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Cyrano (Blu-ray Review)

The tale of Cyrano de Bergerac has been adapted to film directly, twisted around, reimagined or informed other films a rather large amount of times throughout history. Coming in toward the end of 2021, director Joe Wright brought us a lovely musical adaptation with Peter Dinklage taking the mantle. This adaptation was based on the 2018 musical of the same name. Essentially, an adaptation of an adaptation. The film was released by Universal on Blu-ray (Bummer, no 4K, this would have looked really pretty) on April 19th. Cyrano came with a DVD copy and digital code to redeem. Extras are light, with a brief “Making Of” coming in at under 10 minutes. Nonetheless, the strength of the film speaks for itself and probably is one of the more overlooked films of last year. Order yourself a copy by using the paid Amazon Associates link below.

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Film

Award-winning director Joe Wright envelops movie lovers in a symphony of emotions with music, romance, and beauty in Cyrano, re-imagining the timeless tale of a heartbreaking love triangle. Cyrano de Bergerac (Peter Dinklage) dazzles with both ferocious wordplay and brilliant swordplay, but is convinced that his appearance makes him unworthy of the love of his devoted friend, Roxanne (Haley Bennett), who has fallen in love at first sight with Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.).

Joe Wright’s Cyrano is a film that is incredibly impossible not to fall for. From the performances, the elegance, the execution and the songs, you’ll find yourself instantly swept away. His film has a sort of calm, calculated patience that forms a comfortable and pretty feeling when watching it. There’s a grand ambition here with what feels like limited resources, yet the overall mood it generations is a pleasing calm when watching it. Wright’s film has an impressive sense of welcoming to it that I’m not sure I’ve felt much or in a long time. A film whose eases and complexities meat and live harmoniously.

The cast is a group that is led by a heavily likeable bunch, no matter how dastardly Ben Mendelsohn’s “De Guiche” is attempts to be. Dinklage, as if there would be any doubt, shines in one of his best performances he’s given in a career full of giving him credibility like that. There’s a real genuine sense of buying into what Cyrano de Bergerac is selling, which could be sort of tough, but Dinklage has you never questioning it. Haley Bennett is delightful and charming, with quite a presence that really accentuates and makes the film. I’m not too familiar with Kelvin Harrison Jr, but I will be moreso after this as he’s a complete treat and lights up the screen with every frame he wanders into.

Songs in the film are an interesting lot in the way they are performed. What I like about Wright’s direction toward these is that he’s not trying to show stop or bring the house down with every number. They fit the scene and the emotion of the character first. Which, yes, “duh” its a musical and that’s what they are supposed to do. But, there’s a real sense of this one doing that in interesting degrees. From speak singing to, little quieter ballads and then some grand set pieces, it really sends you through an emotional journey just through the song. Its also accompanied by some beautiful and brilliant choreography.

From the looks of it and its reception, Cyrano looked like a very good film. Though, after seeing it, it managed to even outdo those higher set expectations. This is a harmonious little film, with an insanely likeable cast and some very clever and skilled directing on display you may not have expected. 2021 saw a pretty good surge in musicals at the movies and its quite disappointing that none of them wound up big hits as we received some incredibly strong contributions to the genre in many varied, diverse ways.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Disappointingly, Cyrano didn’t get a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release. But, it didn’t necessarily set the box office on fire either (And I believe MGM movies aside from Bond haven’t really seen much in the way of 4K). Nonetheless, the film carries an image that is the best one could offer on the format. The color palette looks beautiful here in this crisp image. Details are both strong and striking. Aside from not being on the better format, there shouldn’t be much complaint.

Depth:  Depth of filed is rather strong, with good pushback and separation between the performers and the environment. Movement is smooth, natural and filmic with no issues regarding any motion distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and close to natural as you could hope for. The contrast is strong, really sharpening the look of the frame. Good shading and darkness that still maintains strong texture, patterns and details. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors have a wonderfully elegant renaissance look to them. There’s a pastel flavor, some genuine, natural looks and a good pop on some fabrics and upholstery where appropriate. Golds and browns have a bold appearance and really strengthen up some of the more desert/regular looking environments.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and keep a consistent appearance from the opening number to the curtain call. Facial features and textures are clear as day as you can make out blemishes, make-up lines, wrinkles, stubble and more with ease.

Noise/Artifacts: None

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS, English Descriptive Video Service 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: This was only mixed for 7.1 at the theatrical level so its not like we aren’t missing out on some Atmos mix. And this track is quite impressive, with great balance, volume placement and layering throughout. The vocals come on pure, crisp and accompany the lossless music accompaniment. Its a pleasurable, natural and polished track that’ll captivate you as you sink into the experience.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Subwoofer has nice pleasant hum and boom to it. There is a good amount of sufficient impact be it in the foley sound effects of the bass in the music.

Surround Sound Presentation: This one wonderfully sweeps around the room, speaker to speaker with a natural sense of travel. Ambiance is well set to craft the environments and no speaker goes without having some sort of important use to it.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Cyrano comes with the DVD edition and a redeemable digital code.

An Epic Adventure: The Making of Cyrano (HD, 9:10) – A brief “Making Of” featurette that wants to be fluff, but has a little more edge in being introspective and has a nice attention to crafting the score for the film.

Summary

Cyrano is a pretty exceptional musical tale of romance and poetry. Joe Wright showcases some flare with a game cast that all prove memorable in roles bit and small. Technical merits are the strongest they can be for the format, with a great image and outstanding 7.1 mix. I only wish extras could be more, but this day and age with a modern release that didn’t do huge box office, I guess we’ll take what we can get. The film and presentation are strong enough to recommend on their own.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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