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Henry V Blu-ray Review

Henry V Blu-ray

Branagh’s “Henry V” comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Shout! Factory.

Kenneth Branagh writes, directs, and stars in this 1989 film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic play “Henry V.” The story, in case you forgot, involves Henry V declaring war on France in order to claim the throne.

While often claimed as one of the best cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, I don’t quite share that enthusiasm. Granted, it’s an accomplished film that nails certain moments (namely the battles and “Once More Unto The Breach” speech), but I’m of the belief that favorite Shakespeare films often coincide without your favorite Shakespeare plays. For me, Branagh was at his best with “Much Ado About Nothing.” Now, don’t get me wrong, “Henry V” is an undeniably classic  story, but it’s never captured me the way “Macbeth,” “Hamlet,” or the “The Merchant of Venice” has both on the page and on the screen.

As for the cast, it’s a truly all-star affair as Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Brian Blessed, Judi Dench, Ian Holm, and Robbie Coltrane have roles here. Overall, the performances are grand although Branagh does tend to overdo it at times. Also, while no fault of the actor (who is always great in everything he does), the presentation of Derek Jacobi as the Chorus takes you out of the story a bit. It’s an interesting, but odd choice by Branagh to say the least.


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? In a word, disappointing. The film looks its age as the faded print is often grainy and littered with dirt specs.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A lively track that handles the action and dialogue exceedingly well.

The lone extra is the original trailer for “Henry V.”

May 6, 2015 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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