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Ang Lee
Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant
Writing Credits:
Emma Thompson

After the death of the family patriarch, the Dashwood women struggle to get by.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby Atmos
English DTS-HD MA 5.0
Czech Dolby MA 5.0
French DTS-HD MA 5.0
German DTS-HD MA 5.0
Hungarian Dolby 2.0
Italian DTS-HD MA 5.0
Polish Dolby 1.0
Russian Dolby 5.0
Castillian DTS-HD MA 5.0
Spanish Dolby 2.0
Turkish Dolby 5.0
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 136 min.
Price: $164.99
Release Date: 10/12/2021
Available Only As Part of 6-Film “Columbia Classics Collection Volume 2”

• Audio Commentary with Director Ang Lee and Co-Producer James Schamus
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Actor Emma Thompson and Producer Lindsay Doran
• “Back to Barton Cottage” Featurette
• “Adapting Austen” Featurette
• “A Sense of Character” Featurette
• “A Very Quiet Man” Featurette
• “Locating the World” Featurette
• “Elegance & Simplicity” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailers
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Sense and Sensibility [4K UHD] (1995)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 31, 2022)

Filmmaker Ang Lee began his career in his native Taiwan, and 1994’s Eat Drink Man Woman brought him success that spanned continents. This led him to direct his first English-language effort, 1995’s Sense and Sensibility.

An adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1811 novel, we meet the Dashwood family. When wealthy Mr. Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson) passes away, the laws of inheritance stipulate that his estate goes to his male heir, John Dashwood (James Fleet).

This leaves his widow (Gemma Jones) and daughters Elinor (Emma Thompson), Marianne (Kate Winslet) and Margaret (Emilie François) high and dry. They get an allowance of a mere 500 pounds a year combined on which to live.

Down to earth Elinor and impulsive Marianne usually veer in opposite directions. As both attempt to cope with their new circumstances, they embark on romances that spotlight their differing personalities.

Like most American males, I never read Austen’s novels, and my exposure to adaptations of her work remain limited. I saw 2005’s Pride & Prejudice as my first exposure back in 2006.

From there, I watched the 1995 Pride as well as 2020’s Emma, though I’d also seen 1995’s Clueless, a loose take on Emma. Oh, and I’d also checked out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I guess counts.

Despite my general disenchantment with “chick flicks”, I largely enjoyed these efforts. The 2005 Pride offered a pleasant surprise, and Clueless always delivered an amusing update. Emma was also an engaging effort.

The 1995 Pride didn’t dazzle me, but it became a more than competent adaptation. Only the messy Zombies turned into a fairly weak presentation.

Given that I’ve largely liked my experiences with Austen-related films, I went into Sense with moderate expectations. Because the genre still doesn’t elate me, I didn’t assume that I’d like it, but I figured I’d enjoy it.

The presence of so much notable talent added to these hopes. Thompson won an Oscar for her screenplay, and the film nabbed six additional Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

With an impressive cast, expectations rose greater. In addition to Thompson, Winslet and Wilkinson, we find talents like Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Laurie and others. How could a project with such a strong pedigree go wrong?

In truth, I can’t claim anything actually “goes wrong” with Sense. Nonetheless, I admit the end result largely leaves me cold, as the story and characters never do much to engage me.

Put simply, neither Elinor nor Marianne turn into compelling personalities. Whereas the story sets up the two as opposites, they rarely come across as especially different, and the movie fails to find much in terms of their personalities that means we connect with them.

The leads of Sense mainly come across as the sorts of intelligent women who bristle at the restrictions of their era that we expect from Austen. Of course, even with those vibes, both still mainly concentrate on romantic prospects, but nonetheless, the roles give off the proto-feminist feel we anticipate.

They just never seem particularly interesting. We follow Elinor and Marianne as they plod through various prospective partners but not much of this makes a real impact.

Do I ever feel like I care what happens to Marianne and/or Elinor? Not really. They seem like good people but the film can’t imbue them with enough true personality to ensure that their fates matter to us.

It doesn’t help that Thompson was far too old for the part. When I went into the movie, I assumed she played the mother, not one of the daughters.

36 years old during the production, Thompson was closer in age to 47-year-old Wilkinson than to 19-year-old Winslet or 12-year-old François. The film asks us to swallow Thompson as the sister of these two, and that becomes a bridge too far.

Austen wrote Elinor as 19 in her novel. What in the world inspired Thompson to play a role barely half her age?

I don’t know, and while she offers a perfectly solid performance, her utter inability to seem age-appropriate becomes a major issue here. We never remotely view Elinor as anything other than a middle-aged woman, and this disconnect turns into an avoidable distraction.

Even without that, I just find Sense to offer a dull tale. As noted, the characters never do much to engage me, and given that the “plot” revolves entirely around their paths, this becomes a problem.

I can find no fault with the production in general, as everything here seems well-executed and professional. As noted, we find an excellent cast, and the crew behind the camera ensure we get a film with solid construction.

I just can’t get beyond my general boredom with the final result. As much as I feel I should embrace this project, Sense just leaves me cold.

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

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.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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