Love Actually (2003)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director and Actors
Music Video-Billy Mack - Christmas Is All Around
Music Highlights-5 Songs, With Introduction By Richard Curtis
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (87:54)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Richard Curtis|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
While movie-going is filled with continual disappointment, such as the recent League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, very occasionally a movie comes along that truly pleasantly surprises me. In my opinion, Richard Curtis' Love Actually was undoubtedly the best film of 2003. While there were many other movies in 2003 that I thoroughly enjoyed, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, LOTR: Return Of The King, and Finding Nemo, I can't recall the last film that so expertly straddled the genres of drama and comedy as well as Love Actually. The cinema audience I watched it with laughed and cried throughout, and then spontaneously erupted into applause at its close (with more than a few cheers). I too found myself enthusiastically clapping. This is one of those very, very rare films that one can truly call art -- bravo!
Love Actually is written and directed by Richard Curtis. Curtis is no stranger to success. Following co-writing the Blackadder series, Curtis also wrote for Mr Bean and The Vicar of Dibley. Curtis' big-screen writing credits include the brilliant Four Weddings and a Funeral, the clever Notting Hill, and the excellent Bridget Jones's Diary. Curtis makes his directorial debut with Love Actually, and absolutely nails it. With an excellent, and often slightly understated touch, Curtis showcases his gift for dealing with both comedy and tragedy within the same story.
"General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed -- but I don't see that -- seems to me that love is everywhere . . . Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy -- but it's always there -- fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and strangers . . . If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion that love actually is all around".
Love Actually is an extraordinarily well-crafted ensemble piece that contains multiple story lines that occasionally intersect. They all deal with the issue of love, and love in its many forms. Firstly there's the new, young bachelor Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who falls for a down-to-earth member of his staff (Martine McCutcheon). There's also the hurt and frustrated writer (Colin Firth) who finds love where and when he least expects it. Then there's the biting story of a married couple (Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson) with kids who find that the romance has evaporated from their marriage. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just add that the other story lines include brilliant acting performances from Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and Bill Nighy. Indeed, the acting performances by the entire cast are compelling, and they all make the most of the tight script.
Overall, the transfer is very good.
The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness is excellent, as evidenced by the sharp detail in every scene, such as in the aerial shot of London at 49:18. The shadow detail, black level, and colour are all excellent, and the skin tones are accurate.
There are no problem with MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts appear as some slight aliasing, such as the slight shimmer on the stack of CDs at 11:00, and on the computer keyboard at 28:36. A few tiny film artefacts are scattered throughout, but they were not noticeable unless one was looking for them. Occasionally there was also some edge enhancement, but I did not find it distracting.
The English subtitles are accurate. This is a RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 87:54, which causes a slight pause, but does not interrupt the flow of the movie.
The feature only has one audio option: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s).
The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent.
The delicate musical score is credited to Craig Armstrong, and it contributes enormously to the emotion of the film. There is also the clever use of classic songs throughout, including Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now and the Beatles' All You Need Is Love.
This is a heavily dialogue based film, with minimal ambience throughout. The rears are used effectively, however, such as during the wedding scene at 9:39. Due to the nature of the film, the LFE track mainly supports some of the bass-heavy music.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are quite a few extras. Unless stated otherwise, all are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, with the clips from the film presented in their original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.
Animated with audio.
This contains a music video of the character Billy Mack's Christmas Is All Around (presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1); and another section, Music Highlights, which contains five clips from the movie showcasing the use of music in the film. Each of these segments are introduced by Richard Curtis.
This sub-menu provides access to deleted scenes, an audio commentary, and a short featurette:
There are ten deleted scenes, which can be viewed separately, or together. Each is introduced by Richard Curtis.
The commentary is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). It is surround encoded. The commentary itself is provided by Richard Curtis, Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy and Thomas Sangster. The commentary is screen-specific and obviously unrehearsed. There are many anecdotes and jokes throughout, and Hugh Grant turns up late during the commentary (as he was "held up by traffic"). As an aside, I found it odd that they would use child actor Sangster, as he is not legally old enough to watch the film.
Running for about ten minutes, this featurette includes short interviews with the producers and cast.
There is one television advertisement for the charity, OxFam, and one trailer for The Thunderbirds, the latter being presented with Dolby Surround audio.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Love Actually is to be released on DVD in Region 1 on April 27, 2004. From what I can tell so far, the two versions should be much the same, except that R1 will get both a full-screen and widescreen version.
Love Actually is a touching, positive, and uplifting film, while also managing to be a great comedy. I thoroughly recommend it.
The video quality is excellent, except for the occasional aliasing.
The audio quality good..
The extras are interesting, and contributed to my enjoyment of the movie.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|