Patrick Stewart is King Henry II of England. He is on the verge of announcing the heir tohis throne. Trouble is, none of his sons are fit to rule, and two of them previously were part ofa rebellion against him, led by his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine (Glenn Close). He summons hisfamily to his seat of power, and the stage is set for all sorts of palace intrigue.
The screenplay is the same one used in the original film — James Goldman’s adaptation ofhis play. As present…d here, it has aged somewhat, and feel a bit stagey. The cast is impressive,but Stewart seems rather robust for a man supposedly nearing his end. The original had PeterO’Toole in the role, and there’s an actor who can project decay. The sets, though attractive, arealso rather sparsely populated, betraying the budgetary limitations.
The sound comes in both 5.1 and 2.0 options, which is more than one usually gets with a TVproduct. Most of the surround effects are the province of the music, which is properlymajestic. There are some nice sound effects (such as distant thunder), but also plenty ofmissed opportunities (a crowded banquet scene has very little surround, despite the rowdyguests).
The picture is fullscreen, naturally, and the colours are very high-key. The flesh tones area bit too pink. The image is sharp by TV standards, though it is a bit softer in long shots. Thereis no grain or edge enhancement, and the blacks are very good. Once in a while, the picturepulses a little bit.
You have your standard issue making-of featurette, and that’s it. The menu is scored, andthe scene selection screen is animated.
An ambitious and literate, if not wholly successful, production.
Special Features List
- Making-of Featurette