Title: Shakespeare in Love

Format: Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: R

Directed by: John Madden

Written by: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard

Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench

Studio: Miramax, Lionsgate

Blu-ray Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Bill Jones

It’s hard to look back more than a decade after the release of Shakespeare in Love and think it was truly deserving of its seven Academy Award wins. It is not a film that carries with it the air of a “great” film, nor does it feel like a classic these years later. Still, Shakespeare in Love in a heck of a lot of fun, telling the tale of a working William Shakespeare in Elizabethan England. He is a Shakespeare who finds himself falling in love with a woman he cannot have as he begins to write Romeo and Juliet. It is a mix of comedy and tragedy that expertly weaves together multiple storylines that cross between the film’s reality and Shakespeare’s fiction.

The film appears on Blu-ray for the first time courtesy of Lionsgate, and fans will be happy to hear that the video transfer is incredibly clear and impressively vivid. The soundtrack may be even better, using the surround channels subtly to help immerse viewers in the theater of the time. It seems all of the special features contained on the disc have been ported from previous releases, but with two audio commentaries, a lengthy “Shakespeare in Love and on Film” featurette, a costumes extra, deleted scenes, trailers and television spots, there is still plenty for viewers to sink their teeth into. The features may not be new, but fans will be quite happy with the high-definition transfer.

For more info, www.lionsgate.com

Pads & Panels received copy of the Blu-ray courtesy of the studio for review purposes.