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Downton Abbey: A New Era Blu-ray Review

“Downton Abbey: A New Era” proves the series has run its course.

“Downton Abbey: A New Era” marks the second feature film based on the hit British TV series. In this outing, a silent movie production titled “The Gambler” films at the titular home for a hefty sum while a group of characters (Robert, Cora, Tom, Lucy, among others) venture to France by invitation of a Marquis. It seems Violet has inherited a French villa from the late Marquis and the secrets surrounding that are part of the film’s mystery. Elsewhere in the story, there’s plots about a wedding, various romances, a pregnancy, and a death. 

Directed by Simon Curtis and written by showrunner Julian Fellowes, “Downton Abbey: A New Era” will undoubtedly serve as comfort food to fans of the franchise. The soap operay upstairs/downstairs ensemble drama feels like another check-in with the characters that fans have invested in over the years. Really, it feels like just another episode of the show as it’s not very cinematic at all.

For the casual viewers, “Downton Abbey: A New Era” comes across as  a retread of the first film in many ways. The first feature film was supposed to be Maggie Smith’s last Downton story, but she returns again. In fact, much of the dull central story is based around her character with the villa controversy. Although the film production element is far and away the best aspect (even though it’s more or less a rip-off of “Singin’ In The Rain”), it is also reminiscent of the first film in that Downton’s residents and staff prepare for new visitors. The character of Thomas Borrow also gets another love interest here much like the last one.

Cast wise, Matthew Goode and Lily James are sadly absent here, but much of the cast is back ala Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, James Carter, Elizabeth McGovern, and so forth. Michelle Dockery (Lady Talbot) and Hugh Dancy (who plays filmmaker Jack Barber) really steal the show here. Again, the movie within a movie element is really what carried this otherwise lackluster sequel. 

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? Expect a sharp hi-def transfer. Note: This title is also available on 4K.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? Say it with me- Atmos never disappoints.

Extras:
* DVD copy
* Digital copy
* Commentary by director Simon Curtis.
* “Good To Be Back”- A behind-the-scenes featurette with the cast talking about returning to the world of “Downton Abbey.”
* “Return To Downton Abbey: The Making Of A New Era”- The title says it all.
* “A Legendary Character” is all about Maggie Smith’s character Violet.
* “Crafting The Film…Within The Film” covers the movie within the movie element.
* “Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia”- A look at the Royal Boat.
* “Spill The Tea (Time)”- A Q&A with Laura Carmichael and Allen Leech.

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July 4, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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