Pride & Prejudice (2005)

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Released 6-Mar-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romance Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Joe Wright (Director)
Featurette-The Politics Of Dating
Featurette-The Stately Homes Of Pride And Prejudice
Featurette-The Bennets
Featurette-The Life And Times Of Jane Austen
Notes-Pride And Prejudice Family Tree
Gallery-Galleries Of The 19th Century (3)
Featurette-On Set Diaries
Alternate Ending
Notes-Pride And Prejudice Study Guide By Katy Marriner
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 120:58
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Joe Wright
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Keira Knightley
Talulah Riley
Rosamund Pike
Jena Malone
Carey Mulligan
Donald Sutherland
Brenda Blethyn
Claudie Blakley
Sylvester Morand
Simon Woods
Kelly Reilly
Matthew MacFadyen
Pip Torrens
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Dario Marianelli


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

†† It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in
possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

††† The most obvious thing about the oft-quoted line above, which is incidentally the opening paragraph of Jane Austenís novel Pride and Prejudice, is just how much the world of courting, dating and marriage has changed since the late 18th century. These days a single man (or woman for that matter) in possession of a good fortune are most likely still living at home with mum and quite happy to date a few different people and spend their cash on themselves! But I digress.

††† This big-screen version of Jane Austenís classic tale Pride and Prejudice was always going to be starting off on the back foot, unfavourably compared with the much-loved and hugely popular 1995 BBC mini-series of the same name starring the man all ladies would soon be swooning over, Colin Firth.

††† But really this is a tad unfair as this film by first time director Joe Wright is actually quite good and even more surprising, it is really enjoyable. It is an exquisitely detailed production which is really good enough to stand on its own despite the presence of a mini-series adored around the world.

††† The story for those not familiar with this well known tale is relatively simple. The not particularly affluent Bennets, led by patriarch Mr Bennet (Donald Sutherland) and his demanding wife Mrs Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) have five blossoming daughters. Now if this excess of females is an issue in 2006 when having that many of marrying age would likely lead to a second mortgage to cover the weddings, it is an absolute dilemma in Georgian England of the late 18th century when marrying the right kind of man is about the only way for any woman of low station to get ahead in life. Adding to the Bennet's problems is they have no sons, which due to some antiquated law means the Bennet estate will pass to some distant male cousin rather than any of the female Bennets after the passing of the parents.
†††
††† In keeping with the times and along with almost every mother in similar circumstances, Mrs Bennet's sole aim in life is to find a suitable suitor for her daughters. Her brood includes the second oldest, the opinionated and incredibly strong-willed and intelligent Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and the eldest Jane (Rosamund Pike), who is of marrying age and is the current target of Mrs Bennet's match-making skills.

††† With all these young ladies on offer, would-be suitors come knocking regularly, so when wealthy Mr Bingley (Simon Woods) arrives in town with his sister (Kelly Reilly) and snooty, but even richer, friend Mr Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen), Mrs Bennet's marrying fervour reaches fever pitch.

††† Mr Bingley is smitten with Jane and it looks like a wedding could be on the cards. But it is the reaction from the aloof and incredibly dull Mr Darcy to the delightful antics of the cheeky Elizabeth that throws up the most intriguing storyline. Will this unlikely duo form a couple? Only time will tell and some sparks are sure to fly.

††† This is a pretty faithful adaptation of the Jane Austen classic, with little evidence of jazzing the story up for the masses. It looks authentic, contains plenty of stately locations and some beautiful production design and costuming. But it is the performances that provide the final layer of sparkle. Keira Knightley is superb as the cheeky Elizabeth, to such an extent you forget it is her in the role and think only of the character on the screen. Matthew MacFadyen is not bad as Mr Darcy, though most females I have spoken to say he doesn't cut it compared to the irresistible Colin Firth. The supporting cast, including turns from Donald Sutherland as Mr Bennet and Dame Judi Dench as an English noble is excellent.

††† Worth a look, even if only to see how much dating and marriage has changed in the last 200 years.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

††† The video transfer offered here is an 16x9 enhanced effort in the original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1.

†† It is a reasonably sharp transfer on most occasions, but with the odd wider shot looking a little softer than average. There is a some minor edge enhancement present, while shadow detail is excellent with well-defined images throughout. Grain is probably the most obvious problem, with the numerous interior background displaying a light smattering of pixelization some of the time. There is no low level noise.

††† Colours are excellent, especially the bright interiors of the stately homes. There are no oversaturation or bleeding problems.

††† Aliasing is absent and there are no major film artefacts present.

††† Subtitles for English speakers is about it with them found to be most pleasing with little omission or abridgement.

