Queen, The (Blu-ray) (2006)

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Released 8-Apr-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Steven Frears (Director) & Peter Morgan (Writer)
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 103:22
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Stephen Frears
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Helen Mirren
James Cromwell
Alex Jennings
Roger Allam
Sylvia Syms
Tim McMullan
Robin Soans
Lola Peploe
Douglas Reith
Joyce Henderson
Pat Laffan
Case ?
RPI ? Music Alexandre Desplat


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD High Resolution Audio 5.1 (4608Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    The Queen dramatises the tense relationship between Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) and her newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen), as well as the swing of public opinion away from the monarchy, in the week following the death of Lady Diana (who is seen purely in genuine archival footage). Whilst Blair uses the event to cement his own position and offers the public a chance to mourn the popular ex-Princess, the Royal Family avoid public comment, treating the death as a private family matter, up to the point that they generate public outrage at what is widely seen as their disregard of the event.

    The Queen paints a surprisingly even-handed depiction of the Monarchy as it presently stands. The film never really passes judgement on the actions of any party and offers numerous perspectives on each event it depicts. In doing so, the film provides an intricate and riveting examination of the conflict between public and private life. How much of it all is fact or fiction is probably not something we will ever really know. Either way it certainly makes for compelling viewing

    Helen Mirren deservedly won herself an Oscar for her performance in The Queen (only to follow up, in true Oscar tradition, with the clunkers National Treasure 2 and Inkheart). One of the truly great things about The Queen is that many of the other performances in the film are on par with that of the Dame. Michael Sheen is spot-on as Tony Blair, as are James Cromwell (as Prince Philip) and Sylvia Sims (as The Queen Mother) in their supporting slots. Alex Jennings (as Prince Charles) and Helen McCrory (as Cherie Blair) also offer fine performances that would normally impress greatly, however the quality they are surrounded by outshines their efforts. Put simply, this is a cracking ensemble who manage to capture the chemistry between their characters impeccably.

    The Queen is the second collaboration between director Stephen Frears, writer Peter Morgan and actor Michael Sheen to bring a chapter of the life of Tony Blair to the screen. The first film of the intended trilogy, The Deal, was produced for television in 2003 and examines Blair's pact with Gordon Brown that bought him the party leadership which in turn lead to his Prime Minstership. Here's to hoping that the final instalment lives up to the high bar set by the first two instalments.

    The Queen is one of those rare films that exceeds already high expectations and is one of the finest dramas of the decade.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Disclaimer: Please note that this disc has a video resolution of 1080p. It has been reviewed on a display device with a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL). More information can be found here.

    The Queen is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.

    The disc does an excellent job of capturing the intended look of the film, to the extent that it is hard to picture it looking any better. That isn't to say this is the cleanest looking video you are likely to find, however, as all the Blair-centric scenes that don't feature the Queen were purpeosefully shot in grainy 16mm to give them a less-regal appearance. There is also a significant amount of archival footage and mock TV footage that deliberately looks much less polished. Colour is also altered between scenes to similar effect. Every regal scene is bright, bold and polished, whereas the Blair scenes feature muted, muddied, and occasionally dulled, colours.

    The image features an excellent level of fine detail and is clear and clean throughout. There are no unintentional video artefacts or film artefacts noticeable in the transfer. There is an excellent level of shadow detail in the image.

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

Audio

    The film features an English DTS-HD 5.1 track as well as an English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kbps) audio track.

    The audio is crystal clear and well mixed. The dialogue is easy to understand and appears to be well synchronised to the video.

    The film features a subtle, yet dramatic score from Alexandre Desplat.

    The film makes modest use of the surrounds for the score and a handful of environmental effects, most noticeable during outdoor scenes. There is not a great deal of need for surround usage in the film and the limited use in this instance suits the film well. Similarly, there is little subwoofer usage and little need for it.

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

Extras

Main Menu Animation & Audio

    The disc opens with a fairly standard animated menu that is backed by a portion of the film's score.

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

    A passable, though rather dry commentary from the brains behind the film. Morgan has much more to say than Frears, though neither leave any lasting impression or provide any real insight.

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

    A routine making of feature presented in a PAL standard definition format. Comprising a mixture of cast interviews, behind the scenes footage and archival footage, the featurette covers the acting process, the production design of the film and the history behind the story. Interesting viewing, but not something viewers are likely to come back to.

R4 vs R1

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

    For reasons unknown, the Australian Region B edition of The Queen misses out on one of the two commentary tracks found on the US Region A edition of the film. Specifically, we miss out on a commentary from British Historian and Royal Expert Robert Lacey (Author of Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor). The Region A does not miss out on anything, making it the clear winner (though buyer beware as it is apparently region locked, unlike the Australian edition).

    The extras on this Blu-ray are identical to those found on the Region 4 DVD edition.

Summary

    The Queen is a modern classic, and one that holds up well to repeated viewing.

    The video and audio presentation on this disc is excellent. Whilst this is not the sort of film that screams out for an upgrade from DVD, anyone who does is unlikely to be disappointed with the presentation. The limited extras, however, are somewhat underwhelming.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Monday, May 11, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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