Under The Tuscan Sun Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- Region: A (B? C?)
- Rating: PG-13
- Run Time: 113 Mins.
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
- List Price: $20.00
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(All Blu-rayDefinition.com screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Under The Tuscan Sun tells the story of recently divorced writer Frances Mayes (Diane Lane; Secretariat), while she travels on a ten-day trip to Tuscany. Once there, essentially taken in by the beautiful landscapes, she decides to buy an aging villa. Fully embracing her newfound life and friends, she soon finds her life that is beginning again, this time with unexpected laughter, surprises, and, quite possibly, new romance. What results is a charming little film, mostly highlighted by the beautiful scenery.
While the subject matter of Under the Tuscan Sun won’t necessarily appeal to everyone, the film works on a few different levels. First off, Diane Lane turns in a fine performance. We recognize (and can relate) to her struggles of a recent divorce, and of wanting to essentially kick start her life again. Perhaps more so because I’ve always wanted to travel there, I still find the scenery in the film to be absolutely beautiful. There’s just something overly relaxing about watching the outdoor sequences in this film. It’s almost kind of like one can close their eyes and just imagine being there. This all but helps to make Sun a far better film that I had originally ever thought it could be.
Shot using Panavision Cameras, this 1:85:1 aspect ratio, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer, doesn’t look as impressive as I had expected. Having seen the DVD version of this film numerous times, I will say that colors (particularly exterior shots) do hold better results; however, darker, dimly lit interiors lose a great amount of detail. Contrast levels do seem a bit washed out during the aforementioned interior sequences. Once Frances arrives in Tuscany, the transfer is given some more breathing room. There’s also a fine layer of film grain that has remained, as well as a bit of noise in some of the sequences. Truthfully, I’d have to say this is one of the more inconsistent Disney efforts in recent times.
Arriving with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, this mix fares better than the aforementioned video. Dialogue is well reproduced throughout, with no instance of drop out. Atmosphere, during the initial moments, is a bit subdued mostly relying on a more front heavy mix. Akin to the transfer, once we move to Tuscany, the mix tends to open up a bit. Little effects like that of background dialogue, people hustling by, cars move, wind blowing, all but help to create a sense of us being right in the middle of this beautiful place. LFE is fairly quiet, only occasionally giving us a slight ‘oomph’ when called upon by the score. All in all, this track suits the film well.
The included supplements are featured in High Definition:
- Deleted Scenes – Here we get 3 deleted scenes, totaling a few minutes in length.
- Tuscany 101 – This roughly 10 minute features an interview with Lane and Director Audrey Wells as they speak on themes covered in the film.
- Audio Commentary with Director Audrey Wells
The Definitive Word
While Under the Tuscan Sun isn’t a perfect film, I still found myself enjoying the story presented here thanks in part to the beautiful locales featured throughout. Touchstone/Disney’s Blu-ray features a serviceable technical presentation, with ported DVD features. Fans of the film will definitely want to grab this title for their collection, while everyone else can add this one to their rental queue.
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