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Movie: Picture: Sound: Extras:
And if my opinion is worth anything, it's hard to think of a more enjoyable two hours than to sit and watch this gentle, delightful, drama.
A large part of it is the great cast, including Colin Firth as the King in question and as his wife Helena Bonham Carter in a relatively conventional role. She delivers this with what seems to be just the right balance of upper-class expectation, and heart. Normally she plays weirdos.
The video presentation of this movie raises a question that is altogether too frequent: why do they do it? And, no, 'doing it' isn't seeming to harm the picture in any way. It looks to be presented very accurately, without noticable compression artefacts or loss of detail, and without filtering to remove grain. I saw this movie at the cinema, and the Blu-ray is identical, to the best of my recollection.
But, nonetheless, Paramount has made decisions which raise doubts. They have delivered this movie with an average video bitrate of just under 20Mbps, yet left more than 15GB of the dual layer disc unused. Why not give it 30Mbps? Then we could be absolutely confident that the compression in no visible way degraded from picture quality. The space was there on the disc, unused for anything else.
Still, I was happy with the picture quality, and with the sound quality. The audio quality is established in the first few minutes of the movie, with the future King's stutters and stumbles echoing through an enormous PA, incoherently and encompassingly. There isn't too much of this, though. Most of the movie is pretty talkie, so there isn't much need to use surrounds.
The special extras are all over the place on a technical level. The video standards are 1080i50, 1080i60, 1080p24 and 576i60, and the sound is variously Dolby Digital and LPCM. Not that it matters, but it does demonstrate the range available on Blu-ray. The one that most impressed me was an audio recording of the first speech of World War II by King George VI. This is the actual speech which constitutes the climax of the movie. My goodness, did the movie makers get it so, so right!
The following video bitrate graph was generated by BDInfo 0.5.7: