The Queen (2006)

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Released 27-Apr-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Audio Commentary-Stephen Frears (Director) & Peter Morgan (Writer)
Featurette-Making Of-Making of The Queen Documentary
Gallery-Photo-Photography Slideshow
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 98:46 (Case: 103)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stephen Frears
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Helen Mirren
Michael Sheen
James Cromwell
Sylvia Syms
Alex Jennings
Helen McCrory
Roger Allam
Tim McMullan
Douglas Reith
Robin Soans
Lola Peploe
Joyce Henderson
Pat Laffan
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Alexandre Desplat


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, only briefly

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

Plot Synopsis

      Where were you when you first heard the news of the tragic, untimely death of Princess Diana? Chances are, you can remember exactly where you were - it was a defining moment in history, one that plunged most of the world into a state of mourning. Ten years on from the tragedy, official inquiries and conspiracy theories still continue into the circumstances that led to that horrific car crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris.

    Stephen Frears film, The Queen, is a dramatic adaptation that is based both on fact and carefully considered speculation. Without going into a detailed synopsis, the film centres on the immediate days following Diana's death and in particular, the conflict between long established royal traditions and the expectations of a public in deep mourning.

    The Queen is very much an actor's film. The entire cast delivers the required level of authenticity to the screen, guided by the careful direction of Stephen Frears and a wonderful screenplay by Peter Morgan.

    By the very nature of the subject matter, it was vitally important that all aspects of the production came together to attain this high degree of authenticity. This was especially true of the brilliant casting and in particular, the portrayal of the two key characters in the films narrative. Helen Mirren's Academy Award winning performance as Queen Elizabeth II is faultless, as is Michael Sheen's portrayal of the newly elected Labor Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The superb cast also includes, James Cromwell as Prince Philip, Alex Jennings as Prince Charles, Sylvia Syms as the Queen Mother, Helen McCrory as Cherie Blair and Roger Allam as Robin Janvrin.

    It is ironic that the death of Princess Diana brought the monarchy to a crossroads in its relationship with the British people. Centuries of royal tradition had to make way to appease a grieving population. Under the apprehensive insistence of an inexperienced Prime Minister, Queen Elizabeth  made the decisions, which regained and secured the admiration and respect of the people in the years since.

    Although it is ultimately a work of fiction, there is no doubting that much of Peter Morgan's screenplay is probably much closer to fact than we will ever know.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for The Queen is excellent.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is 16x9 enhanced. The correct aspect ratio for the film is 1.85:1.

    Sharpness and clarity was not a problem issue with this transfer, even though The Queen uses a combination of different film sources. In scenes involving Tony Blair, 16mm film stock was used. The scenes involving Queen Elizabeth II used a high quality 35mm stock. Deliberately grainy archival footage is also incorporated into the film from various sources. These very different sources were used for a specific purpose and blend together quite nicely in the finished film. Blacks were clean and free from low-level-noise and shadow detail was generally excellent.

    Colours were well balanced and appeared perfectly natural.

    There were no MPEG artefacts in this transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were insignificant and film artefacts were non-existent.

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitles on this DVD.

    This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change occurs at 65:15 and was easily noticed, but not overly disruptive.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer was equally impressive.

    There are three audio tracks available on this DVD, English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    I had no problems hearing and comprehending any of the dialogue throughout the film. There were no obvious problems with audio sync.

    Alexandre Desplat  is a composer of considerable talent. His music score for The Queen enhances the film beautifully. It is a suitably dramatic and moving score, which compliments the overall viewing experience.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is sensibly subtle and doesn't intrude on the narrative. Although there are some directional effects, the surround channels are most noticeable during passages of music.

    Equally, the subwoofer enhanced bass elements in the music score, such as at 11:40 , but was used sparingly outside of this.

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

Extras

    The selection of extras on this disc are not extensive, but are still worthy.

Menu

    The menu features very subtle animation, is 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of the Alexandre Desplat music score.

Audio Commentary - Stephen Frears (Director) and Peter Morgan (Writer)

    A basic, run of the mill commentary from the writer and director. Peter Morgan takes the lead in the commentary, with Stephen Frears happy to add in additional information or to challenge a point. Although not as informative as I had hoped, their dialogue is still worth a listen.

Featurette - The Making of The Queen (19:29)

    This rather short, but fascinating look at the making of The Queen is divided into three chapters. The first chapter is titled "Playing Real People", the second is titled, "The Design" and the third is titled "That Week". These categories are supported with cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, archival footage and final film footage. Despite it's short running time, this documentary offers considerable insight into various aspects of the production and makes very worthy viewing.

Photography Slideshow

    This slideshow scrolls automatically with music from the film providing an accompaniment to the images. There are thirty still images from the film in total.

R4 vs R1

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

    I will compare this local R4 version with the U.S. R1 version, released by Miramax on April 24th 2007.

    Both versions appear similar, except for a couple of additions to the R1 version. The R1 edition features the additions of English and Spanish subtitles and a Spanish language audio track. It also features an additional audio commentary by British historian and royal expert, Robert Lacey. By all reports, this commentary is very interesting, so it is sadly missed on the R4 edition. Maybe a "Special Collector's Edition" will address this sometime in the future. In the meantime, the R1 edition seems the obvious winner.

Summary

    We will probably never really know just how much of this film is fact and how much is fiction. Regardless of that, The Queen is an incredible achievement in so many aspects. Stephen Frears and Peter Morgan have bravely embraced a story that is still close to many hearts and have created a film that is equally dramatic, compassionate and ultimately, very moving. Highly Recommended.

    The video and audio transfers are both excellent.

    The selection of extras is reasonably good and are worth a look.

    

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Friday, May 18, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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