Macbeth (2006)

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Released 28-Mar-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Making Of
Trailer-Saw III, Marie Antoinette, Casino Royale,
Trailer-Irresistible, Hunt Angels
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 104:32
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:36) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Geoffrey Wright
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sam Worthington
Victoria Hill
Lachy Hulme
Gary Sweet
Steve Bastoni
Mick Molloy
Matt Doran
Damian Walshe-Howling
Jonny Pasvolsky
Rel Hunt
John Molloy
Miranda Nation
Chloe Armstrong
Case ?
RPI ? Music John Clifford White


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Macbeth, "the Scottish play" to superstitious theatre-goers, is one of William Shakespeare's best known works. It's also, though many would argue at length to this fact, one of his best. Few plays manage to tell such a grand tragedy so succinctly or with such menace. Furthermore, the play is filled with such extreme characters - farseeing witches and megalomaniacs - and themes - fate, conspiracies and ambiguous morality - that it lends itself to being the most fun for players to adapt. This allure has attracted many a film adaptation to date, most notably Roman Polanski's masterwork, and the results have varied immensely in quality.

    The basic story of Macbeth, which this adaptation closely follows, can be summed up fairly succinctly; Three witches tell Macbeth (played by Sam Worthington in this version) that he will one day he will assume great power. With the aid of his wife (Victoria Hill in this adaptation), Macbeth bumps off his regent, Duncan (Gary Sweet), whose power he assumes that he will seize, but is haunted by prophecies that his bloodline won't be around for long. Surely enough, it's not long before the enemies he has made during his grab for power unite against him.

    This particular Australian adaptation, directed by Geoffrey Wright and adapted for the screen by Geoffrey Wright and Victoria Hill, repositions the plot against a gritty Melbourne gangland war. Macbeth is a trooper for gang boss Duncan, and the havoc of the piece largely occurs around Macbeth's swingin' house in the hills. Macbeth and his wife are drugged out maniacs.

    The screenplay retains the Shakespearean dialogue despite the updated setting, which makes for a surreal effect. The gobbledegook and doublespeak of the old English dialogue fits the heavy drug themes like a glove, but makes many other aspects of the update a step harder to comprehend for anyone not familiar with the story. The problem being that viewers have to decode the doublespeak of the language as well as the meaning of actions on screen and, since the updated aspects to the story have not been worked into the dialogue, there is a lot of meaning to the actions themselves. In a nutshell, anybody familiar with the play (or fluent in Shakespearean English!) will get a lot more from this movie than someone who is not.

    The results of this update are decidedly mixed. At times they seem inspired. At others they bear a little too much resemblance to a high school drama project - one with an overdose of blood, drugs and nudity, at any rate. The concept wears thin towards the end of the film, but doesn't overstay its welcome. The performances also vary wildly in quality but for the most part are good, albeit overly theatrical. A lot of people will get a kick out of seeing the host of local comedians, including Mick Molloy, Kim Gyngell and Bob Franklin, in supporting roles - particularly given that they aren't bad in their respective roles.

    Undoubtedly, some viewers will love the dark style of this adaptation, but others will hate it. Few are likely to sit on the fence. Regardless of which side of the fence you end up falling on, Macbeth is worth at least a rent to find out.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video looks very good. In fact, this HD video shot film looks better on the small screen than it ever did on the big screen. The HD video appeared rather soft and lacked enough detail to make the film look good on a cinema screen, but the level of detail is spot on for the small screen.

    The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, close to its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is quite sharp and even throughout. A moderate amount of low level noise is visible throughout the film, but it's never enough to be distracting. The film uses a lot of dark, gothic colours - deep reds and blacks - to present the story. These colours are very rich and there is plenty of detail visible in the dark areas of the image.

    There are no visible film artefacts in the transfer, most likely as it was a purely digital transfer. A few minor compression related artefacts are visible, such as occasional posterisation, but none that are noticeable enough to detract from the viewing experience.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs at 67:36 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

    There is one English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 kbps) audio track, not 5.1 as the cover states. This is rather disappointing as the original theatrical release featured a full 5.1 soundtrack and there is ample room on the disc to accomodate a 5.1 track.

    The dialogue is clearly audible in the mix and appears reasonably well synchronised, although there are a few points where ADR is apparent.

    The music used in the film is rather eclectic, but more or less fits the film.

    The soundtrack is well mixed, but the wall of sound approach that is given to the score frequently highlights the very flat stereo mix and occasional dropouts in the audio. There is no prologic usage of surround speakers nor any noticeable bass that makes its way to subwoofer levels.

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

Extras

    The disc opens with a forced anti-piracy trailer that cannot be skipped.

Making Macbeth Featurette (30:58)

    A surprisingly thorough "Making Of" featurette that looks into nearly every aspect of the adaptation and the production. It features interviews with most of the cast and crew members, behind the scenes footage with the armourer/stunt coordinator, and makeup and effects segments

Photo Gallery

    A rather lacklustre assortment of production stills.

Trailers

    Trailers for Saw III, Marie Antoinette, Casino Royale, Irresistible and Hunt Angels.

R4 vs R1

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

    This particular take on Macbeth is currently only available in Region 4.

Summary

    Though it puts the story in a modern setting, the dialogue is very true to the source in its language and content. Odds are that you will either love or hate this particular take on Macbeth.

    The extras are small in number, but include an excellent "Making Of" featurette.

    The video presentation is excellent. The audio presentation is rather mediocre.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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