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June 10, 2010
Dorian Gray Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
12/11/200918/5/2010Village RoadshowOliver Parker
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Ben Barnes

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Ben Barnes as/in Dorian Gray.

Dorian Gray is a British film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's 1891 novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray". The film was released in 2009, but struggled at the box office only taking £3 million after a release in the UK and Australian, but heads straight to DVD in America. Still, it's out here now on Blu-Ray, and that's what we're taking a look at.

Dorian Gray tells the story of a naive boy who arrives in Victorian London. Upon his arrival he is lured into a hedonistic lifestyle by Henry Wotton. Henry's friend, Basil Hallward paints a portrait of Dorian and when the picture is finished Dorian pledges to do anything to ensure that he stays as young as he appears in the picture.

Dorian goes to great lengths to stay young and is willing to give up his soul and while he continues to look as young as ever, his portrait continues to age and become more horrific with every evil act he commits. The story of Dorian Gray is a great one and it's told very well and very faithfully in the film. Now, while the film is faithful to the source material it can be seen as both a positive and a negative as if you've ever heard the Dorian Gray story before you'll likely know exactly what to expect of the film.

The story of Dorian Gray may be quite interesting, but Ben Barnes' acting is not. This story is supposedly filled with passion and a tail of betrayal, love and drama, but Ben Barnes barely changes his facial expression, Indeed he was a lot better in Stardust and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian so it's a shame to see such stilted acting in this movie.

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Flame On! Oh, wait, wrong movie...
Overall Dorian Gray is a decent retelling of the Oscar Wilde novel. The movie is a safe adaptation and while the film may have its weaknesses, the story isn't one of them.

Dorian Gray is a dark film and the transfer is relatively solid. There is very little grain and the very few colours you do see in the film are bright and stand out. The PlayStation 3's bitrate hovered around 26–30Mbps throughout the whole film and while this isn't exactly a visual showcase for Blu-Ray, the transfer has certainly had a lot of effort put into it. The film is presented in a widescreen 16:9 format.

Not to be outdone Dorian Gray comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless audio track. The PlayStation 3 hovered around 1.2-1.4Mbps for the audio confirming a 16-bit/48Khz track. Overall, Dorian Gray is a quiet film, but the inclusion of a lossless audio track is appreciated. The sound is at it's best in the film when the movie pans back to the painting, the music is soothing and really sets the atmosphere well.

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Clothing detail is impressive.
The Dorian Gray Blu-Ray includes quite a few extras, at least in terms of quantity, however many are quite brief. Anyway here's what to expect...

On Set Interviews (46:01): There are fourteen on the set interviews with Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rebecca Hall, Ben Chaplin, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Johnny Harris, Fiona Shaw, Emilia Fox, Maryam D'Abo, Pip Torrents, Michael Culkin, Oliver Parker and producer Barnaby Thompson and screenwriter Toby Finlay, so you can bet that if there is anyone you would like to see an interview with it's likely this featurette will have the interview.

Behind the Scenes (9:44): This featurette is an unedited look at scenes in the film and the footage is cropped in a letterbox format. It's more raw than other featurettes as there is no commentary and you get to see the green screen work as well as a quick behind the scenes look at some of the other scenes from the film. There are also four different featurettes, which can be played separately or all together.

Make Up & Wardrobe (2:25): This is a very short featurette where you get to see a quick look at some of the wardrobe and makeup in the film with narration by the make up and wardrobe artists.

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At the masked ball in Dorian Gray.
The Painting (1:31): This is a look at the actual recreation of the painting of Dorian Gray. It's a very short featurette that just shows the photos taken of Ben Barnes and then a quick look at the actual painting.

Smithfield Market (2:13): This is an opportunity to look at the Smithfield Market scene which contains a mixture of green screen work and actual actors on a set.

Visual Effects (4:25): This featurette takes a close look at some of the visual effects utilised in the film. You get an opportunity to see a split screen of certain cities in the film from the 3D animation when the film was in a pre production stage to the actual finished product.

One of the reasons that these featurettes have a play all option is that they are very short and overall they feel like a very late inclusion with barely any editing and all in a letterbox format.

Dorian Gray is a faithful adaptation of the Oscar Wilde Novel. While the film may not take too many risks those who are familiar with the tale will enjoy this adaptation.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.