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W.E. Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + 1 x Digital Copy)
  • Run Time: 119 Mins.
  • Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment/The Weinstein Company
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 1, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

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Purchase W.E. on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:1.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:1.5/5]

Oh, gawd, why is Madonna writing and directing a film about what many consider the greatest love story of the 20th century? In truth, W.E. isn’t quite a straightforward film about the two-time divorcee Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) since the story intertwines with a modern one of one fictional Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish), but it may have been better off if it were. A painfully dull and misguided look at love gone wrong or, rather, women trapped in abusive relationships, Madonna, who took to the director’s chair for the second time here and co-wrote with Alek Keshishian, is obviously working through her own personal relationship demons here, but she is out of her element.

The screenplay is burdened with stifling, stilted dialogue that is just as bad as Madonna’s acting, obviously her will was imposed quite heavily on this script. Not too far into this disastrous melodrama, we know things are bad as Wally, obsessed with the story of Wallis Simpson, stands over a phonograph record at Sotheby’s as it plays. A flashback to Wallis dancing with Edward while he is still the Prince introduces us to their early romance. Not a bad sequence at all, but suddenly we are back to Wally and she is being tapped on the shoulder by a security guard being asked to leave; it’s closing time. “I’m sorry, I was daydreaming” Abbie Cornish breathes out like she’s delivering Shakespeare in a high school play. Kill me now.

The saving grace in the direction is that Madonna found a marvelous cinematographer in Hagen Bogdansk (Case 39) who was able to capture the beauty of the period pieces and the contemporary story seamlessly, even if the overall style and feel of this film is no more than three films badly patched together, The King’s Speech, Julie & Julia, and My Week with Marilyn.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Produced in a combination of 16 and 35mm film, W.E. Doesn’t always have the strongest sense of detail and is often rather soft and grainy. Its ethereal color palette also doesn’t provide much “pop” and dimensionality and overall contrast seem a bit limited overall. Still, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of compression artifacts or post-processing issues here to make anything look unnatural.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is a straightforward mix that doesn’t do much at all to add any demarcation between the two periods the film focuses on and has very limited atmospherics in the surround channels. Dialogue is clean and intelligible, but there is little in the way of low frequencies.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

A typical making-of featurette in which the stars and crew fawn over their creation is offered up standard definition.

  • The Making of W.E. Featuring Madonna (1.78:1; SD; 00:22:36)
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:2.5/5]

A misguided attempt at tackling the story of a great romance and wrapping it up into abusive relationships, Madonna drains the life and soul out of what could have been an epic biopic, misses all the details, and “borrows” to put it kindly, heavily from a lot of better films. Skip this one.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B0059XTV7Q[/amazon-product]

Purchase W.E. on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:1.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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