The Young Victoria (Blu-ray)
This historical drama tells the tale of a young Queen Victoria as she struggles with newfound power at court whilst trying to decipher who’s with her, who’s against her and who’s plotting to use her to further their own gains. The good news is that this isn’t the boring history lesson I assumed it would be and ends up being a rather engrossing story of intrigue, devotion and love. Not usually my cup of tea but in the end even I was compelled to utter “long live the queen.”
England’s Royal Family has always been a topic surrounded by mystery and scandals, case in point (depending on whom you ask or what you choose to believe) some even suspected Jack the Ripper of being tied to the Royal Family. This was never proven mind you and clearly frowned upon, but a living rumor nonetheless. Before this film, that was about the extent of my “Royal knowledge” and I was fine with that. Upon reflection, I do find it ironic that being someone who speaks English as a first language, the thought of taking interest in England’s roots never occurred to me. I felt bad when Dianna passed away, but never knew that Prince Albert died at the young age of forty-two. Over and above the film’s romantic overtone, I found there to be quite an array of small things to pick up on.
Watching the nobles convene, scheme and work the room was nothing new as this state of affairs has a similar ring to the politics of Rome, the Church and every other hierarchy of power. It’s all the same game but with slightly different rules. One my favourite lines is when Albert and Victoria are playing Chess and Albert tells her that she needs to learn the rules of the game (politics) and become better than those around her trying to usurp and undermine her authority. The relationship between Albert and Victoria is flawless, Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend have a magical chemistry that made me feel all fuzzy inside (shhh, don’t tell anyone). There’s a Romeo and Juliet feel to their relationship at first, but thankfully they don’t end up drinking any poison or playing with daggers.
Thinking back to all those times I’ve seen Prince William and his brother splashed all over the front page of magazines breaking loose like it’s nineteen ninety-nine are starting to make a bit more sense to me now. Seeing just how sheltered these royal children are prior to their eighteenth birthday is mind-boggling. Victoria wasn’t allowed to walk down the stairs by herself, couldn’t read books, had her mail screened a good half dozen times and I can only imagine the thoughts going through a young kid’s head after being told why she needed to have someone taste her food before she ate it.
THE YOUNG VICTORIA is a beautiful Titanic-esque love story with factual roots. The cast does a superb job (I personally dig Paul Bettany quite a bit, so much so that I’m willing to forgive the cheese fest that was LEGION) and as I said, Blunt and Friend are a vision together and oh so easy to fall in love with. I’ve made it clear that Drama isn’t exactly my M.O. but even I can be a big softy from time to time and I won’t deny that this was a nice feel good film that I can easy recommend for that quite night at home.
Video: 2.35:1 Widescreen in 1080p HD with AVC codec. Despite the rain, London looked beautiful around the castles and in the gardens, especially on Blu-ray.
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD in English with the option of subtitles. For a historical piece, there was no real sign of accents or different forms of slang but I was cool with it.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (21:38): With the exception of the coronation ceremony, these embellished scenes just try to stir up more mischief but ultimately add nothing to the story.
Making of The Young Victoria (5:42): Here we get a brief explanation of how the film was intended to focus upon Victoria and Albert’s many good times before his untimely death as some people are inclined to forget.
Lavish History: A Look at the Costumes and Locations (7:20): The design team explain that since this film is based upon fact they dug deep in an attempt to accurately recreate as much as possible in hopes of achieving realism.
The Coronation/The Wedding (5:21): This is simply both scenes taken from the film and set aside to view on their own.
The Real Queen Victoria (7:28): Actress Emily Blunt explains how she really did her homework while preparing for this role and how upon reading the Queen’s personal diary was blown away by how feisty a character she truly was.
Previews: There are a handful of trailers as well as some BD-LIVE content if you hook up to the internet.