Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Secret Life Of Bees Blu-ray Review

The Secret Life Of Bees Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 41.0 GB
Film Rating: PG-13/Not Rated (Theatrical/Extended)

Video
The Secret Life Of Bees comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. Both the theatrical and extended versions of the film are included on this release via seamless branching. The presentation is very beautiful, featuring a top notch transfer. Colors are vivid and rich, while still keeping a natural look. Detail was also quite impressive, from close-ups to wideshots. Black levels were very nice as well. There was one scene that stood out as looking weaker than the overall presentation, but has to do with the scene and not the transfer. This is an impressive presentation, and I was left very pleased. 9.5/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included, and sounds just about right for the type of film that it is. The film doesn't use the surround speakers much, other than a light musical score and a few effects. Dialogue stayed front and center, clear at all times. This track won't amaze, but there was nothing I could find wrong with it. 7/10.

Extras
Commentary with Director/Screenwriter Gina Prince-Bytherwood, Producers Lauren Shuler Donner & Joe Pichirallo, actors Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah (Theatrical version only)

Commentary with Director/Screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood and Film Editor Terilyn Shropshire (Theatrical version only)

Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary) (9:56) (SD)
Adaptation: Bringing The Secret Life of Bees to the Big Screen (12:33) (HD)
The Women and Men of The Secret Life of Bees (16:24) (HD)
Inside the Pink House with Sue Monk Kidd (10:13) (HD)
Beekeeping 101 (7:33) (HD)
Life on the Set (9:06) (HD)
The World Premiere (3:29) (SD)

Extras are quite nice on this release, particularly the featurettes. They include discussion about the cast from the director as well as the cast, an in-depth tour of the pink house used in the film, a real look at beekeeping, as well as just neat information about making the film and why they filmed where they did. I listened to a bit of each commentary track, and found the first to be a lot more entertaining. It was great to hear the opinions and thoughts from all those involved in the film. We also get both cuts of the film, this is certainly a nice package. 7/10.

Blu-news Summary
The Secret Life Of Bees is a beautiful and touching film, one that is not too common in Hollywood today. The cast is absolutely fantastic, featuring some amazing performances from Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, and Dakota Fanning. You could really connect to the characters, and truly feel their joy and their grief. This film may not be for everyone, but it certainly has a lot of heart.

The Blu-ray release is very nice, featuring nice upgrades from DVD in every section. We get a top notch video presentation, a good audio track, as well as a bunch of interesting extras. What more could you ask for? The Secret Life Of Bees on Blu-ray is 'Highly Recommended.'

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