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Due to an influx or review material and a lack of hours in the day, this marks the return of the mini/technical review. Only I'm not calling it that now at the request of our webmaster, as apparently it upsets the search engines. Anyway, my time is short and so is this review.

Feature


Russell Brand reinvents the role of Arthur Bach, an irresponsible, wealthy charmer who has always relied on two things to get by – his limitless fortune and the good sense of his lifelong nanny and best friend Hobson (Mirren), to keep him out of trouble. Kind-hearted and utterly without purpose, Arthur spends every day in the heedless pursuit of amusement, but when his unpredictable public image threatens the staid reputation of the family foundation, Bach Worldwide, he is given an ultimatum: Marry the beautiful, but decidedly unlovable Susan Johnson (Garner) or say goodbye to his billion-dollar inheritance and the only way of life he knows. (Taken from the Warner synopsis).

Video


Arthur arrives with a fine 1.78:1 widescreen transfer that looks every bit as good as you'd expect from a modern feature. The print is very clean, with a fine layer of grain and pleasing detail levels. Perhaps the most striking element of the visual presentation is the incredibly vibrant colour palette, with its bright primaries that almost pop off of the screen. Nothing about Arthur's transfer could be described as natural, particularly skin tones, which are occasionally flushed but usually over-saturated to the point that characters appear to have permanent suntans. Contrast also runs very hot, which results in blooming and crushed blacks, but like the colours it's an artistic choice rather than a fault. I'm sure there will be some who are turned off by the film's high-stylised look, but as someone who saw it theatrically relatively recently I can confirm that it's a pretty faithful representation of the intended look.

Audio


The film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is a pleasant, unassuming affair, but one that is unlikely to set the world alight. The primary focus is dialogue, which is well-represented in the mix, but beyond that there's not a whole lot going on. There's the occasional pan across the frontal array and some sporadic use of the surround channels for atmospherics and score, but certainly nothing that really sticks in the memory. There's very little bass on offer either, with perhaps only the opening crash in the Batmobile (yes, you read that right) delivering any sort of punch. To be honest the film has rather limited sound design to begin with so it's unreasonable to expect the Blu-ray to do anything other than reflect the original experience. There's nothing wrong with the track - everything is balanced reasonably well and there are no glaring audio anomalies - and it is what it is.

Extras


First up we have a short but fun making of featurette, in which Brand and director Jason Winer. Next come a series of deleted scenes, which feature some amusing ad-libbing from Brand but would ultimately have added little to the film. Finally there's a short gag reel. The content is funny enough, but the limited running time is a real problem. Being that this is a triple play release you can also find DVD and Digital Copies in the pack.

Overall


Whether you warm to Arthur is likely to depend largely on your feelings towards Brand. If you're not a fan this is unlikely to convert you, but if you can't get enough Russell you should enjoy this light-hearted romantic comedy. Technically it's a fairly competent if unspectacular release, but the lack of bonus material really lets the side down. Less than twenty minutes of extras for a major motion picture simply isn't good enough. Nevertheless I am a Brand fan and I found Arthur to be a welcome change from the worthy, serious films that occupy so much of my viewing time. It is for this reason that I recommend Arthur one as a rental at the very least.

* Note: The below images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

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