†††† This is a dual layered disc with RSDL formatting. I was unable to locate the layer change.



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

Audio

††† There is a choice of two audio soundtracks on this disc, with both aimed at English speaking listeners. First up is the only offering for the main film audio, this being a Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at a bitrate of 448 Kb/s. The second track is a Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track.

††† The dialogue is clear and concise and there are no audio sync problems.

††† There is some really snappy period music and songs used in this film particularly when the numerous dances are happening. These give a really authentic feel and some real spark to the soundtrack.

††† The soundtrack doesn't command a great deal of attention from the surround channels. They spring to life a couple of times during the dances, but with the bulk of the film essentially dialogue, their minimal use is hardly surprising. Subwoofer use is also restrained.



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

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

Audio Commentary - Joe Wright (Director)

††† It has been a while since I heard a commentary that I would rush back to for a second helping, and alas this is yet another commentary in the long list of barely average efforts that Iím glad I listened to at 1.5 times normal speed on my PC, in an effort to get through quicker. First-time director Joe Wright is relatively easy to listen to and he is at least honest with elements of the film that do and donít work rather than just stating how amazing everybody is, but there is still precious little here to get excited about.

Featurette - The Politics of Dating

††† Running for 4:24 this is a brief look at some of the social confines that many men and women found themselves stuck in when it came to finding true love in the late 18th century and how their families pretty much decided everything for them.

Featurette - The Stately Homes Of Pride and Prejudice

††† Filmed on location in England, a country with more than its fair share of stately homes and ostentatious displays of old-money wealth, this featurette lets you take a look at five of the homes featured in the film. A few photos are joined by a short chapter for each home. The homes are - Groombridge Place (4:24), Basildon Park (2:13), Chatsworth House (2:56), Wilton House (2:29) and Burghley House (3:53).

Featurette - The Bennets

††† This is a look at some of the family relationships amongst the Bennet clan with the somewhat interesting conclusion drawn that some of them may have been based on Jane Austenís own family history. It runs for 6:01.

Featurette - The Life and Times Of Jane Austen

††† This is a featurette that should run for just a little bit longer than a measly 8:03. The life and times of Jane Austen could easily fill a mini-series over eight hours and this ultra-slim effort really does not do her or her work any justice at all.

Notes - Pride and Prejudice Family Tree

††† Donít know your Mr Darcys from your Mr Bingleys?, your Elizabeth Bennets from your Jane Bennets? Well this family tree should help you out, showing the various relationships of all the characters.

Gallery - Galleries of the 19th Century

††† There are three galleries to choose from here with Clothing and Costumes (30 images), Jewellery and Accessories (10 images), and Furniture and Furnishings (16 images) all covered in some detail.

Featurette - On Set Diaries

††† Running for a measly 6:18 this is a fairly bland and all-too-familiar self-congratulatory behind-the-scenes series of grabs from the main cast and crew.

Alternate Ending

††† Yuk. This is a dreadfully schmaltzy alternative ending that tries to wrap up the story in a warm and fuzzy on-screen kiss kind of moment (and is predictably labelled the US alternate ending). Runs for just 2.29 thankfully.

Notes - Study Guide

††† This is a series of text-based screens giving a plot synopsis and a set of discussion points to promote further study of the story. The sort of stuff you would imagine doing in year 12 English Literature classes.

R4 vs R1

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

††† The Region 1 disc is a little different with additional French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, plus a HBO First Look style featurette. Itís a little unclear whether the other featurettes found on the Region 4 disc are included or are merely wrapped up in this other extra.

††† From what I can gather the UK Region 2 disc is the same as the Region 4.

Summary

††† This big-screen version of Jane Austenís classic tale Pride and Prejudice was always going to be starting off on the back foot, unfavourably compared with the much-loved and hugely popular 1995 BBC mini-series. But really this is a tad unfair as this exquisitely detailed production is really good enough to stand on its own. It is true to the original story with no sign of any Hollywood gloss or the even worse disease - dumbing-down for the masses. The look and feel of the whole production is authentic and this is a role Keira Knightley was born for. She shines as the sassy and cheeky Elizabeth Bennet and virtually carries every scene she is in, which is just as well because Matthew MacFadyenís take on the haughty Mr Darcy is not going to set the world on fire in the same way that Colin Firth did more than 10 years ago.

††† The video is reasonable without taking on that eye-popping look of a reference quality transfer, while the audio sparkles when needed.

††† The extras are your usual bag of light-weight featurettes and marginally better than average director commentary.

††† Recommended wholeheartedly for fans of author Jane Austen or the stunning actress Keira Knightley.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Monday, April 03, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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