Eat Pray Love (UK - BD)
Marcus thinks of ways to ditch grumpy Julia Roberts while travelling in HD...
Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) has it all. She’s married, has a good job, a nice house and seemingly she’s happy, but deep down inside she’s missing something and when she decides to walk away from her life and travel the places she always wanted to go, Elizabeth starts on a journey of self discovery that will change her life forever.
On paper that sounds like a good movie to me. A movie delving into the spiritual side of life and watching someone travel the globe discovering different cultures and a different way to live their life. All sorta sounds like Into the Wild, a movie which took all of ten minutes for director Sean Penn and his lead actor Emile Hirsch to convince me society isn’t working and just walking away from it might be a better idea. Unfortunately Eat Pray Love has another grumpy lead performance from Julia Robert and it took me all of ten minutes to decide I wanted to stay home and help her pack so she could leave sooner.
Watching the director's longer cut (a whopping two and a half hours) I just couldn’t warm to this Elizabeth Gilbert. I don’t know if I just found the character too whiny, annoying and over thinking, or if it was just Julia Roberts making everything feel like such a slog (seriously what was the last upbeat performance she gave us? Even her Tinkerbell was a grump). Her reasons for leaving all seemed sound enough at first, but she just kept going over the same things over and over again and I just didn’t care anymore. What do I want? Why am I feeling like this? What’s the answer? etc. The screenplay was just too heavy on the pondering and it all became such a chore to listen to. Also her love affair with everything on her travels was nauseating (it’s just pasta and tomato—it’s not life changing). Honestly I just didn’t want to have this woman as a travel companion through some pretty great looking locations.
Thankfully the supporting cast were a little more enjoyable. James Franco threw out his usual charms, Richard Jenkins was quite a bit of fun, Billy Crudup proved once again he should be in way more movies, and Javier Bardem doesn’t have to do much to be likable (though I was hoping for his character to go all Anton Chigurh in places, just to break the monotony of Julia’s life ponderings).
I guess it’s intentional, but Eat Pray Love has such a romantised look to it that the entire transfer becomes sort of hazy and soft as opposed to really showing off the locations of its character's travels. There’s plenty of detail on offer, locations, textures and the multiple veins on Julia Roberts forehead, but on the whole the image just doesn’t pop like an HD transfer should in a largely naturally lit exterior based movie.
Colours glow quite nicely, skin tones look very natural and there are a handful of shots that jump off the screen but overall Eat Pray Love looks a little bit too below par for a Blu-ray release and doesn’t really sell the exotic location like you’d think it would.
The DTS-HD Master Audio track is okay. Dialogue is clear enough but can get a bit shrill when character get shout (or super whiny) and generally speaking each location has its own unique feel with the atmospherics in the rear speakers. Birds, crowd noise, music or weather all add layers to the audio experience and it’s all well placed and subtle.
The show off element is the music choices on the soundtrack, Neil Young, Eddie Vedder and Josh Rouse tracks all sound stellar in the mix (the Josh Rouse track is used surprisingly well in fact) and for me were really the only moments I found myself enjoying in the entire movie.
As I mentioned before there’s an extended directors cut along with the theatrical cut and the longer cut has optional markers to show the new scenes.
Moving onto the featurettes we have; ‘Ryan Murphy’s Journey with Eat Pray Love’ (04:18 HD), which has the director recounting his connection with the book, ‘The Beginning of the Journey’ (15:25 HD) which is essentially the making of, ‘Praying in India’ (14:41 HD) which looks at the spiritual side of the movie and ‘Finding Balance’ (11:48 HD) which focuses on Bali. Overall these features felt like infomercials on early morning TV—glossy, full of structured statements to make you think about your life and a real sense that at the end it was going to say, all this for a mere £19.99 (plus £7.95 P&P).
Lastly there’s the Eddie Vedder music video for ‘Better Day’ (04:21 HD), trailers for Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Smurfs 3D and The Social Network and the usual BD Live and movieIQ.
Eat Pray Love isn’t the self discovery spiritual travel movie it thinks it is, for this reviewer anyway. Some may take inspiration from this grumpy, over thinking lead character but I just wanted to ditch her and go have some fun that didn’t involve over-analysing every little thing.
The video here is iffy for an HD release, the extras are more of the same life ponderings the movie raises, but the audio track is solid one, thanks largely to the soundtrack. In fact, my recommendation is forget the Eat Pray Love, buy the soundtrack, go on holiday and listen to it on a beach instead.
* Note: The images below 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.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 7th February 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 French, Audio Descriptive Track English
Subtitles: Arabic, Dutch, English, English HoH, Finnish, French, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish
Extras: Featurettes, Music Video, Trailers, BD Live, Movie IQ
Easter Egg: No
Director: Ryan Murphy
Cast: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, Richard Jenkins, James Franco
Genre: Drama and Romance
Length: 145 minutes
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