Happy-Go-Lucky (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - Italy - Dolmen Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (22nd October 2013).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is an irrepressibly cheerful primary school teacher who won't let anyone or anything get her down. Even when her bicycle, which she so happily rides through the busy streets of London is stolen, her first thought is only: "I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye."

Living with her flatmate Zoe (Alexis Zegerman), Poppy has a gift for making the most of life. Determined to learn to drive, she finds herself matched with Scott (Eddie Marsan), an uptight driving instructor who is everything she is not.

From Director Mike Leigh (Vera Drake) HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is a laugh-out-loud comedy about having fun, looking for love and getting on with life.

Video

Italian independent distributor Dolmen Home Video releases Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky on Blu-ray in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 using an AVC MPEG-4 codec. After a visual comparison, it is considerably better than the UK DVD from Momentum Pictures, but does have several underlying flaws.

The most obvious flaw in the transfer is the amount of edge enhancement and aliasing. Whilst aliasing is kept mainly to a few background items such as shop shutters as the camera pans, the edge enhancement is obvious on several occasions. The worst moments include any time that Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsden are in the car, as Poppy (Hawkins) learns to drive. There is also the odd compression problem, but nothing overly obtrusive. On the plus side, colours are vibrant and strong, especially on Poppy's colourful clothing. Detail is also strong, with hair, facial blemishes, and even all the small bits of damage to the bright yellow Fiat, very well defined. Shadow detail could have been better at times, but was certainly adequate. There was no damage to the print, apart from the very occasional artifact.

The feature runs 119:08 and is 1080p.

Audio

There are a number of audio tracks available on this release:
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- English Dolby Digital 5.1
- Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
- Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

For my viewing, I opted for the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The track is ultimately a front heavy affair with the surrounds used mainly for the score, and only on the odd occasion for effects. The LFE is barely used at all, but to be fair, there is hardly the opportunity for it to be utilised. The dialogue is clear at all times, and there is no damage to speak of. No scratches, no dropouts, and no background hiss. The track is wholly appropriate, but it never really impresses.

Italian subtitles are available, and they are forced when an English audio track is selected.

Extras

The "Behind the Wheel of Happy-Go-Lucky" featurette (4:25, English, forced Italian subtitles) is a blink and you'll miss it look at how the scenes that take place inside the learner drivers car were shot. Using seven cameras and an impressive lighting rig, they opted for actually driving the car around for real, rather than being driven on the back of a truck. It's interesting, but too short.

Next, we have a selection of interviews (English, with forced Italian subtitles - questions in Italian text):
- Sally Hawkins (6:11)
- Eddie Marsan (3:57)
- Alexis Zergerman (3:20)
- director Mike Leigh (9:44)
- producer Simon Williams (1:10)
- make-up artist Christine Blundell (1:16)
Despite the question being in Italian on-screen text, it's obvious what the questions are from the answers given. The most interesting to listen to is Mike Leigh, which also happens to be the longest segment. It's rather basic EPK stuff to be honest, and nothing particularly noteworthy.

The rest of the extras are self-explanatory.
3 TV Spots (0:10, 0:15, 0:30, Italian, no subtitles)
Bonus Trailers (Italian, no subtitles):
- "Kyashan" (1:59)
- "Wolf Creek" (1:45)
- "In the Valley of Elah" (2:16)
- "Sex List" (2:13)
- "The Hunting Party" (2:19)
- "Shinobi" (0:54)
- "AlbaKiara" (1:32)
Theatrical Trailer (1:46, Italian, no subtitles)
DVD Credits (1 text screen, Italian)

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: B- Audio: B Extras: D Overall: B-

 


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