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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Elizabeth I (2005)

Elizabeth I (2005)

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Released 6-Sep-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation
Deleted Scenes-Episode 1 & 2
Featurette-Visual Effects
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 210:28 (Case: 235)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:19)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Tom Hooper

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Helen Mirren
Jeremy Irons
Patrick Malahide
Toby Jones
Hugh Dancy
Barbara Flynn
Ian McDiarmid
Jérémie Covillault
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $29.95 Music Robert Lane

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Helen Mirren is a very highly regarded (and highly talented) actress on stage and the large and small screens. Her resume includes two Oscar nominations, and multiple BAFTA and Emmy nominations and wins, including an Emmy for lead actress in 2005 for this production. In fact, this show scooped the pool at the 2005 Emmys, winning 9 awards in total. In addition to Helen Mirren's award it also won for direction, costumes, casting, art direction, editing, best supporting actor (Jeremy Irons) and the overall best Mini-Series award. She followed this role up by playing the other Queen Elizabeth in The Queen for which she won the best actress award at the Venice Film Festival recently. The show was made for the BBC in the UK and HBO in the US and was shown here locally on the ABC.

    One of the things which really stands out about this mini-series is that it takes a very different view of Elizabeth I and focuses on a different period of her life than many previous productions have. This mini-series focuses on the end of her life and reign and shows many private details of her lifestyle, loves and temperament. This show removes the normal formality in productions about history and royalty much in the same way as a show, Charles II, which I previously reviewed did. In fact this production is quite reminiscent of that one in many ways. It was shot in Eastern Europe, included a lot of sex and gore (this one has less sex but the same amount of gore), wonderful production quality and acting.

    The action begins 20 years into Elizabeth's (played wonderfully by Helen Mirren) reign, when she had reached the age of 42. The first episode (of two) focuses on her relationship with the Earl of Leicester (Jeremy Irons) and the second on her relationship with Leicester's step-son, The Earl of Essex (Hugh Dancy). The cast is excellent all round and also includes Patrick Malahide as Francis Walsingham, Ian McDiarmid as Lord Burghley and Toby Jones as Burgley's son, Robert Cecil. The show covers such happenings in her life as assassination attempts, her proposed marriage to the Duke of Anjou, rebellions by Mary Queen of Scots and the Earl of Essex, the attack of the Spanish Armada, Irish rebellions and lots of very nasty executions. The squeamish should note that this DVD version is rated MA (as opposed to the TV version's M rating) and includes graphic violence, especially some draw and quartering.

    The technical quality of this production is excellent with great sets, computer graphics (which are not obviously so), wonderful makeup - especially on Helen Mirren as her character ages - great music and some marvellous cinematography. The show makes great use of natural lighting which makes the production seem very authentic.

    Highly Recommended.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably sharp without ever being crisp. There was no evidence of low level noise. There was some light grain throughout, more noticeable in darker scenes. Shadow detail was not overwhelmingly good, which was probably a side effect of the lighting choice.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.

    The layer change on Disc 2 was not particularly noticeable although it did cause a slight pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 256 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Some lines of dialogue were slightly muffled and the subtitles were useful.

    The score of this film by Rob Lane is wonderful, perfectly fitting the style and time period in which the production was set. It includes vocal, baroque and orchestral pieces.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used in any noticeable way.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Some worthwhile extras are included.


    The menu included music and the ability to select scenes and subtitles.

Disc 2

Deleted Scenes (19:11) 

    These scenes are divided into two sections, one for each episode and a total of 14 scenes are included, some of which are excellent and probably could have been left in the final production. Subtitles are available and the scenes are presented 16x9 enhanced. I have included comments below on the more interesting scenes. Included are:

    Episode 1

    Episode 2

Visual Effects Before and After (5:12) 

    Shows the differences before and after computer graphics were added and colour grading done. Excellent work and fascinating how much can be achieved whilst maintaining the right look and feel.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    This series is also available in Region 1 and both seem to be the uncut version based on running time. It does not seem to have been released in Region 2 yet. The differences are in the languages and extras and are as follows. The Region 4 version misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis it's a hard call without seeing the different extras on the Region 1. I'll have to call it a draw.


    An excellent dramatised series about the latter years of Elizabeth I starring the incomparable Helen Mirren.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    A reasonable selection of extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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