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Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • W.E. is visually stunning but lacks focus, best enjoyed as a rental despite strong Blu-ray quality.

    W.E. Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • W.E. arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p transfer that's steady yet slightly washed out. It features a muted color palette with occasional vibrancy, washed-out black levels, pasty skin tones, but strong fine detail and a film-like texture.

  • Audio
  • W.E.'s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack impresses with rich, natural sound, well-spaced music, and accurate dialogue. It shines in technical execution, pleasing audiophiles with its balance and authenticity.

  • Extra
  • The 'W.E.' DVD includes a 22:36 min supplement on its making with insights from cast/crew on story, history, characters, casting, costumes, and Madonna's direction, plus DVD and digital copies.

  • Movie
  • Madonna's directorial debut, W.E., ambitiously interweaves historical and modern love stories but falters in pacing and depth, despite visual splendor.

    Video: 59

    The Blu-ray presentation of "W.E." offers a poignant visual experience with a 1080p transfer that, while intentionally leaning towards a desaturated and toned-down color palette, manages quite well to encapsulate the film's aesthetic intentions. The movie's deliberate choice for a colder, blue-gray heavy spectrum, interjected occasionally by brighter hues, especially in scenes involving greenery, underscores its thematic gravitas. However, this choice has resulted in black levels that often appear washed out, and skin tones that can come across as pasty and lacking in vibrance. Despite these color decisions, the video quality doesn't falter in delivering finely detailed visuals where it counts.

    In terms of definition and clarity, this Blu-ray does not shy from impressing with its crisp presentation of complex facial features, fabric textures, and intricate backgrounds. The fine detail captured reveals a commendable depth and preciseness, contributing significantly to the immersive viewing experience. Moreover, the film is graced with a light grain presence that enhances its cinematic quality without compromising the sharpness of the image. This subtle filmic texture ensures that "W.E." retains its intended visual narrative style, even when translated to the home cinema format.

    Technical imperfections such as banding or blocking are thankfully minimal in this transfer, indicating a well-executed digital encoding process. The overall handling of the film's muted aesthetic by the Blu-ray serves to reinforce the directorial vision without sacrificing the integrity of visual details. While some viewers might find the color palette choices and the resultant impact on black levels and skin tones slightly off-putting, the strength of the visual details and the clean, film-like texturing are definitely praiseworthy aspects of this release.

    Audio: 59

    The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack of "W.E." is a commendable audio presentation that excels in immersing viewers in its vibrant and emotive soundscape. With every scene, the soundtrack unfolds with a clarity and richness that meets the high expectations associated with lossless audio. The soundscape is spread out with precision, creating a genuinely enveloping experience. Particular highlight sections such as chapter eight and chapter eleven—where the auction/dance montage occurs—showcase an impressive depth, with music that possesses a strong, well-balanced low end and displays tremendous raw energy that's both vigorous and sonically harmonious.

    Attention to detail in the soundscape's construction allows for an array of ambient sounds to enhance the viewing experience subtly but effectively. From the distinct ring of a telephone to the ambient murmur of a crowded auction house, every background noise contributes to the authenticity and atmospheric depth of the film. Furthermore, dialogues are delivered with impeccable smoothness and consistency, mainly anchored through the center channel, ensuring that conversations are always clear and discernible amidst the comprehensive auditory experience.

    Such meticulous care in the audio track’s crafting guarantees that while it may not immediately astonish in sheer spectacle, it achieves a sophisticated level of technical excellence. The execution is precise, catering to audiophiles who appreciate nuanced sound design. The soundtrack of "W.E." not only supports but elevates the cinematic narrative, showcasing how finely-tuned audio can play a pivotal role in the overall movie-watching experience without needing to constantly seek the limelight.

