Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

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Released 4-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Music Video-Killin' Kind-Shelby Lynne
Music Video-Out Of Reach-Gabrielle
Notes-Original Bridget Jones's Diary Columns
Deleted Scenes-8
Audio Commentary-Sharon Maguire - Director
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 93:01 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (44:10) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Sharon Maguire
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Renee Zellweger
Hugh Grant
Colin Firth
Jim Broadbent
Gemma Jones
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music Patrick Doyle


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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
French
Portuguese
Dutch
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, During end credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    One of the more highly promoted films of 2001, Bridget Jones's Diary is based on the successful novel by Helen Fielding, which itself was based on her popular newspaper column of the same name from the 1990s. It is the story of the quintessential single thirty-something chubby all-round English lass, Bridget Jones, played by American Renee Zellweger. The fact that this very English of roles was given to a Yank caused a lot of consternation at the time of casting, but most fears were allayed after seeing the manner in which Zellweger handled the role. She really does become Bridget. You forget she is an American after about 30 seconds and she is entirely believable in the role. Even her accent is pretty good.

    Bridget has some problems in her life. She can't find a decent fellow, seemingly always hooking up with no-hopers, sleazebags, psychos or total f@#*wits. She also drinks far too much alcohol and has a smoking problem. Couple this with the extra weight she is carrying, mostly evident in a set of rather large thighs and the world is crumpling around Bridget's chubby ankles. When she is introduced to a rather rude Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), in an obvious attempt by her mother at match-making, he describes her as 'verbally incontinent'. Bridget then decides to make some changes in her life. She starts keeping a diary and plans to reduce her alcohol and ciggie intake, lose some weight and find herself a decent boyfriend. But good intentions go awry when she is 'email seduced' by her sleazy boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant in an against-type role). Things go from bad to worse when her mum (Gemma Jones) runs off with a television shopping channel host and the 'relationship' she is forging with sleazy Daniel isn't all that she hoped it would be.

    This is a generally amusing tale that provides some laughs even after repeat viewings. The actors play their roles perfectly (usually any film with a dominant English supporting cast do). Renee Zellweger is superb as Bridget. You feel sorry for her, and you laugh at her and with her. The opposing male leads are also good value. Colin Firth in particular is about as stoic and haughty as a character can be, and even good old Hugh Grant plays the sleazebag with gleeful abandon (I reckon this type of role is closer to his real-life personality than the normal bumbling Brit that he so often plays). I think that one of the reasons that Bridget Jones's Diary was so popular in all its forms (column, book, film) is that many people can associate with the lead character. Much like the classic Australian comedy The Castle (which I am not going to wait for on DVD much longer), the characters are not perfect or even close to it, but we feel a certain empathy with them and often see mirrors of ourselves. I can rattle off at least half a dozen Bridget Jones act-a-likes that I know personally. They are forever consulting their weekly stars to determine if this is the week they will find the man of their dreams, if they should really start that new diet, or simply give up and head to the pub after work on Friday.

    As a bit of a side issue, if anybody says the 'F' word better than Scot Billy Connolly, then it must be the entire population of England. They seem to be able to utter this expletive with such flair and good humour that it never seems like a swear word. Much like Four Weddings and a Funeral, the 'F' word crops up an awful lot in this film (there is even a character called Shazza (Sally Phillips) who utters it several times in each sentence). The use of the 'F' word is overshadowed somewhat by the quite unexpected and subsequently overdubbed use of the dreaded 'C' word. See the section on censorship for details.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    A very fine video transfer is afforded this release. 

    Not the norm for romantic comedies, this transfer is presented in an aspect of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a very sharp transfer indeed with nary a trace of edge enhancement. Shadow detail is also pretty fine with well-defined images throughout. There is a little bit of grain in a couple scenes, but nothing to worry about and certainly not distracting. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are well saturated, if maybe tending to a little on the dull side (it is mostly set in London I guess, not exactly the most vibrantly colourful place). There are no oversaturation or bleeding problems. Quite pleasing on the eye, really.

    No MPEG artefacts were noticed. Aliasing was also kept to a minimum and only a tiny handful of the usual sort of film artefacts were present. Nothing again to be concerned about. All-in-all, a pretty clean print.

    Several subtitles are available. I switched the English flavour on for the entire duration of the film while listening to the director's commentary and found them most pleasing with little omission or abridgement.

    This is a dual layered disc with the layer change occurring quite early at 44:10. It is barely perceptible and very nicely handled.

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

Audio

        There are five audio tracks available. Four are Dolby Digital 5.1 efforts: English, Italian, Spanish, and French. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded English Commentary track. I listened to both English tracks in total and sampled the others briefly to verify their presence. This is certainly not a 5.1 track to demo your speaker system to the envious neighbours with, being very much dialogue-focused via the centre channel, though through the use of the score and the many songs there is excellent stereo separation thus creating a wide front soundstage.

