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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Blu-ray Review)

imageIt is a rarity to get a sequel of this kind. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a sleeper hit in 2012 and while I may not have been its biggest fan, I can admire a film that features a strong cast and an audience of whatever age rushing out to see it in droves, similar to everyone who flocks to the big blockbusters that were coming out at the same time. With that in mind, the whole gang (with one obvious exception) is back for more in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is now looking stunning on Blu-ray. Time to figure out how the film measures up.

Film:

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The sequel picks up a couple years after the first. The plot involves plans for Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) and Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) to open a second hotel as a companion to the first. This is complicated by an oncoming wedding, the status of the various old folks that populated the first film, and the arrival of an anonymous inspector possibly played by Richard Gere.

Okay, so while I can give some praise to the fact that a film like this got made, it is hard for me to support what seems so clearly bad. Obviously there is always differing opinions, but reading the one blurb on the back of this Blu-ray that states, “Better than the first,” made me laugh harder than anything in the film. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is more annoying to watch that it is to say the title in full and that is a shame, given the pedigree of the cast.

Even if I find Gere bland and Patel annoying, you still have Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and others who are all quite capable, but they do little to save this film. The story is poor, the drama never feels effectively handled and there is really little else to praise, beyond the gorgeous scenery, which comes with the territory when filming in India.

Worst of all, this movie is two hours, when the story feels so labored to begin with that it is hard to understand how it could last more than 80 minutes. This is a dull film that rests far too much on the cast that can maybe hold onto their own charm, but not enough to make this film a consistently engaging and enjoyable experience. ‘Second Best’ is right, but that is certainly not much to brag about.

Video:

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: Shot digitally on the Sony CineAlta 65, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a character-driven film set in India, with various visits to other locations.  As a result, the film has plenty to portray, as far as these settings and the Blu-ray does a great job of capturing so much detail. It really comes as no surprise that the film is this good looking, even if the quality of the movie is off.

Depth: Objects and characters have their own space and environments that allow for a good sense of dimensionality.

Black Levels: The black levels are deep and inky with no signs of crush.

Color Reproduction: There are a lot of bright colors on display here and they all come through quite well. It is reflected in the costumes and scenery taking and the film does have a color palette that makes for an engaging visual look that is natural and bold.

Flesh Tones: Facial textures are wonderful here.  There is a nice level of warmth as well as plenty of detail to take note of.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing.

 

Audio:

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Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Equally impressive as the video, the audio track does a fine job all around.  We hear a lot of music and dialogue and it all comes through quite strong.  This film’s lossless track provides a lively and rich experience, well-fitted with the film we get to watch.

Low Frequency Extension: Thanks to the great use of music, there is plenty of work for the LFE channel.

Surround Sound Presentation: A great mix here, as we can clearly here all that is offered in the soundtrack, score, dialogue, sound effect, and ambient noise balanced quite well across each channels. The front gets the most emphasis in quieter scenes, but there is no real issue to be found.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone sings and speaks clearly.

 

Extras:

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Not a lot to offer, but the fans that love this series at least have something to enjoy.

Features Include:

  • Promotional Featurettes (HD) – A series of brief featurettes going over various aspects behind the scenes.
    • Story
    • Cast
    • Returning to the Marigold Hotel
    • Blossoming Relationships
    • The Marigold Wedding
    • Filming In India
  • Gallery (HD)
  • Theatrical Trailers (HD)
  • Digital Copy of the Film

Summary:

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This is not a film series I have found myself enjoying very much. As much as I may try, the cast is just not enough for me. There are some lively performances and moments, but these stories are incredibly dry and this sequel is especially tiresome. The sequel did not make a huge splash at the box office, so I am not sure what the future holds, but fans may get what they want out of a sequel that features more of these characters.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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