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Collectorís Series

You donít have to be a Shakespeare scholar to love SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE ($40). However, a general knowledge of the immortal Bardís works is certainly helpful in allowing one to appreciate many of the filmís subtleties. Personally, I found the film to be a wondrous cinematic experience that I highly recommend. Iíve already reviewed the movie only DVD release of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, which is identical to the Collectorís Series release, except for the supplemental content. Since Iíve looked at the film previously, let me direct you to the earlier reviewís more detailed assessment of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, otherwise continue forward with this concise overview of the film.

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is a sly, comic piece of historical fiction from screenwriters Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. The film tells the tale of how a young, brash writer named Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) came to write one of his greatest plays. As the movie opens, Shakespeare is broke and needs to overcome a severe case of writerís block in order to create a new comedy script for his producer Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush). Eventually, Shakespeare finds his muse in the form of Lady Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow). It is through their passionate love affair and time together that Shakespeare is inspired to write the romantic tragedy of Romeo And Juliet. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is a beautifully written and acted film that earned seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress (Paltrow), Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench) and Best Screenplay. The cast of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE also features Ben Affleck, Colin Firth, Simon Callow, Tom Wilkinson, Steve O'Donnell, Tim McMullen, Steven Beard, Antony Sher, Patrick Barlow, Martin Clunes, Sandra Reinton, Imelda Staunton and Rupert Everett in an uncredited cameo.

Miramax Home Entertainmentís Collectorís Series presentation of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is identical to the standard version, offering the very same 16:9 enhanced wide screen transfer found on the other disc. As with the standard release, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE looks phenomenal. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is properly framed at 2.35:1 and the beautifully photographed image is sharp and highly detailed. The filmís ornate sets and exquisite costumes can be fully appreciated, thanks to this marvelous transfer. Colors are rich and vivid, while the filmís flesh tones maintain a very natural appearance. Blacks are accurately rendered and the contrast is excellent throughout. This well authored DVD displays no appreciable signs of digital compression artifacts.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a terrific mix that keeps the filmís wonderful dialogue its primary focus. However, there is good use of all the discrete channels for well-placed sound effects. Additionally, Stephen Warbeckís Oscar winning score is well served by this wonderful mix. A French language soundtrack and English subtitles are also encoded onto the DVD. The interactive menus are attractive, but very basic. Through the menus, one can access the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVDís nice complement of supplements.

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE includes two separate audio commentaries. First, director John Madden delivers an informative and entertaining talk about the film and its production. Maddenís commentary is a must listen for any fan of the film. Second, there is a cast and crewmember commentary that has been edited together from various sources. Participants on the second commentary track include Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Dame Judi Dench, Colin Firth, and Ben Affleck. There is plenty of good information, but not as entertaining as a screen specific commentary that gathers a large cast into one room to talk about a film. The DVD also features Shakespeare In Love And On Film, a "making-of" featurette that runs just slightly over twenty minutes and includes on-camera interviews with cast and crewmembers. Additionally, there is another (far briefer) featurette that takes a look at the filmís Academy Award Winning Costumes. Fans of trailers and television spots shouldnít be too disappointed by the discís inclusion of a single theatrical trailer, as well as twenty-one TV spots. The DVD includes four deleted scenes, three of which could have remained in the body of the film and only seem to have been cut out for time considerations. Filling out the supplements are notes on Shakespeare, as well as other historical figures depicted in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE.

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE is indeed a treasure that film fans will certainly want to own. Both of Miramax Home Entertainmentís DVD presentations are superb, although the Collectorís Series release does offer solid supplements worthy of this Academy Award winning film.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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