The Holiday Blu-ray: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

It was nice seeing Jack Black in a more subdued role.
  • OVERALL
    3.0
    WORTHY
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
It was nice seeing Jack Black in a more subdued role.
THE BAD
Okay, this idea has been done how many times now?
THE FEATURE
Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) are two women who have been very unlucky in love. In effort to cure their doldrums they both log onto a house swapping website and through this they end up switching houses. Well, both Iris and Amanda experience being fish out of water as Iris is now in America and Amanda is now in England. To further compound this they are in different environments during Christmastime. Well, wouldn't you know that luck soon shines on these women as Iris finds herself smitten by Miles (Jack Black), and Amanda seems to fancy Graham (Jude Law). Just as it seems like these lovelorn ladies have finally found the antidote to their problems, the realization that they have only swapped houses for two weeks begins to set in.

While not the most original or innovative story The Holiday is the kind of movie that is made for all seasons. While it could simply be called a chick flick or a romantic comedy, this is the kind of movie that is calculated to make viewers feel good inside.
THE EXTRAS
Foreign Exchange

This "making of" features the actors, director and other above the line talent talking about this film. It's not like they've made Memento so there isn't any need for real plot clarification. The actors simply talk about their roles, what made them want to do this movie, working with director Nancy Meyers, and the usual gaggle of information. This isn't overly long but its long enough to get the point across about this film, and to also introduce viewers to the roles the characters are playing. Whatever the case, if you are a fan of these actors I am sure you will enjoy watching this.

Commentary Track

Nancy Meyers does the main duties here. I guess I was expecting something more from this director, but after looking at her resume on IMDB, I guess I shouldn't seem surprised. This women is a master at making these kinds of relationship pictures. She discusses that a little bit, but mainly Meyers spends her time talking about the actors, the locations, and the themes of the story. There's also one too many times where she simply sits and just watched the movie, but that might be me being spoiled from watching to many Robert Rodriguez commentary tracks.
THE VIDEO
1080p Transfer - 1.85:1 Widescreen. This movie looked very sharp but lets just ask ourselves, when was the last time we see a romantic comedy that wasn't crisp (even on Standard DVD)? This movie utilized a lot of reds, blacks and whites but most of all it had a very cozy look. Being set around the holidays probably had something to do with it, but I was actually surprised with how solid this picture was. I guess I am thinking that Blu-ray movies should mainly be of the big budget ilk. However, seeing how good the colors and images are here, it sort of makes one wonder if getting rid of their old collection and going to this format exclusively might me the way to go? Then again...
THE AUDIO
English PCM 5.1 Uncompressed. English: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 - French: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. The audio here was passable. It felt pretty full when the soundtrack to The Holiday was playing, but there were times when I sort of wondered if the people mastering this DVD were laughing at how little they actually to do or how much consumers would be able to do with this on their systems. There was a slight disparity in sound levels when the soundtrack was playing minus the dialogue. This was pretty negligible when, for the most part, things were pretty solid from an audio standpoint.
THE PACKAGE
The front cover of this Blu-ray release features Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black and Kate Winslet. This is actually the same set of images that I believe were used when this movie played theatrically. The back cover has a description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and system specs. At some point I think the makers of these Blu-ray discs are going to step these covers up somewhat, I just don't know how.
THE FINAL WORD
I had no desire to see this movie when it played theatrically and I had even less desire to watch it on DVD (let alone Blu-ray). While the picture looked great, The Holiday isn't really the kind of movie that one thinks of when they imagine taking their system out for a spin. This had no bearing on what I thought of the movie itself. This film is enjoyable, engaging, and the kind of movie that one could enjoy whilst on a date. Even better if you have a nice home theater system, one could impress someone simply by owning this film. To be able to present it in such a clear and pristine way is merely icing on the proverbial cake.

I was also impressed with how good Jack Black was in this role. It wasn't award winning by any stretch of the imagination, but it was nice seeing him play against himself a little. While he was surely cast because of his off the wall qualities, these seem to be tempered slightly here. Jack Black is an interesting actor because something tells me that beneath the comic zaniness there lies someone that could do straight drama. I can't help but wonder if sometimes it's easier for him to play to type as opposed to against it.

If you want to change up your Blu-ray collection and not just have it be blockbuster's du-jour, one could certainly benefit by owning The Holiday.

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