Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Four Weddings and a Funeral (4 Stars)

This was the most successful British film ever. It was made on a budget of £3 million and earned over £250 million at the box office. It was made in 1994, but I didn't see it until today. Sometimes I'm slow.

The film takes place in episodes over a 15 month period, one episode for each wedding. There's no separate episode for the funeral, because the death takes place at a wedding. I won't tell you which one, that would be too much of a spoiler. It centres around Charles (Hugh Grant) and his friends, as they meet at weddings, either as guests or as the bridegroom or best man. A recurring theme is that people meet at weddings and then go on to get married. In a way I can understand this; a wedding is a romantic place to meet someone.

The film is a comedy, but it's a subtle comedy, with humour that takes a while to sink in. The timing of the jokes reminds me of the 1960's Carry On films. After every joke there's a pause or a scene change. If you're a Carry On fan you'll notice it immediately. I did.

I bought the film on Blu-ray for only £4. Recently I carried out a small poll among my Facebook friends, asking how many of them buy Blu-rays. Of the five who answered, only two said Yes. If I add my own vote to the pool it makes three out of six, i.e. 50%. What was more interesting was the reasons why my friends don't use Blu-ray. One of them wasn't aware that Blu-ray players are capable of playing DVDs. A common answer was that they're too expensive.

I have to say that the price issue is partly true. Usually, I'd estimate in 90% of cases, Blu-ray Discs are more expensive than DVDs, but Blu-ray Discs are cheaper today than DVDs were ten years ago. This is especially the case for films that are more than 12 months old. The other 10% is significant. In particular, television box sets are often cheaper on Blu-ray than DVD. The reason for this is that a typical 22-episode box set is made up of six DVDs, but only four Blu-ray Discs. The good companies pass the savings on to the customers.

Price shouldn't be an issue anyway, because the difference is so small. Films usually cost no more than £2 extra on Blu-ray. I never buy films immediately after their release in the stores, I wait 12 months. By then the DVD costs £3 and the Blu-ray costs £5. I think the improvement in the picture quality is worth it. There is an improvement in the sound quality as well, but my home entertainment system isn't good enough to show the difference.

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