Sense and Sensibility appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not a killer presentation, the image seemed to replicate the source.
This meant occasional signs of softness, some of which appeared connected to the photographic styles, but not all. A few shots came across as a bit fuzzy for no logical cinematographical reasons.
Nonetheless, the movie usually offered appealing delineation, and I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects. Edge haloes remained absent, and grain felt natural. Print flaws failed to mar the proceedings.
Colors opted for a natural feel with a golden tint during many interiors to fit the candlelit settings. The hues offered generally solid tones, with extra oomph related to the disc’s HDR, and they occasionally became quite impressive.
Blacks felt deep and dense, and shadows worked fine for the most part, though that candlelight look meant these scenes could seem a bit murky. HDR brought nice resonance to whites and contrast. No one will use this as a showcase for their 4K TVs, but the disc reproduced the film in a satisfactory manner.
The movie’s original audio – brought here via a DTS-HD MA 5.0 track – didn’t exactly boast plenty of sonic fireworks. This meant the disc’s Dolby Atmos remix might seem like overkill.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, this chatty film boasted nice stereo music as well as a decent environmental vibe. Given the nature of the story, I’d be hard-pressed to locate any moments where the soundfield impressed or excelled in any way.
That said, at least it gave us a reasonable sense of the various country settings. Rainstorms opened up in an engaging manner, as did a few other scenes.
Audio quality worked fine, with speech that sounded natural and concise. Music appeared lush and full as well.
As noted, effects lacked much to push one’s audio system, but at least these elements felt accurate and lacked distortion. This became a perfectly acceptable track for a character drama.
Normally I would compare the 4K to the movie’s Blu-ray version, but that becomes impossible right now – at least in terms of comparisons between the 4K and any Blu-ray available on the market separately. Twilight Time put out Sense on BD in 2015.
The Blu-ray included in this set offers a new disc that only appears here – for the time being, at least, as it seems possible it eventually gets a standalone release. If that happens, I’ll review it, but until/unless that time, it makes no sense to compare the 4K to a Blu-ray no one can buy on its own.
No extras appear on the 4K disc itself, but a mix of features show up on this aforementioned Blu-ray, and we start with two separate audio commentaries. First we hear from director Ang Lee and co-producer James Schamus, both of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, effects, sets and locations, costumes and design choices, music, and related subjects.
While witty and occasionally informative, this becomes an erratic commentary. The main issue stems from the more than sporadic gaps, as Lee and Schamus go silent too often. The dead air becomes an issue and this winds up as a decent but inconsistent track.
For the second commentary, we hear from writer/actor Emma Thompson and producer Lindsay Doran. Both sit together for their own running, screen-specific discussion of the source and its adaptation, story and characters, cast and performances, working with Ang Lee, sets and locations, period details, and various production details.
Though not a great commentary, the Thompson/Doran chat improves on its predecessor, as it gives us a decent look at a mix of relevant topics. I can’t claim the discussion ever becomes especially fascinating, Thompson and Doran add enough useful material to keep us with them.
Two Deleted Scenes appear: “True Love’s Kiss” (1:35) and “Mrs. Dashwood Converts Elinor” (1:08).
“Kiss” features a smooch between Elinor and Edward, while “Converts” offers more interactions between mother and daughter. Neither seems memorable or important.
In addition to two trailers, the disc includes some featurettes. These start with Back to Barton Cottage, a 27-minute, 37-second show that offers info from Thompson, Lee, Doran, and actors Kate Winslet, Imelda Staunton, Greg Wise, Imogen Stubbs and Myriam Francois.
Conducted as a group panel via Internet video connections, we learn about the movie’s roots and development, the adaptation, bringing cast and crew onto the project, performances, and general memories of the shoot.
Done to commemorate the movie’s 25th anniversary, it’s great to get so many of the principals together. They offer a lot of good thoughts and make this a fun and lively discussion.
Adapting Austen runs 11 minutes, 18 seconds and provides notes from Doran, Thompson, Lee, Staunton, Winslet, executive producer Sydney Pollack, and actors Hugh Laurie, Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant.
To the shock of no one, “Austen” covers the reworking of the novel for the big screen. Despite some fluffy talk at the end, this mostly becomes a tight and informative reel.
With A Sense of Character, we find an eight-minute, 14-second reel that features Thompson, Lee, Winslet, Doran, Grant, Wise, Rickman and Schamus.
“Sense” examines cast, characters and performances. It mixes decent insights and happy talk.
A Very Quiet Man goes for 12 minutes, three seconds and brings remarks from Lee, Thompson, Doran, Pollack, Schamus, Winslet, and Grant.
With “Man”, we learn of how Lee came to the project and his impact on the film. Though it also comes with some praise, we nonetheless find a pretty good view of Lee’s work.
Next comes Locating the World of Sense and Sensibility, a five-minute, 42-second piece with Grant, Doran, Thompson, production designer Luciana Arrighi, and actor Gemma Jones.
This one investigates sets, locations and production design. It offers a short but useful overview.
Elegance and Simplicity spans three minutes, 57 seconds and delivers comments from Thompson, Grant, and costume designers Jenny Beavan and John Bright.
The program gives us a view of the movie’s clothing choices. It turns into another quick but worthwhile piece.
With Sense and Sensibility, we get a professional adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, and it boasts excellent folks via its cast and crew. Unfortunately, none of this manages to turn Sense into an engaging, compelling drama, as the end result largely bores me. The 4K UHD comes with generally good picture and audio as well as a nice roster of bonus materials. Fans will feel pleased with this high-quality 4K, but I find the movie itself to disappoint.
Note that as of August 2022, the 4K UHD disc of Sense and Sensibility can be purchased only as part of a six-movie “Columbia Classics Collection Volume 2”. This set also includes 4K UHD versions of The Social Network, Oliver!, Stripes, Anatomy of a Murder and Taxi Driver.