I say first copy, because I’m not sure that Michelle is satisfied with only the UK/Aus/NZ copy. Like me, she might be aiming to buy the
Sunday, 2nd September
Yesterday I had the rare good fortune of strolling into our local video store on a routine hiring mission and stumbling across a treasure. The "Recent Release" poster grabbed my attention immediately. Sitting pretty at the top of the chart was nothing other than Becoming Jane, with a September release date - the FIRST of September!! After doing a little happy dance in the doorway, I promised myself to book the DVD immediately, and pick it up as soon as September rolled into town... (face/palm)
Not two seconds later Becoming Jane was beaming down at me from the shelf, and I was kicking myself for my stupidity! I raced home with an unstoppable grin on my face...
The NZ/Aus Special Features are sparse, but better than nothing! The Special Features are: "On the Set" feature, "Trailer", and "Interviews with Cast and Crew".
The "On the Set" feature is excellent; approximately 25 minutes long with interviews with the Director, Writer (Hood), Choreographer, Costume Designer, and principles (Hathaway, McAvoy, Walters, Cromwell, etc). They covered everything from choreographing the dances, to the mood on set, to the conception of the movie. The short interview clip with Anne and James discussing the "Dancing in Becoming Jane" which has popped up on Youtube is taken from this feature. My two favourite moments were: Anne on James, that she was working not only with an excellent actor, but, "...My God! A future legend!", and James on Julie Walters, "If she were but forty years younger..." Priceless!
The Special Feature trailer was different. It wasn't the
I haven't watched the interviews with the cast and crew yet, which is a cardinal sin.
The DVD itself was stunning, sensational, and everything lovely and charming. The early
My second viewing was a magical as the first, even more so, which is no mean feat. I fell in love with Jane and Tom all over again. (Isn't James McAvoy a revelation?) I also introduced my Mum and Dad to the tale. They loved the film, and thought that the real story was even better. I had a great time filling them in on the history (as we know it) of Tom and Anthony Lefroy and the other players. (Thank you, Icha and team!)
Picture quality and sound receive two thumbs up. Lush and beautiful. One of my favourite scenes in the movie is the aria from The Marriage of Figaro. When I heard it in the theatre I was moved to tears by its haunting beauty. It was the perfect way to seal in the emotions stirred by Tom & Jane's story. I was a little disappointed with the soundtrack version, while at the same time breathing a sigh of relief that it was actually included on the track listing! I think the differences are due to a studio version vs a "live" version with excellent acoustics. I'm not 100% certain about this, as I thought that singing in films is usually dubbed in afterwards, but the acoustics in the Becoming Jane aria scene make me wonder...
Something didn't pick up during my first viewing was that the opening and closing pictures of the film portray a "full circle". In one of the early shots Jane expresses her release of emotions on the piano, and we are silent witnesses, watching from a distance. The end of the film is very similar, with Jane once again expressing herself through music, but with very different emotions. I like to think of the final scenes many years later as a "postscript", linking with the story through the Mozart aria...
This is not unlike the other "full circle" between Tom and Jane's first and last meetings. When we are first introduced to Tom and Jane, he would rather be anywhere else. Don't even mention the reading: "My God, there's writing on both sides of the paper!" His applause is shallow; insincere. But as the film closes, Tom is once again sharing Jane's reading, and this time, his applause is from the heart. Very, very beautiful.
Housekeeping: MAKE SURE YOU LISTEN TO THE CREDIT MUSIC! (It is too gorgeous to overlook!) Ahem. When I turned the DVD off, it was a fitting tribute that the TV flicked over to Emma, which was screening on Sunday Theatre. Such a timely reminder of Jane's legacy; her genius and imagination.
I hope you all receive the DVD soon!
Pic 1: 'Becoming Jane' DVD cover (UK/Aus/NZ edition)
Pic 2: An old poster of Le Nozze di Figaro in Hamburg Germany, from BBC UK