Lady Jane

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Let’s face it, most movies about English nobility (except for those by Mr. Shakespeare) aren’t really that interesting.  Sure, movies like Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth come to mind, but they’re well-acted and show somewhat of a “fresh” sense of how life used to be.  Is this the case with Lady Jane?  Well, yes and no.  While the movie, good as it may be, just seems to be focused on more of a historical perspective.  There are those out there who are fascinated with the entire English system of government, especially the way it used to be; but there are those (like me) who could really care less.  What Lady Jane attempts to do is provide an accurate historical representation of the very brief period (nine days) when Lady Jane ruled England.  Still, the movie might best be remembered as a launching pad for two very young actors, Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes.  This was the perfect role for them and both have become well-established stars.

I’ll attempt to try to describe the plot without giving anything away, though its pretty historically accurate, so if you don’t want to sit through the 141 minutes, then pick up an old history book!  But, in a nutshell, here it is.  Just a few years after the death of Henry VIII, England now finds it is ruled by Edward VI (a very sickly person, physically).  The Duke of Northumberland learns of the ill-fated King, he orchestrates a coup that will eventually allow Mary (who is a devout Catholic) to not be in charge. Mary, being the Catholic she is, would use her newfound power to to negate everything that the Protestant Reformation had gained. To do this, Lady Jane Grey must marry the Duke’s son. Everything seems to work, but instead of being somewhat of a lame duck in her newfound position of power, she instead strides to institute some bold financial and social reforms. Most notably, she restores land to farmers who lost their only property during the reformation. While this isn’t the most exciting movie of our time, it’s well-made and for fans of this genre, all should be pleased with it.

Video: How does it look?

Shown in it’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Lady Jane isn’t one that will be a reference disc for you to show off your HDTV. The colors appear very muted and muddy throughout and some grain is evident in most every scene during the course of the film. The color palette is very muted, with many browns and grey colors providing most of the atmosphere. While the benefit of 16:9 enhancement certainly helped this transfer, it still has a long way to go. While not totally unwatchable, it isn’t the best either.

Audio: How does it sound?

Only a Dolby Surround track is present here, and as one might imagine, this isn’t a movie that’s really heavy on audio. While the soundtrack does resonate through the speakers from time to time, the mono surrounds seem to have a kind of dry and brittle effect to them. Dialogue, what drives the movie, sounds clean and natural. If you’re looking for a great-sounding track, this isn’t it. Then again, it’s not meant to be.

Supplements: What are the extras?

A photo gallery is included as the lone supplement.

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