Monday, 3 September 2007

Michelle’s personal review on her first copy of ‘Becoming Jane’ DVD!

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 US-version DVD as well. But, without further ado, here’s Michelle’s review of her BJ DVD. Thanks so much M, and let’s read it with healthy jealousy ^_^

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 US version or the Australia/NZ version. It was lovely, but I had a laugh at the featured music. The music was in four parts; the first part I have never heard before, the second part was the theme from Emma (Paltrow), the third part was the (gorgeous) theme from Little Women, and the forth part was "Devonshire" from Sense and Sensibility (Winslet)!! They certainly packed a punch; I got quite a kick out of that.

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 New Zealand release was an extra treat as I only caught the movie once in the theatre. (Evil, I know).

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


16 comments:

Megan said...

Ah, lovely review! But I'm beside myself, really... we don't even have a release date for the DVD in the U.S. yet! I check at work (I also work for Borders in my "spare time," haha) nearly every day, and I think when I finally do see a date I'm going to do back flips across the store!

Icha said...

Hey Meg, if you find ANY info about the DVD release for US, let us know yeah? I have limited time these days, am cutting down my Google time... with the exception of finding Anthony Lefroy...

Icha said...

And I forgot to say thanks! :-D

It's almost 2am here, I need to sleep...

Rachel said...

Michelle, I am SOOOOO jealous!! Such a wonderful review and analysis though, thank you.

kdesign23 said...

Thank you for the wonderful review!!
I have been checking on the US DVD info and cannot find anything new yet. I have a feeling they are waiting to see how long it will go in theaters as it was well received.
Before the film came out here they advertised September 21 as a DVD release date but that has since been removed.
I'll keep trying too!
: )

anima said...

Hello!
I have found another gallery to Becoming Jane beside those official photos...it´s the Czech web site:
http://dokina.tiscali.cz/filmy/f_foto.asp?film_id=13542
Enjoy it;)

Michelle said...

Hi Amina, welcome to BJF!

Thanks ladies ... I still can't get over the SHOCK I felt when I saw the DVD sitting on the shelf!

It's still not available to purchase yet, and I don't know how far away that release will be. My gut feeling (for the US at least) is closer to the Christmas market? November maybe?

On a positive note, hopefully the US release will feature better special features! A director's commentary at least *prays*. You're right Icha, I can't wait for the US/UK release. ;)

I watched the "Interviews with Cast & Crew" last night. I was a little disappointed, but again, better than nothing! There was seperate interviews with: Director, Hathaway, McAvoy, Walters, Cromwell, Costume Designer, Production Designer, Location Manager, Choreographer. (this is off the top of my head b/c I left my scribbled note at home. I think I'm forgetting one of the crew...) As a rough indication, there was an approx 10 minute interview with Anne, broken up into 30 - 40 second clips - "Anne on dancing", "Anne on Jane Austen", etc. I don't like this interrupted format very much, but what really irked me was that 50% - 75% of the material was just nicked from the "On the Set" featurette. Arrrrgh!!!

As for the DVD itself. Ahhhhh. I am embarrassed to admit how many times I played back the Wisley/Lefroy/Austen dance. For me, "that moment" is the most satisfying, electric moment in the film - I just LOVE it!

Ok, I will stop rambling ;)

Icha said...

My gut feeling (for the US at least) is closer to the Christmas market? November maybe?

Is this a spoiler for the next article, Michelle? ;-)

November and Christmas, eh? Heheh...

Michelle said...

Haha Icha, you are hilarious! Never even crossed my dull mind. :p

Megan said...

I was thinking around Christmastime as well -- seems like the best opportunity to maximize profits, the way the corporate big-wigs are always thinking. I'll definitely keep checking (I checked again tonight, haha! we usually update our database a few months before DVDs are scheduled to be released) and post anything at all I find ASAP!

Great info everyone, so excited to see the film again! And Michelle, that dance moment is definitely the most electric for me, too... the look on Tom Lefroy's face when he suddenly appears, and Jane's reaction -- SIGH! can't... wait... much... longer...

Icha said...

Aww... M, I was already so jealous that you could buy it already... but it turned out that you could not purchase it yet :-D

My Blockbuster schedules it for 12 SEPT, which means it's another week to go! EEkkkkk!!! Unfortunately, they have this wicked one-day rent for the new DVD (Arrrggghhh!!!). What to do?! Rent it a few times?!

Funny, 12 Sept is the date I have to return my Cranfield book (From Ireland to WA) to the library :-D

Icha said...

Anima, thanks a LOT for the pictures! I will post some of them soon! ^_^

Michelle said...

Icha, yes! Rent it a few times. It's a pain, but worth it. We have the $8 overnight hire for new DVDs too ... can see myself raking up quite a few fines at the store if I'm not careful. :p

Icha said...

$8 for a night?! Are they out of their minds?!

We have it $3 per night here, for the new release. Hell, I will rent till the weekend! It comes on the 12... and I plan rent it until Saturday!

Anonymous said...

I was hoping there were deleted scenes. :/

I have a DVD copy too and I've been watching it countless times already.. which I'm kicking myself for because I certainly do not want anything bad to happen to my copy. n_n

Icha said...

Really, no deleted scenes?! Weird. For,look at this:
http://becomingjane.blogspot.com/2007/07/deleted-scenes-of-becoming-jane-in-dvd.html

It says there that the BBC will put the deleted scenes in the featurettes! Bummer.

Well, my copy from HMV UK is winging her way across the sea now... hopefully, I will receive it very soon, so that I can lament as well for the lack of the deleted scenes!