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The Young Victoria(2009)
The early years of the monarch Queen Victoria's rule and her legendary romance and marriage to Prince Albert. Caught in a power struggle with her closest advisors, the young and inexperienced queen draws strength from the handsome prince whose love and affection has stolen her heart.
For more about The Young Victoria and the The Young Victoria Blu-ray release, see the The Young Victoria Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 27, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
» See full cast & crew
The Young Victoria Blu-ray Review
It's old hat for Sony, but 'The Young Victoria' is another stunner of a release.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 27, 2010
I prayed for the strength to meet my destiny.
Few films enjoy such a broad appeal that every demographic will find in them something of value; many movies easily fall into various predefined categories that classify what sort of audience will embrace the picture and which others will ignore its release. No other genre may be so easily categorized as the Period Romance. While there are always exceptions to most every cinematic rule, it may be generally held true that many of those Action/Sci Fi buffs eagerly awaiting the release of Robert Rodriguez's Predators; Horror buffs that can't wait for the yearly Saw spectacle; Comedy lovers that are first in line for the latest from Judd Apatow; or sports fans that watch Rudy on a loop; probably aren't going to bat an eyelash when something like The Young Victoria pops up on the multiplex marquee, and that's all right. Constructed with a specific and highly-demanding audience in mind, Costume Dramas and Period Romances cater to the fairer sex that demand not only lush and historically-accurate costume and set design but also somewhat historically-correct love stories of the greatest kind, where feelings and passion conquer the rigid world of the past, where regal convenience and familial stature always seemed to stand in the way of the most base of human emotions.
The young would-be Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt, Sunshine Cleaning) lives a terribly sheltered life; her royal lineage -- she's the niece of King William IV -- and status as heir to the throne prevents her from attending school with her peers, eating her food without it first being sampled by another, or even descending a flight of stairs without adult aid and supervision. As she's prepared for her ascendency to the throne, Prince Albert of of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Rupert Friend, Pride & Prejudice) is groomed to become her future husband, trained to recognize and appreciate all that Victoria finds stimulating in life in an effort to ease their introduction and increase the chances of marriage. Her courtship with Albert is amiable and develops with time, time that sees Victoria prepare to realize her destiny as the Queen of England upon William's death, a position for which she's been long groomed but ultimately finds herself unprepared. Victoria is forced in the meantime to fend off those that would hope to seize the opportunity to use her inexperience and age to their advantage in gaining control of the Empire through regent rule should William pass before Victoria reaches the appropriate age of ascendancy. As love blossoms and an Empire finds itself in need of a Queen, Victoria searches for her place in life not in the regal halls of British history but in the freedom she finds within the arms of the man that could be her one true love.
If there's one surefire way to earn an Oscar Nomination, it's through the competent and lavish construction of a British Period Costume Drama. Since 2006, the four winners of the "Best Achievement In Costume Design" Oscar -- Marie Antoinette, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Duchess, and The Young Victoria -- have all shared that common trait, and were all deserving winners. The Young Victoria -- also nominated for Best Achievement in Art Direction and Best Achievement in Makeup -- may ultimately prove to be the best of this bunch in terms of not only its look but the quality of its story and the craftsmanship of the additional intangibles that make a movie a worthwhile endeavor beyond an Oscar-nominated surface. Still, it's hard to watch The Young Victoria without becoming lost in its superficialities. This is nothing short of a gorgeous film; it's abundantly but naturally colorful, and "ornate" only scratches the surface as to just how lush and lavish the film proves to be. There's nothing out of place -- not a stitch in clothing, not a misaligned piece of furniture -- and the regal spectacle is in full bloom in practically every scene. While The picture's set designers, costumers, and makeup artists deserve their accolades, everything fits together thanks to Director Jean-Marc Vallée's (C.R.A.Z.Y.) ability to tie it all together; he and Cinematographer Hagen Bogdanski stylistically take full advantage of the gorgeous pieces with which they have to work, giving the film a large, spacious feel that contrasts nicely with the more intimate moments in the film, all accentuating the splendid artistry that lies before them with every shot, scene, and sequence.
Beyond the stunning achievement that is The Young Victoria's visual flair lies a story worth telling, and one that is, fortunately, well-conceived and executed in this adaptation. Though not a positively mesmerizing picture from a purely thematic perspective, it certainly holds one's interest, and despite the "Period Drama" label, there's little of the excessive stuffiness that often accompanies these sorts of movies. There's a far more natural and organic flow to the movie that allows it to maintain a strong pacing while also taking the time it needs to adequately develop its characters and their situations within the royal power structure, the result a picture that yields plenty of energy while also going through the motions of wading through the deliberateness that's needed to make movies like this work for those audience members that come in with little-to-no understanding of English history, particularly in the Victorian era. The picture focuses on the would-be Queen's early life and her ascent to the throne, capturing both the monumental events of her early life while also showcasing the trials that come with a power struggle where a less experienced ruler is caught in the middle of a dangerous game of high-stakes maneuvering that sees her more as a pawn in Queen's clothing rather than a royal ruler of an Empire. Indeed, The Young Victoria more than once uses the game of chess as a metaphor for the ins-and-outs of young Victoria's reign; players from every side maneuver whilst looking ahead many moves, anticipating, holding back, striking when the time is right not for hers or her nation's interests, but for their own. All the while, Victoria's struggles to lead a fuller and more independent life are met with strife and disapproval, and both the frustration of her early years and, later, her courtship with Prince Albert are wonderfully captured by Emily Blunt in what may be her best performance yet.
