Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Education Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 30.4 GB
Film Size: 23.0 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A & C
The Video
An Education comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The movie looks quite good in high-definition, but is still far from the best looking films on Blu-ray. The video presentation is a bit more on the subtle side; detail is good but not spectacular. Colors are also intentionally on the muted side, but once in Paris the colors really come through nicely.

The film features a thin layer of natural grain and is overall a softer a presentation. I’ve watched the film a few times already on Blu-ray and did never come across any technical issues with the presentation. Sony Pictures has provided a healthy presentation that is likely true to the source.

Regardless of being a bit on the softer side, there is still quite an improvement to be had by the Blu-ray release over the DVD. What is a bit disappointing on Blu-ray is even muddier on DVD, so those wanting to own this release should definitely go with the Blu-ray presentation.

While I wish I could say the transfer is extremely beautiful on Blu-ray, I can’t because it just isn’t. That being said, everything appears to be accurate to intention and I could not imagine the film looking much better. The film looked very natural and I think most viewers will be quite pleased by this high-def presentation. 8/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included; no other audio options are included. Subtitle options include English, English SDH and French. I knew that this film was going to be a very subtle surround mix if that based on the film itself and what we get on Blu-ray is quite good.

The film of course is extremely dialogue driven and is presented front and center. The film’s beautiful music comes through clearly as well, mostly in the front left and right speakers, but does expand even more during certain scenes.

There are some moments which I thought could make some great surround use moments, including music performance moments and the dog race. The music scenes in the film such as the orchestra performance and the woman singing in the club came through beautifully and did pay attention to the surround speakers. The dog race was definitely one of the most exciting moments of the mix though, as the race traveled throughout the surround speakers and we definitely got a feel for the environment in which the characters were in.

Overall this is a great track for such a dialogue heavy film. The mix could have sounded lifeless but that is not the case. While the mix won’t necessarily amaze, it certainly is the best I imagined the film sounding. There were no issues I had quality-wise and am more than satisfied by this lossless mix. 8/10.

The Extras

Audio Commentary
With Director Lone Scherfig and Actors Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard.

The Making of An Education (8:59) (SD)
This is one of the weaker making of features I have seen in a long time, featuring very little behind-the-scenes footage and is unfortunately in standard-definition.

Walking the Red Carpet (8:26) (HD)
Footage and interviews from the Hollywood premiere.

Deleted Scenes (16:12) (SD)
Eleven deleted scenes are included and are presented in standard-definition.

Theatrical Trailer (2:25) (HD)

Previews (HD)
Previews are included for many other Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases.

BD-Live Portal
Download the latest trailers for upcoming Sony Pictures theatrical and Blu-ray releases.

The extras included on this release are a bit disappointing, such a good film deserved so much more. The red carpet footage was even better than the making of and the deleted scenes were hard to enjoy due to the lower quality. The audio commentary is quite entertaining though and definitely the highlight of the disc. Hopefully we see a release in the future with many more extras. 4.5/10.

The Movie
An Education is finally on Blu-ray. The movie has traveled from film festival to film festival, including the 2009 Sundance Film Festival which I had the opportunity to attend. The film is one that when I initially saw I had no real idea to expect as I had never heard of the film before. The movie was definitely a smaller production but the story is one of the best of 2009.

The film takes place in England in 1961 and stars Carey Mulligan as Jenny Mellor. Jenny Mellor is a girl that has put a significant priority on education, but also due to the way her parents raised her. She is a smart girl and is always the one raising her hand to answer the questions in class.

Her life seems very much planned out and organized as far as what she wants to do in life, that is until she meets David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard). David quickly charms the young school girl and quickly gets on the good-side of her parents as well.

David is an older man who makes Jenny feel special, takes her to places she could never afford and do things she could never imagine having the opportunity to do. She quickly learns about the many fun things in life that she felt she was missing out on and begins to think that maybe a school education isn’t for her.

The film travels throughout their relationship and gives her a hard and real education on life. Jenny’s story is not something that is new or groundbreaking as it happens to many young adults, all with different consequences and outcomes.

The performances in the film are great and Carey Mulligan’s performance definitely stands out among those of other actresses of 2009. While she did not win an Oscar for her performance, she was nominated and honored with Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Sandra Bullock and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe of Precious.

An Education is a beautiful coming-of-age film that I know many will love if they only give it a chance. An Education is not one which I would label with a target audience, the film is timeless and something that is relatable in the 1960s and to many even current times. I love An Education and is easily one of the best of 2009. 9/10.

The Blu-news Summary
An Education is a beautiful film that everyone should see. The Blu-ray release is good, featuring an accurate video presentation and good audio mix. The extras on this release are what is most disappointing. The film and the high-def presentation help make this one ‘Highly Recommended’ to all.

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