Plot: What’s it about?
I remember hearing the news of the crash that claimed the life of Princess Diana. It happened on August 31, 1997. Back then I (and I imagine most households) only had Dial-Up internet, but the news channels were all over it. I can only imagine how fast the news would spread in the even faster paced world we’re in today. Regardless, it was certainly a big shock. What’s also shocking (or maybe not depending on your expectations) is just how little of an impression this film makes. I don’t need to point out the vast positive contributions of Princess Diana, but after watching such a mediocre film I think the filmmakers need to be reminded. Naomi Watts plays Diana in what is ultimately only an average performance. She doesn’t really inhibit the characteristics of the real Diana in many way. I am forgiving of this, but the film? Not so much. I would never think a movie based on Diana would be so very boring. The focus here isn’t so much on her life, but her affair with Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews), a heart surgeon from Pakistan. There are so many ways to approach a biopic like this, but to settle on a romance angle seems strange especially considering what else they could’ve done. But still, sometimes we have to critique a film for what it is, not what it could have been. Sadly, it’s not a very great one by any stretch.
In 2013 we had two other biopics – Jobs and Lovelace. I bring these two up because, they too only skimmed the surface of the subjects at hand. I got more enjoyment from the two previously mentioned films than I did with Diana, but only because they focused more on their overall lives and not just one affair during the two years of Diana’s life. Jobs didn’t give an entire capsule of Steve Job’s life, but at least it had energy to it. I still have issues with that film, but I was never bored with it. The same can be said of Lovelace, a better film about Linda Lovelace can still be made, but again, I was at least entertained by it. We’re offered only snippets of Diana’s efforts to rid the world of landmines, but before we know it, the film is back to the affair. We see Diana having to scurry around to try and keep things a secret (often hiding in cars or wearings wigs).There might be some who are more interested in Diana’s affair than I, but the film has little energy and left me with nothing (other than a sigh of relief when it was finally over). I must admit – going into Diana that I wasn’t expecting much, but the film failed to meet even my lowest expectations. Skip it.
Video: How’s it look?
I didn’t like the film, but the transfer is first-rate. There’s a nice clean overall look to it. The print is pristine with nice strong colors and even flesh tones. Background shots show solid details with no distortion at all. The image is AVC encoded with a 1.85:1 ratio. I don’t want to give off the impression that this is a flashy transfer (it isn’t), but it never let me down. There were no print flaws or other distractions that I could detect. This is a solid transfer to accompany the film.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS 5.1 track presents the film appropriately, but is not overly active. This is not meant as a flaw as the film is more dialogue-driven, but the rear channels do kick in on occasion. There’s a good bit of bass throughout some scenes and that obviously boosts the overall track. Vocals were clear and audible, and spread evenly across the front channels. There’s some nice background noise with some of the paparazzi in a few scenes as well. This track is a nice companion to the film.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Interviews – We get interview snippets with the cast and crew. There’s no “Play All” option, sadly, but they are broken into 8 parts. There’s some decent information here, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking. A documentary on Diana would’ve been most welcome.
- Booklet – This release includes a photo booklet about Diana’s fashion. This is packaged inside the case.