    Extra: 29

    The Blu-ray release of "W.E." offers a modest but enriching suite of extras, predominantly anchored by the comprehensive making-of documentary, "The Making of 'W.E.' Featuring Madonna." This featurette delves deeply into the film's dual narrative structure, unearthing the historical context and inspirations behind the intertwined stories. It gives viewers an exclusive look behind the scenes, discussing aspects from casting to costume design, and from actors' preparations to the selected filming locations. Madonna's role as director is highlighted, offering insights into her vision and direction for the film. The inclusion of DVD and Digital Copy discs adds value for those seeking flexibility in how and where they watch the movie. Although the extras are limited, they are markedly detailed and provide a significant look into the creation of "W.E.," making it a worthwhile addition for collectors and fans alike.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • The Making of 'W.E.' Featuring Madonna: An in-depth documentary exploring the production of the film, including insights from cast and crew.

    Movie: 44

    Madonna's directorial effort, W.E., a film about the infamous love affair between Wallis Simpson and King Edward, is a visually stunning piece that attempts to tread the fine line between historical narrative and modern-day romantic drama. While the film boasts an admirable polish, evoking the grandeur of period pieces with its meticulous attention to detail and splendid cinematography, it ultimately struggles to find its narrative footing. The sluggish opening and clunky pacing, particularly in its handling of the dual timelines, make for a disjointed viewing experience. These structural issues detract from an otherwise beautifully rendered cinematic offering, highlighting Madonna's potential as a filmmaker despite the film's shortcomings in storytelling coherence.

    The plot intertwines the troubled life of Wally Winthrop, played by Abbie Cornish, with the historical romance of Wallis and Edward. Despite the promising premise and Cornish's compelling performance, the film falls short in fully fleshing out its characters, resulting in a somewhat superficial exploration of their complexities. This lack of depth is exacerbated by the awkward transitions between the past and present narratives, which fail to knit a seamless thematic tapestry or evoke a strong emotional resonance with the audience. Furthermore, the film seems to languish in its own aesthetic beauty without delving into the profound implications of its subject matter, leaving the audience at a remove from the on-screen events rather than intimately engaged.

    In conclusion, W.E. is a work that showcases Madonna’s nascent directorial flair, particularly in visual storytelling and conceiving a lavish mise-en-scène. Yet, the endeavor to merge a historical epic with contemporary drama results in a fragmented film experience that, despite its stellar production values and commendable performances, stumbles in its execution. As it stands, W.E. could have benefitted from focusing on either story to provide the necessary depth and emotional impact that such a tale warrants.

    Total: 49

    W.E., directed by the pop legend Madonna, makes a bold attempt to etch its mark in the period Drama/Romance genre, and while setting aside any biases related to Madonna's primary career might benefit viewers, the film struggles to maintain a coherent thematic structure throughout its duration. It presents itself as a tapestry with too many threads, never fully weaving them into a single, compelling narrative. This lack of focus suggests that the film might have been more successful had it been split into two separate narratives. Despite its narrative shortcomings, W.E. is visually striking, featuring excellent cinematography that showcases Madonna’s capabilities as a director. However, its aesthetic strengths cannot entirely compensate for its failures in story cohesion and depth.

    The Blu-ray release of W.E. by Anchor Bay is commendable for its technical achievements. It boasts an excellent video presentation that does justice to the film’s visual appeal, along with strong audio quality that immerses viewers in the cinematic experience. Unfortunately, the release is somewhat marred by its scant offering of extras, containing only one supplemental feature. This lack of additional content may deter potential buyers looking for an in-depth exploration of the film’s production, leaving the Blu-ray more appealing to those solely interested in the feature film.

    In conclusion, while the Blu-ray release of W.E. delivers an outstanding visual and auditory experience, it falls short in offering a comprehensive package that complements the feature film. The movie itself, despite its stylistic beauty and ambitious direction by Madonna, struggles with pacing and a fragmented narrative. Potential viewers and buyers should weigh the importance of technical presentation against the desire for narrative cohesion and supplemental materials before making a purchase. For fans unconcerned with behind-the-scenes context or who are primarily focused on the aesthetic aspect, this Blu-ray may be a worthy addition to their collection. Others might consider renting before making a commitment to buy.