    Dialogue is crisp and clear with no problems evident with audio sync or understanding any of the characters. The narration in particular by Bridget is very clear and dynamic in its presentation.

    The musical score is from composer Patrick Doyle, and is quite engaging. Quirky at times, poignant at others, it captures the spirit of Bridget Jones perfectly. The songs used throughout run the gamut of the thirty-something curse.....contemporary music (some of us do know where TripleJ is on the dial you know), songs straight from the playlist of "SAD-FM or easy listening for the over thirties" in Bridget's words). Offerings are presented from Van Morrison, The Pretenders, Aretha Franklin, Robbie Williams and even Geri Halliwell (God help us).

    As mentioned, this is not the sort of soundtrack that will be used to break in your rear speakers, with only minimal surround use. The subwoofer is nicely integrated into the soundstage providing some nice bottom end to the musical score.

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

Extras

    There is a reasonable selection of extras present, but for some reason the original theatrical trailer is missing.

Main Menu Introduction

    A fairly cheesy swirling, yet brightly coloured, menu intro. A bit annoying the third time round.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The audio is straight out of a Doris Day flick. More cheese.

Audio Commentary - Director Sharon Maguire

    First time director Sharon Maguire gushes with enthusiasm when the film company logos appear, and proceeds to be enthusiastic about everyone in this mostly scene-specific commentary. She takes time to point out some anecdotes about the production, but does delve into much of the scene-specific problems or challenges that were faced. Few technical details are forthcoming. She does offer much praise for the entire cast (even the very small support roles) and  it must be noted that she has a particular thing for Colin Firth, describing him in all manner of smouldering sex-god-like terms.

    The commentary is a little disjointed at times, especially in the closing stages, where it becomes evident that this is a commentary that was aimed at the Region 1 US release of the film and not the Region 2 or Region 4 versions. Their end credits are slightly different, with different songs and she is obviously watching the R1 version at the time of recording and so she is talking about one thing while another appears on the screen. Quite clumsily handled. I'd only give this commentary track a conceded pass, mainly due to this being her first directorial effort.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes

    Running for 9:39 minutes, this is presented in full screen 1.33:1 with images from the film presented in 2.35:1 letterbox. It is not 16x9 enhanced. This is certainly not the worst making-of featurette that I have seen, and despite its very short duration does give some insight into the behind the camera activity. The cast is not too cloying in their praise for each other and Helen Fielding even admits that she stole the main story thread from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. She certainly has a bit of a thing for Colin Firth though.

Music Video - "Killin' Kind" - Shelby Lynn

    Running for 3:22 minutes with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and at an aspect of 2.35:1, this is not 16x9 enhanced. This song features somewhere in the film (exactly where I can't remember - it's not that remarkable a song). 

Music Video - "Out of Reach" - Gabriel

    Running for 3:27 minutes with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. This is presented in an aspect of 1.78:1 and is also not 16x9 enhanced. This is the more radio-friendly song and unlike the previous effort, features images from the film throughout the video.

Notes

    Several pages of excerpts from the original Helen Fielding columns that give an insight into what inspired the story.

Deleted Scenes

    Eight deleted scenes (though one is apparently the alternate credits footage), all presented in 2.35:1 with 16x9 enhancement. Total running time is 11:50 minutes. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. These are actually quite funny and given the fact that the movie only runs for a little of one and a half hours, I'm a little surprised that they were chopped. The scene titled "Perfect Relationship", where Bridget interrupts Daniel's television watching wanting to know why he won't stop watching the rugby and talk to her is particularly amusing. This scene is a little too close to home for me. My wife is always interrupting my cricket watching wanting to know why I won't talk to her. Can't she see that I'm busy!

    A worthwhile addition to the disc, though the lack of commentary or even simple introductory text explaining their removal is a bit frustrating.

Censorship

    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.

    The Region 2 disc is exactly the same as the Region 4 offering, complete with the dubbed word. From all the references I can find the Region 1 disc does not have this dub and features the original four-letter 'C' word.

    The Region 4 disc misses out on

    The Region 1 disc misses out on

Summary

    Bridget Jones's Diary is a good fun film that features the usual solid performances from the mainly British cast. Love him or hate him, Hugh Grant plays a great jerk, but it is Renee Zellweger's film. As Bridget Jones, she is thoroughly believable in her role, right down to her plumpish bottom and spot-on accent.

    The video is excellent, which given the vintage of the film should be as expected.

    The audio is a solid effort, and is well recorded.

    The extras only get three and a half stars. The commentary track is fine, but the lack of the theatrical trailer is a major omission.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Friday, December 21, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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Comments (Add)
Region 1 has DTS 5.1 option - cztery REPLY POSTED
My Region 1 clearly says DTS - cztery REPLY POSTED
re: My Region 1 clearly says DTS - Roger (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
Odd - cztery REPLY POSTED