast of Sydney to the coast of Monterey, California (a decision apparently made to give the series more ‘worldly’ appeal). The plot revolves around a group of parents who all have young children attending the same school. At the very onset there is a death of one of the parents although the identity is not given away. The series then rewinds to several months prior to the death and gradually works through the events and social interactions between the parents leading up to the death. The final episode culminates with the fancy dress night at the school when the death occurs. Only at the very end is the identity of the deceased parent revealed and how and by whom did the death occur.

    As a person with considerable years under my belt I can remember watching (and thoroughly enjoying) David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. A girl is found ‘dead, wrapped in plastic’ and a sheriff is sent to Twin Peaks to investigate the murder. As the show progresses the question of who killed Laura Palmer pretty well takes a back seat as the viewer becomes engrossed in the quirky residents of Twin Peaks and their social interactions. As with Twin Peaks, much of Big Little Lies involves delving into the relationships and social interactions of the main characters while the identity of both the murder victim and the murderer more or less take a back seat. Big Little Lies does not have the same quirkiness in the characters as Twin Peaks but the social interactions between the main protagonists in Big Little Lies is scripted, acted and filmed with such finesse that I found myself absorbed in the story every bit as much as Twin Peaks.

    In today’s gender equality society I have to concede that the actresses stole the show and deservedly so. The three main female protagonists gave stellar performances that brought the show to life. Reese Witherspoon played Madeline Mackenzie, a divorced and re-married mother with an older daughter from the first marriage and a younger daughter from the second marriage. Madeline is one of those people who means well but tends to make other people’s business her own thus coming across as a bit crazy. Madeline is really the character that links all the other characters and Witherspoon nails it on the head. Jane Chapman is another key character in the series. Jane is a single mum with a young son and a mysterious background which slowly reveals itself bit by bit with each episode. I had not seen Shailene Woodley (who played Jane) in any shows before Big Little Lies but was impressed by her acting talent. Last but not least of the trio is Nicole Kidman who plays Celeste Wright, a once career driven woman who gave it up for marriage and raising her children. Celeste’s much younger husband is both physically abusive and controlling and as the show progresses Celeste starts to question her marriage and life choices. Nicole Kidman has always been a great actress and her portayal of Celeste is yet more proof of her great presence on the screen.

    To keep the males happy there were several lesser roles including several male actors, all of whom performed admirably. Alexander Skarsgård played Perry Wright, Celeste’s husband and Adam Scott played Ed McKenzie, Madeline’s second husband while James Tupper played Madeline’s first husband, Nathan Carlson. I am also always amazed at how well child actors can perform so must give credit to the performances Iain Armitage (Ziggy Chapman) and Ivy George (Amabella Klein). .

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is presented in HD progressive format and there were no observed artefacts. Colours were well balanced and the sharpness level provided plenty of detail without giving an artificial feel. Shadow detail was good in the few low light scenes present.

    There are English for the hearing impaired subtitles available which are white and clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is delivered via DTS HD-MA 5.1 and provides a good all round experience particularly with the musical score and coastal scenes. A few instances of rear panning but given the nature of the series was not expecting great audio effects.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Production Notes (6.23)

    There are six short production notes titled Inside the Episode that total just over 6 minutes running time. These short features are accessible at each episode menu as well as from the main extras menu. Oddly there is no Inside the Episode available for Episode 2. These short clips featured either the director Jean-Marc Vallée or a cast member explaining the importance of a scene or character from each episode. I found these short features a pointless exercise in viewing as the script was well enough written and acted that all the meanings of the referred to events were self-explanatory.

Featurette (7.25)

   There is one featurette titled About Big Little Lies that features several short cast interviews as well as input from director Jean-Marc Vallée and screen writer David Kelley. Although quite a short featurette it does contain some interesting morsels including on set footage and some of the decisions made during production. Certainly of more value than the production notes.

Menu

    The menu features the sound of waves crashing on a beach.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    A comparison with the R1 Blu-ray statistics shows identical features and running times so I would go with R4 release just to keep it local.

Summary

    A well scripted and acted foray into the lives and social interactions of a group of parents set to the backdrop of a murder.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    There are several extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David Graham
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDLaser BLU-BD3000, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 65" OLED65E6T. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderYamaha YHT-1810B. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationYamaha YHT-1810B
Speakersyamaha

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