The Young Victoria Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Young Victoria rules on Blu-ray with a stunning 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer that's demo-worthy through and through and, more importantly, showcases every little nuance of the picture's meticulous set design and costuming. The picture seems like it was made for high definition, and in every facet -- detailing, coloring, crispness -- it never fails to impress. With a title like The Young Victoria, it's better to watch it than to read about it, simply because nearly every scene brings with it something that stands out from the rest of the film as in some way impressive; the picture sports meticulous detailing, for instance, on everything from human faces to ornate crowns, from flowing gowns to the incredibly textured accents on regal formalwear, from fancy hat brims to the slight creases in pillowcases. Colors, too, positively sparkle; whether bright reds or crisp shades of gold and everything else in The Young Victoria's diverse palette, there's no denying the scrumptiously-colorful and meticulously-rendered colors that light up the screen in nearly every frame. The transfer handles darker scenes marvelously, too; blacks are inky and deep but never overpower the screen or devour surrounding details, though a faint hint of noise is sometimes visible in the darkest recesses of the frame. Flesh tones retain a positive, natural tint throughout, and there's often a very strong sense of depth and space to the image. A very faint layer of grain is retained throughout, rounding out what is a sparkling film-like image. Fan of the movie and its style or not, The Young Victoria is worth watching on Blu-ray for the quality of its 1080p transfer alone.
The Young Victoria Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Nearly matching the stunning picture quality is The Young Victoria's wonderful DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This one's surprisingly active for a Romantic Period Drama, and there's a heft and naturalness to the proceedings that make it a wonderfully immersive listening experience. The track delivers positively seamless atmospherics throughout; exterior scenes in particular are often awash with strong environmental ambience in the form of chirping birds, falling rain, and other like sounds that help in creating a natural and convincing 360-degree atmosphere that's never really broken at any point throughout the movie. There are certainly many quiet and otherwise hushed scenes, but when the track necessarily calls for audibly-perceptible ambience, it's delivered as naturally and succinctly as most any other track out there. The picture's musical cues are wonderfully detailed, pitch-perfect in delivery, each number enjoying a precise and amazingly clear delivery across the front with some rear support. Both the more subtle, breezy notes and the more aggressive and bold classically-inspired pieces shine with pinpoint clarity throughout the entire range. The Young Victoria isn't awash in rumbling bass, but the low end is allowed to stretch its legs several times, each instance delivering, again, a clear and satisfying accompaniment to the overall sonic experience. Completed with steady and accurate dialogue reproduction, The Young Victoria proves to be another sonic winner from Sony.
The Young Victoria Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sony's Blu-ray release of The Young Victoria offers a collection of short extras. Making of 'The Young Victoria' (480p, 5:42) mostly features a collection of static interview pieces with cast and crew speaking on the movie and the history it portrays, intercut with several clips from the film. Lavish History: A Look at the Costumes and Locations (480p, 7:20) also offers interview clips with the cast and crew who this time speak on the painstaking quality of the costumes and sets and how they historically reflect the apparel and furnishings of the period. The Coronation (480p, 2:46) takes a closer look at the attention to detail paid to ensuring that the picture appears as historically accurate as possible, while The Wedding (480p, 2:35) offers a glimpse into Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert. Next up is The Real Queen Victoria (480p, 7:28), another relatively short piece that features cast and crew speaking on the Queen who was Victoria, intercut with footage from the film. Also included is a collection of 17 deleted and extended scenes (480p, 21:38); BD-Live functionality; MovieIQ connectivity; and 1080p trailers for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Hachi: A Dog's Tale, Not the Messiah, Extraordinary Measures, Nine, Michael Jackson's This is It, Dear John, A Knight's Tale, and The Other Boleyn Girl.
The Young Victoria Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
No doubt that The Young Victoria isn't everyone's cup of tea, but of all the Period Costume/Romance Dramas out there, this is one of the better ones. The story is strong, never stuffy, but not spectacular, and while it's overshadowed by the sumptuous costuming and set design, it does recount a worthwhile tale of power, intrigue, and love, each element nicely balanced and making for a movie that enjoys surprisingly strong pacing and, for genre fans, plenty of replay value. Even for those that shy away from these sorts of pictures, The Young Victoria is worth seeing if only for the spectacle of it all; it's grand and visually mesmerizing, proving that a movie need not be constructed within the bowels of a computer to deliver awe-inspiring visuals. Sony's Blu-ray release of The Young Victoria delivers most everything the picture deserves. The 1080p picture quality is top-notch reference-grade material, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack proves to be its match at nearly every turn. Unfortunately, the supplemental content comes up short, but The Young Victoria deserves at least a rental if only to awe at its stunning visuals, but fans of the film and its genre should have no qualms about making a purchase. Recommended.
The Young Victoria Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Young Victoria Blu-ray Announced - March 1, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced The Young Victoria for release on Blu-ray on April 20. This period drama is inspired upon the early years of Queen Victoria (played by Emily Blunt), and her marriage to Prince Albert. It has been nominated to the Academy ...
The Young Victoria Blu-ray Screenshots
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