C. S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins), the renowned author of “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, is a bachelor and Oxford University professor who spends his free time debating with fellow academics at a pub. Although he seems entirely uninterested in love, Lewis agrees to marry Joy Gresham (Debra Winger), an American writer who is looking to secure British citizenship. Their arrangement soon becomes a romance, and, when Joy is diagnosed with terminal cancer, their bond grows even stronger.
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Shadowlands comes to Blu-Ray with a 1080p transfer that is a slight step up compared to other recent Mill Creek releases. The transfer is sourced from a reasonably solid older master provided by Universal Pictures that is more than likely incredibly close to the preexisting Universal release. The master shows few signs of age-related wear and tear, and the transfer looks exceedingly clear and detailed with only a couple of shots exhibiting what would be labeled as excessive noise. The transfer maintains its filmic roots with some fine detail in the production design and texture of clothing.
Colors stand out in a pleasing manner with bright, vivid hues leaping off the screen in different environments. Black levels could deliver a bit more depth and detail in shadows, and you will find a bit of crush. The main knock against this transfer is the poor handling of the encode which displays artifacts that could be alleviated with more care. This is such a visually lovely film that it deserves a fresh master, but the picture we have works for the time being.
Mill Creek Entertainment brings us this new Blu-Ray with a lossless DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio mix that is a mostly pleasing representation of the film. Dialogue holds up quite nicely as the focus of the film, coming though clearly without being stepped on by the music or sound effects. The environmental elements are delineated nicely and given an accurate placement in the mix. The sounds of dining rooms and lecture halls pair with an array of other sounds to bring texture to the world. The movie features a gorgeous score from George Fenton which sounds great within the mix. This audio experience shows no obvious cracks that would disappoint. There are optional English SDH subtitles provided.
- The Garden Valley – Scoring Shadowlands: A surprisingly substantial 19-minute featurette in which composer George Fenton discusses his score, collaborating with Richard Attenborough, the use of choral music, finding the right style of music for different scenes, how this score differs from his previous works and more. Mill Creek does not often put special features on their releases, so this is a treat.
Shadowlands is a thoroughly moving drama which is not afraid to come right up and rip your heart out in the most effective ways. Even with this being the case, the film does not go out of its way to manipulate your emotions. The film naturally builds up your investment in these characters so that each narrative turn holds weight. This is all anchored by some first-rate performances which really tie the movie together. Mill Creek Entertainment has released a Blu-Ray featuring a fairly strong A/V presentation and one legacy special feature. If you are a fan of this film, this release is a budget-friendly release that holds up well. Recommended
Shadowlands is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Mill Creek Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.