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Anonymous Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2:35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Audio Description Track
  • Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
  • Region: A
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Run Time: 130 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio:  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 7th, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

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BestBuy.com:
Anonymous - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dolby

Purchase Anonymous on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte 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)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Anonymous, from famed disaster director Roland Emmerich, tells a story set in Elizabethan England. A story about writer, author, poet William Shakespeare. Or was he really all these titles? That is the question that Anonymous raises, was William Shakespeare really the mastermind behind plays like Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice to name a few. Or did he have a ghost writer? Mixing in political intrigue, illicit romance and schemes of greedy nobles hungry for more power, Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous is a well executed drama.

Alien invasions, huge tidal waves, the world ending? These are just a few of the descriptions prior to Anonymous that Roland Emmerich was known for. Perhaps that was why I was anticipating this one so much, wondering if Emmerich could make something outside of the big budget disaster film. The end result? Emmerich has succeeded. Due to my literature background, Shakespeare has always fascinated me. The manner in which he was able to create numerous tales that have since brought out so much discussion, is nothing short of amazing. Adding to that discussion is a long held debate over the idea that Shakespeare just may not have written any of the tales we know.

Numerous scholars have written just about everything about the man. The thought that he may have not penned the tales we’ve come to love isn’t necessarily the best part of Anonymous, as any further research can verify that the ghost writer Emmerich claims who wrote the plays in fact could not have psychically written them (after all Edward de Vere died in 1604). It’s not this, but more the manner in which Emmerich crafted the film. The lavish sets, the beautiful score and the performances by all involved help to make this one worth watching for anyone regardless of your background or interest in Shakespeare.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The 2:35:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is excellent. The film’s color palette features the kind of colors that tend to focus on the darker side of the spectrum. Blacks, grays and dark blues dominate the transfer here. Luckily no real detail is lost as these colors look all but amazing. Facial close ups result in accurate flesh tones and contrast levels. Director of Photography Anna J. Foerster has a keen eye in the manner in which she captured Emmerich’s intentions. Whether wide exterior shots of the marvelous set pieces or close glances at the Queen’s face showing every little wrinkle, everything has a kind of subtle tone to it. This is the kind of image that pops off the screen and is something you might demo out. This is the kind of image Sony has become known for in the day-and-date realm. That being the transfer that is just purely splendid and a joy to watch.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The film’s provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is splendid. Dialogue is well reproduced via the center channel, with no instance of drop out, hissing or any other issues. LFE is deep and immersive, in particular during the film’s closing ‘act’. It’s here that the cannon and gun shot effects ring throughout the room, giving us great atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere, this is one of the best 2012 titles I’ve reviewed thus far (yes, I know we’re only 2 months in). Regardless of where you sit in your theater/living room, the film’s sound design places the action and dialogue all around you. Action behind your head, whether dialogue or directional effects like the score by Thomas Wander & Harold Kloser, create a solid 360 sound field that envelopes the viewer into the film. Truly, this is a great effort from all those involved.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

The included supplements are presented in HD.

  • Commentary with Director Roland Emmerich and Writer John Orloff – Most of the time commentaries don’t really do much for me. This one, on the other hand, had me interested from moment one to the finish. Emmerich and Orloff provide a nice, breezy chat that fans of both this film and Shakespeare will want to give a listen to.
  • Deleted Scenes – Here we get a brief 2:54 worth of deleted scenes. While the scenes themselves are quick, they are worth a watch.
  • Who is the Real William Shakespeare? – This runs 10:39 and glances into the thoughts of the cast and crew as to who William Shakespeare actually was.
  • Extended & Alternate Scenes – Two brief (3:29) scenes are shown.
  • Speak The Speech…. – Running 16:14, this shows the thought process that went into casting the film’s critical roles.
  • More Than Special Effects – At 13:08, this features shows how the production team created 16th Century England.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Sony has done it again with their latest day-and-date Blu-ray in Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous. Featuring excellent video and audio, a few solid features and an all-around well made film, this one comes highly recommended, especially for fans of Shakespeare.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B0068MNNOE[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Anonymous - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dolby

Purchase Anonymous on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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