Emma – Blu-ray Review

EMMA.

If you’re unfamiliar with the novel as I am then the story might be a bit confusing to follow. To an outsider, there isn’t an overall story arc to follow. It seems as if the film follows the romance and lives of these characters. But after listening to the audio commentary and admittedly reading the novel’s Wikipedia page, I was able to grasp and fully appreciate what Autumn de Wilde put together in EMMA. If you’re not willing to put in the time to figure out what’s going on in the film then you’re bound to be bored to death. This is a very niche film.

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The film relies heavily on the charm and sharp script. The witty dialogue, deadpan delivery, and silly scenes help tell the comedic tale that Jane Austen wrote. There are a lot of awkward moments that’ll get a laugh out of people—whether or not you’re enjoying the film or not. Fans of the novel will enjoy much of the lightheartedness that Autumn de Wilde infuses into the film. Not to mention, you can see that a lot of tender, love, and care that went into this film. 

None of that is more apparent than with the visuals. EMMA. seems to be highly inspired by Wes Anderson’s films. It has all of the aesthetics and visual tropes from an Anderson film. The bold pastel colors, the title cards, and the symmetrical framing are all be found in this film.

Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance is fantastic. She’s able to convey much of the emotions of Emma so eloquently as the film goes on. Johnny Flynn and Bill Nighy are also delightful in the film. But the biggest standout is Josh O’Connor who steals the show with his creepy and over-the-top performance. Much of the awkwardness and laughs occur whenever he’s in a scene.

Overall, EMMA. is a film that isn’t for everyone. It’s a very niche film that mostly appeals to those who are familiar with the novel. So if you’re going in blind then prepare to be mildly entertained by the film. However, those who know (and love) the story will enjoy the lighthearted and modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

EMMA. - Mia Goth and Anya Taylor-Joy

Video

EMMA. hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The picture has an overall great looking contrast. It’s not too flat nor does it have a harsh contrast. However, the picture is very bright—something you can see in the sunlit windows during the daytime. There is a lot of bloom and loss of details in these areas. Due to the high brightness though, there is a good amount of shadow details to be seen during the limited amount of nighttime scenes. As you can imagine, the wonderful wide spectrum of colors in the film is represented beautifully in the film. The natural-looking colors may not jump off the screen but they’re consistent with the overall look of the film. At the same time, the crisp details of the picture highlight the amazing production design of the film. Overall, this is a good-looking picture.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

EMMA. - Josh O'Connor

Audio

EMMA. hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Due to the nature of the film, the audio mix isn’t very dynamic. So don’t expect to hear a ton of sound moving across the soundstage. However, because this is a dialogue-heavy film, expect to hear audible and clean sound dialogue coming from your speakers. Much of the mix’s immersion comes from the atmospherics of the scene. They’re subtle yet distinct and accurate to the scene’s location. For example, if there’s a fireplace in the scene then you can hear the fire crackling across the soundstage. Also, the score by David Schweitzer and Isobel Waller-Bridge sound layered throughout the mix. Overall, this is a solid audio mix.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

EMMA. - Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn

Special Features

EMMA.‘s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Deleted Scenes
    • Miss Smith Waits for Tea
    • Mr. Elton and the Portrait
    • It’s Dark in Here
    • I Never Dine with Anybody
    • Gossip at the Haberdashery
    • Let Us Pay a Call on Jane Fairfax
    • Freshen the Sponge, Bartholomew
    • Dressing Miss Woodhouse
    • A Post for Dear Jane
    • You Owe Me No Apologies
  • Gag Reel
  • A Playful Tease
  • The Autumn Gaze
  • Crafting a Colorful World
  • Feature Commentary with Director Autumn de Wilde, Screenwriter Eleanor Catton, and Director of Photography Christopher Blauvelt

Due to the eccentric nature of the film, there are a few scenes that could’ve made it into the theatrical cut of the film. Some of these include “Mr. Elton and the Portrait” and “It’s Dark in Here”. The gag reel has a few gems in there. It also contains Anya Taylor-Joy’s real “nose bleed” story that de Wilde told in the feature commentary.

“A Playful Tease” is essentially an EPK-style featurette where the cast gushes about working with each other and on the film. There’s quite a bit of behind-the-scenes footage but nothing too exciting. “The Autumn Gaze” is another “love fest” where the cast talks about their interest in working with Autumn de Wilde. However, there are some interesting stories from the cast about their interactions with de Wilde.

It’s not saying much but “Crafting a Colorful World” is easily the most insightful featurette in this release. It has the various art departments talk about the stylish nature of the film. It’s a must-watch considering how beautiful the film is. The feature commentary features a lot of information about Jane Austen’s book and the filmmaking techniques that Autumn de Wilde used in the film. However, the commentary is mostly dominated by de Wilde and screenwriter Eleanor Catton. The rest rarely speak in the commentary. Nevertheless, the back-and-forth between Catton and de Wilde is engaging and entertaining.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms


Overall, EMMA. is a stylish and appropriate modern telling of Jane Austen’s beloved novel. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t try to capture new audiences. Instead, it only appeals to those who are fans of the novel. The video has some discrepancies but both it and the audio mix are solid for this type of film. Surprisingly, some of the special features are more entertaining and informative than the list suggests.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1561 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.