Blu-Ray Review: ‘Atonement,’ ‘Pride & Prejudice’ Perfect Fits For HD

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CHICAGO – Sometimes catalog titles are pulled from the vaults and given the HD upgrade for tie-in reasons that are obvious, but why now for Joe Wright’s “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement”? Is it because “Atonement” breakthrough star Saoirse Ronan is appearing in “The Lovely Bones”? Did they sense thematic tie-in with the same Tuesday’s release of “Bright Star”? Whatever the reason, these are two underrated dramas, a pair of the most luscious period pieces of the last ten years and both look remarkable in 1080p. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Joe Wright may have stumbled a bit with “The Soloist,” but his first two directorial efforts are both well worth the time, a good movie followed by a great one. The good, “Pride & Prejudice” may fall a little short largely due to superior versions of this often-told story but it features some of Keira Knightley’s best career work and amazing technical elements including a gorgeous score from the wonderful Dario Marianelli, which sounds great with Blu-ray sound.

Atonement was released on Blu-ray on January 26th, 2010.
Atonement was released on Blu-ray on January 26th, 2010.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures Home Video

His score for Wright’s follow-up, “Atonement,” is quite simply one of the best of the ’00s (it deservedly one the Oscar, the Best Picture nominee’s only Academy Award) and the film was drastically underrated in a year where the overall quality of awards season contenders made it easy to overlook what was deemed another stuffy period piece. History will be very, very kind to 2007, the best overall year of the ’00s, but the list of daring films includes “Zodiac,” “No Country For Old Men,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Michael Clayton,” “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” and “Once” - none of them British period pieces.

Pride and Prejudice was released on Blu-ray on January 26th, 2010.
Pride and Prejudice was released on Blu-ray on January 26th, 2010.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures Home Video

If “Atonement” came out in many other years, it would have been more openly received. Based on one of the best novels of the decade by the amazing Ian McEwan, “Atonement” is challenging storytelling brought to life by a remarkably talented cast and crew. Both Saoirse Ronan and Romola Garai made memorable debuts and James McAvoy delivered the performance of his young career, but “Atonement” is, first and foremost, a stunningly beautiful film to look at. The cinematography by Oscar nominee by Seamus McGarvey was arguably the best of the year and a great fit for Blu-ray owners who appreciate a pretty picture.

“Pride & Prejudice”

Synopsis: “Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley stars in the greatest love story of all time. When Elizabeth Bennet (Knightley) meets the handsome Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfayden), she believes he is the last man on earth she could ever marry. But as their lives become intertwined, she finds herself captivated by the very person she swore to loathe for all eternity. Jane Austen’s masterpiece novel comes to the screen in the film critics said “makes you believe in true love and happily-ever-after” (Stephen Holden, The New York Times).”

Special Features:

o Conversations With the Cast
o Jane Austen: Ahead of Her Time
o A Bennet Family Portrait
o HBO First Look: Pride & Prejudice
o The Politics of 18th Century Dating
o The Stately Homes of Pride & Prejudice
o Feature Commentary With Director Joe Wright


Synopsis: “From the award winning director of Pride & Prejudice comes a stunning, critically acclaimed epic story of love. When a young girl catches her sister in a passionate embrace with a childhood friend, her jealousy drives her to tell a lie that will irrevocably change the course of all their lives forever. Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley and James McAvoy lead an all star cast in the film critics are calling “the year’s best picture” (Thelma Adams, US Weekly).”

Special Features:

o Deleted Scenes
o Bringing The Past To Life: The Making Of
o From Novel To Screen: Adapting A Classic
o Feature Commentary With Director Joe Wright

‘Pride & Prejudice’ is released by Universal Pictures Home Video and stars Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Tom Hollander, Jena Malone, and Judi Dench. It was written by Deborah Moggach and directed by Joe Wright. It was released on Blu-ray on January 26th, 2010. It is rated PG.

‘Atonement’ is released by Universal Pictures Home Video and stars James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Romola Garai, Saoirse Ronan, and Vanessa Redgrave. It was written by Christopher Hamption and directed by Joe Wright. It was released on Blu-ray on January 26th, 2010. It is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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Pride & Prejudice

The BBC version of Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehrle beats the pants off this version!

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