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Marc Munden
Dixie Egerickx, Colin Firth, Julie Walters
Writing Credits:
Jack Thorne

An orphaned girl discovers a magical garden hidden at her strict uncle's estate.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Spanish DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 10/6/2020

• “Characters” Featurette
• “Concept to Reality” Featurette
• “Page to Screen” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Secret Garden [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 15, 2020)

Back in 1911, Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote The Secret Garden. It received its initial adaptation as a 1919 movie, and 100 years later, 2020’s The Secret Garden brings what it appears to be at least its eighth rendition.

Unlike the original novel, the 2020 Garden takes place in 1947. 10-year-old Mary Lennox (Dixie Egerickx) grows up in India as the pampered child of well-off parents.

Tragedy strikes when cholera kills the rest of Mary’s family, and the orphaned girl finds herself sent to England to live with her Uncle Archibald Craven (Colin Firth) on his Yorkshire estate. Archibald lives with his housekeeper Mrs. Medlock (Julie Walters) and sickly son Colin (Edan Hayhurst).

At first, Mary struggles to adapt, but eventually she locates exciting mysteries on the grounds. Along with Colin and friend Dickon (Amir Wilson), they discover a secret garden that boasts wonders.

Given all the adaptations of <>Garden over the last century, clearly movie/TV producers view it as something of an evergreen. I admit I knew nothing of the tale until I watched the 2020 version – heck, to me, “Secret Garden” is just a Springsteen song popularized by Jerry Maguire.

Though the actual story may be new to me, Garden tends to feel familiar, as we’ve seen plenty of tales along these lines. For instance, the Narnia books come with semi-equivalent narratives, albeit on a grander scale.

This sense of familiarity – aided by the multiple prior adaptations - doesn’t doom Garden, but it does mean this version needs to find something fresh to say with the material. It doesn’t.

Whatever deeper themes of grief and revival exist in the source, they get little play here. The movie nods in the direction of various notions, but these don’t receive much real exploration.

Instead, we mainly watch Mary as she slowly comes out of her funk and embraces the world around her. Good for her, but the manner in which Garden depicts her journey seems sluggish and fairly dull.

The actors do their best, and I admire young Egerickx’s willingness to play Mary as surly and unliikable. Too many juvenile actors would wheedle some inappropriate sunniness out of the role, but Egerickx gives Mary a nice sense of realism, and her path toward happiness feels believable.

Unfortunately, that path simply never becomes especially engaging. The adventures of the kids remain generally blah, and the movie’s attempts at magic don’t impact the viewer in a real way.

Garden wants to balance youthful magic with more adult themes, but it fails to do so in a convincing manner. It never quite commits in either direction, so it tends to feel tentative and underwhelming.

Garden does look lovely, and it remains professional at all times. As noted, the performances work fine, and the flick comes with definite potential.

However, it just never quite capitalizes on all these positives. Oddly inert and flat, Garden lacks the emotion and impact it needs.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

The Secret Garden appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a fine transfer.

Overall definition seemed positive. Virtually no softness materialized, as the movie appeared accurate and concise.

I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.

Many period pieces opt for subdued palettes, and that was true here. The colors tended toward heavy teal tones, with some amber/orange along for the ride as well. These appeared appropriate within the film’s stylistic choices.

Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. This added up to a satisfying presentation.

A character drama wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a whiz-bang soundtrack, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Garden fell into expected realms. A few scenes – mainly related to the titular domain – used the various channels well. Usually the track remained oriented toward ambience, though, so don’t expect lots of sizzle from the mix.

Audio quality satisfied. Although didn’t get much score, the music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy.

Speech appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed perfectly adequate for the project.

Three brief featurettes appear: “Characters” (3:17), “Concept to Reality” (3:50) and “Page to Screen” (2:45). Across these, we get notes from producer Rosie Allison and David Heyman, director Marc Munden, screenwriter Jack Thorne, production designer Grant Montgomery, production sound mixer Nigel Albermahiche, costume designer Michele Clapton, and actors Dixie Egerickx, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Edan Hayhurst, Amir Wilson, and Isis Davis.

As implied by their titles, the clips look at characters/story, the novel’s adaptation, production design and technical elements. A few nuggets emerge, but the featurettes remain superficial and promotional most of the time.

The disc opens with ads for Trolls World Tour and Fatima. We also get the trailer for Garden.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Garden. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

An adaptation of a much-loved book, The Secret Garden fails to bring life to the material. Despite some good performances, the movie tends to seem lackluster and oddly emotionless. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals along with good audio and minor supplements. While not a bad film, Garden doesn’t click.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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