Emma (UK - BD RB)
Marcus's next Miramax review has him Jane Austening it up with Gwyneth...
Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) thinks herself a romantic matchmaker. After a marriage she takes the credit for, she sets out to continue her streak of bringing her friends together but sometimes meddling with other people's affairs can prove problematic and in the process Emma may actually find her own romantic connection.
I'm sorry all you Jane Austen fans out there but this stuff is lost on me. I tried my best to get through the Englishness of it all and the coy conversations and the playfulness of relationships but somehow these period romantic comedies always fail to trigger the softie in me and generally wind up just annoying.
Obviously I'm no expert on the genre but Emma feels decidedly under par. Costumes feel more like they're made for panto than the period setting and somehow I even found a lot of the English accents more grating that charming. Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma just isn't all that likeable in my view and because of that I found this one a real struggle to get through. Of course I did for the sake of this review but rather than further offend any lovers of the period drama out there lets jump onto the how the A/V stacks up.
Well another Miramax title, another mess of a video presentation. It's just the same story as The Talented Mr Ripley and The Quiet American. A super soft image that must rival the original DVD release, the constant grain (some of which dances in corners) dirt and general grubbiness kills any sort of HD highlight and really it's only the colours here than shine. They are by no means stunning or leaping off the screen but Emma is quite a colourful film with many of the sets having pastel yellows or lilacs, rich oranges and all those summertime colours that would look fantastic in a good transfer.
Unfortunately this isn't a good transfer, the image is far too dark and even the brightest summer's day looks dull and washed out. There's a total lack of sharpness, a total lack of detail and a sense that the movie hasn't been given any love at all for its HD release which kills any elements that deserved to shine. This is another Miramax release that just winds up being woefully under prepared for a HD release and this pattern that's forming in my Miramax marathon is disheartening as the best movies of the batch are next up.
The 2.0 track is relatively strong and offers two or three layers at its most lively. Dialogue, ambience and fluffy score all fill the track effectively and while the movie never reaches for anything beyond the twee, the audio here does it well even with its stereo limitations.
The only extra here is a trailer (01:51 SD).
Emma is about as twee as English period dramas come and despite trying my hardest to like something about the film I just can't hide my dislike of it and all its false feeling playfulness. As for the disc, these Miramax titles seem to be getting worse. Horrid video, a measly stereo audio track and no extras beyond a trailer. Here's hoping my last three biggies ( The English Patient, City of God and The Aviator) turn things around.
* 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.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable for all
Release Date: 19th September 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo English
Easter Egg: No
Director: Douglas McGrath
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cosmo, Greta Scacchi
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 201 minutes
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