SRP$34.95 1.85:1 PCM 5.1 BUENA VISTA
 
SRP $29.98 1.85:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 BUENA VISTA
 

"THE QUEEN" took this reviewer completely by surprise. Sure, it received critical acclaim everywhere, but it seemed possible this was more of a "CHARIOTS OF FIRE" type of acclaim wherein one was made to feel bad for not loving it. Having finally seen the film, ...it's really that good! Helen Mirren is fantastic in the lead role, completely living the part.  Focusing around the time of Princess Diana's death, "THE QUEEN" brilliantly reveals the complexities of British society, media, a naive public and the way they all play against one another.  Queen Elizabeth II is an intriguing character as the viewer realizes how out of touch she is with the world in one scene, but how important her virtues are when juxtaposed against modern culture in another scene. The entire supporting cast is great, even if they don't inhabit the roles like Mirren does.  The direction is also slick and the script, perfect!

BUENA VISTA has provided a 1080p 1.85:1 transfer. While there are few scenes that pop off the screen, the image is pleasing throughout.  Colors are solid and detail is extremely sharp. There are some grainy moments in darker moments, but these are few and far between. The quality of image really stands out in outdoor and brightly lit moments. In comparison to the dvd, the image is noticeably superior in scene after scene. While the standard dvd is ok, it lacks the crispness found in the blu-ray. The dvd comes across much softer than the blu-ray and detail is hindered greatly in darker scenes in comparison to the blu-ray as well. Colors are also more subdued on the dvd version.

BUENA VISTA has provided a PCM 5.1 mix for the Blu-ray.  There's not any discernible difference between the PCM 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 found on the dvd.  Both offer separation effects focused on the front soundstage, while surround use is limited.  Not an aggressive mix, nor needing to be, "THE QUEEN" is enthralling anyway. Discrete effects are used with impact during a few key sequences. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.

BUENA VISTA has carried over the extras from the dvd for the BLU-RAY, including a great commentary with Director Steven Frears.  A 2nd commentary is also included, but not as intriguing. A featurette is also included.