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Blu-ray Review: The Other Boleyn Girl

Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 11:20 AM. Last Updated on Friday, June 20th, 2008 4:50 PM by Scott Jentsch

Front Cover ArtworkThe Other Boleyn Girl
Blu-ray
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
115 Minutes

List Price: $38.96 (Check Price at Amazon.com)

Available 6/10/2008

Rated PG-13

Click here for additional movie details, including the full plot summary, cast listing, trailers and videos, photos, reviews of the movie, and links to the official movie web site and more.

 TheatricalThis Disc
Video Format:
Genesis HD Digital
1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio:1.85:1 1.85:1
Audio:

Dolby Digital
DTS Digital
SDDS

Dolby TrueHD

Other: 

BD-50
BD-J

Disc Contents

  • Upfront Ads
    • Blu-ray Promo
  • Movie
  • Extras
    • "Inside The Court" Picture-in-Graphics Track
    • Commentary with Director Justin Chadwick
    • Deleted & Extended Scenes
    • Character Biographies
    • Featurettes
      • To Be a Lady
      • Translating History To Screen
      • Camera Tests with Narration By Director Justin Chadwick
    • BD-Live Content (dynamic content, which may vary)
      • Spotlight
      • Previews
      • My Downloads
      • My Profile
      • FAQ
    • Previews

About the Movie

The ambitions of the Boleyn family in 16th Century Tudor England are borne by the two daughters, who compete for the attention, love, and bed of King Henry VIII. Based on the bestselling book by Philippa Gregory.

How Does it Look?

Sisters and competitors

The visuals on this disc are very good! So good, in fact, that I can't imagine 16th Century England looking this nice, so I suspect the filmmakers decided to give us the romanticized version of England instead.

There is nothing to be unhappy about throughout the movie, as well as the extras that are included. All are done very well from a picture quality standpoint.

How Does it Sound?

I found the sound mix unremarkable. The dialogue was always easy to hear and understand, but there wasn't much on the order of discrete channel usage or much of anything useful in the surrounds. Given that this is a drama, some would say that it is unnecessary to do so, but there are plenty of opportunities in this story to provide a soundfield for immersion into the scenes, all of which go untapped. Given the splendid job done by on the video side of things, the audio side is somewhat disappointing.

Extras

I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was disappointed to find that none was included here.

The deleted and extended scenes add to the enjoyment of the movie, as they flesh out some of the character interactions a little more and tie up some minor loose ends. The character biographies are interesting in that they interview the actor playing the character as well as provide historical background that isn't covered in the movie.

Photo of the Picture-in-graphics track in actionThe Picture-in-graphics track is a feature where the movie plays in a window, while various facts about the characters, locations of the movie, and other interesting facts from history, the book, and the movie. When a fact was not available, the window would expand to full size and then shrink again when the next fact came along. At first, I had trouble navigating the screens, but after doing some experimentation, I was able to figure out how to see a second page of facts vs. going to the next fact.

I liked the fact that you could select the "Next" arrow to skip ahead to the next fact. Doing so would skip the movie forward to the corresponding point in the movie as well. If you find the movie playing distracting while you're reading, you can pause the movie, but you cannot fast forward or rewind while the facts are being displayed.

Two of the three featurettes were interesting to watch. A statement is made during To Be a Lady that it was possibly the worst time in history to be a woman. Given the evidence presented in this featurette, it's hard to argue! Translating History To Screen was interesting as well, as it talked about the approach to the movie and how it differed from the book and historical fact. Sometimes, these types of videos are mostly fluff and uninteresting, and that was not the case with these two.

The third featurette is just a short explanation of the tests they did when choosing to shoot the movie with the Genesis digital cameras, as opposed to traditional film cameras. I'm a bit of a techie, so it was mildly interesting, but I would imagine that most people could pass it over without missing much in their lives.

Now that the title's release date has arrived, I am able to access the BD-Live features on the disc. Previously, attempting to access the BD-Live selection on the Special Features menu just resulted in an error, but now it displays an index page after a brief download from Sony's servers across the Internet. Oddly, the index page must not be cached on our PlayStation 3, as each time I selected the BD-Live menu, load times were the same as the first.

That said, the BD-Live content that is provided to viewers, at least on opening day, is somewhat lackluster. So far, movie studios haven't gone the extra mile to use the online connectivity to innovate the viewer experience.

The BD-Live functionality (as it exists on the release date, anyway) does nothing to extend or enhance the enjoyment of this movie. What is presented here are static ads for upcoming home video and theatrical releases, downloadable previews of home video and theatrical releases in HD and SD resolutions, a survey about what functionality you want in future Blu-ray releases, and the ability to register your disc for unnamed promotional opportunities.

Hopefully, movie studios will begin to push the envelope with this new functionality, and we'll begin seeing some truly compelling content soon.

I did not listen to the Director commentary or watch the previews included on the disc.

Other Aspects

Since this Blu-ray titled is mastered in the BD-J format, it is not possible for our PlayStation 3 and similarly-featured Blu-ray players to auto-resume the movie where you stopped watching it last. Fortunately, this title supports bookmarking, which allows you to mark particular scenes for future reference and choose them for later selection.

I would like an additional feature whereby the title would detect that bookmarks exist on that player and ask you if you wanted to proceed to that bookmark (in the case of a single bookmark) or to the bookmark selection screen (in the case of multiple). I'm not sure if this is possible, but the more I view discs with bookmarks, the more I wish for such a feature.

Conclusion

I've never read the book, and I enjoyed the movie. This title is visually appealing, even if the audio is unspectacular. The extras provided add to the enjoyment of the movie, and if you decide to read every fact in the Picture-in-graphics track, you could spend quite a bit of time with this title. As such, if you're a fan of the book, of English history, and/or of Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, or Eric Bana, this is worth purchasing, especially at Amazon.com's discounted price.

Recommended Reading

Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the disc.

Updated on 6/10/2008 to reflect availability of BD-Live functionality on release date, and to include a photograph of the picture-in-graphics track.

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