Judge Bill Gibron can't wait for the first same sex royal wedding.
Willy and the Commoner Get Hitched…Royal Style!
In case you hadn't heard, or were buried under the rock of post-colonial freedom, the British Royal Family celebrated yet another meaningless milestone in their otherwise ersatz-sitcom like reign. With the non-Mirren Queen herself about to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee (that's 60 years, kiddies) and her hubby Phillip approaching the big 9-0, it's about time the young people got into the act. King in waiting William, son of sitting throne saver Charles and his late wife Diana, took a consort on 29 April, 2011, and for the first time in many a moon, the bride was not some well placed member of the UK hierarchy. While Catherine "Kate" Middleton's parents are indeed beyond wealthy, their daughter holds no station, meaning Big Bill reached down across imperceptible class lines and plucked an Eliza Doolittle out of the seemingly endless pool of potential paramours. Granted, this is one fancified female, but in the fairy tale world of lingering monarchs, it's every little girl's dream.
The BBC understands this all too well. In presenting the two hours of coverage culled from their obsessive filming of this event, the landmark broadcaster has made sure everything is in place. From reporters ready to pounce on every fashion detail (and misstep) to a camera inside the actual bell tower of Westminster Abbey, they have every detail covered. Indeed, such a flawless overview of the relatively brief church service (with lots of droning dirge hymns in between) indicates that, when it comes to their tourism bread and butter, no one serves Her Majesty better. This is indeed a sumptuous presentation, a blow by blow breakdown, from the short drive from holding area to chapel, the greeting and meeting of dignitaries, and the secret trip inside the special chamber where all royals go to certify their marriage. As the well versed and voiced correspondents infer "oohs" and "aahs" and the occasional bit of trivia traipses by, it's easy to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance. Nothing is out of place. Everything is polished and perfection.
This doesn't mean it's boring, however. Sure, after you've seen one cherubic boys choir sing a song in an octave that would make the male member of Glee jealous, you've seen them all, but it's the minor bits that keep The Royal Wedding engaging. During the opening, William and Kate snicker and speak to each other in unintelligible but otherwise obvious in-joking. Something about saying "I Do" in front of the world makes the pair appear giddy and very down to Earth. Similarly, it's amazing to see the rest of the royals, all decked out in their finery, find a purpose for their existence. They come across as the biggest band of freeloaders ever. Along with the archaic setting and prim priests, Westminster is amazing to look at. It reeks of the history that the hosts constantly remind us of. Finally, it's fun to hear the various speculations, arguments over when (and if) William will take the throne. His father, Prince Charles, isn't looking any younger, but the running theory is that it will be 20 to 25 years before his son is King—that is, if the UK still allows sovereign rule then.
From the opening images to the last act procession through the crowds (and the all important balcony revue…and kiss) The Royal Wedding is a lot of fun. It is also beautiful to look at, thanks in part to the nifty 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image. The colors pop and the whole experience—sans the high definition format—is filled with clear close-ups and lots of detail. On the sound side of things, the Dolby Digital Stereo mix is mindful of the somber occasion. It never overshadows the ceremony and leaves plenty of space for singing, preaching, and the occasional prayer. As for added content, there is a 50 minute documentary on the Royal Couple which features their romance and the revelation of their planned nuptials. Unlike other quickie souvenir versions of the same thing, this has the BBC's stamp of approval all over it.
Okay—so the potential future King of England gets married to his long time college sweetheart. She looks great and he looks happy. Been there, done that, right? Well, not exactly. This time around, The Royal Wedding feels a bit less stodgy and more contemporary than before. Besides, like any trip into fantasy, it's fascinating to watch.
Not Guilty. Glamour and a good overview of the 29 April event.
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Studio: BBC Video
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