Monday, November 23, 2020

HBO's Perry Mason Blu Ray Review

Perry Manson Season One Blu Ray 12/1/2020

Created By: Ron Fitzgerald, Rollin Jones 

Starring: Mathew Rhys, John Lithgow, Juliet Rylance, Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, Tatianna Maslany 

Disclaimer: Warner Brothers has provided me with a copy of this series free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

     File the new Perry Mason under a gritty reboot I never knew I wanted but cannot live without. I`ll be up front and say that though I am very much aware of the original Perry Manson series, which ran an impressive nine seasons and a whooping two-hundred and seventy one episodes, I have never seen it. Therefore I will be judging the new series under its own merits and won't be comparing it with the original. Set in early '30's Hollywood, a down and out defense attorney named Perry Mason (Mathew Rhys) is investigating the brutal murder of a child. Of course, Mason unearths a web of lies, murder and corruption as he works the dirty underbelly of tinsel town. I think when you reboot a show especially one from the '50's it's important to right off the bat firmly establish the tone. Perry Mason does just that with the first episode which is teeming with sex, nudity, violence and, a dead baby with his eye's sown open. Clearly this isn't your grandfather's Perry Mason. I've heard other reviews saying that the show takes a little while to really get going, which, I think is a bit unfair. This series is as much about the characters as the crime itself so, I don't mind when we take some time to unfold Mason's backstory all whilst moving the mystery forward. This balancing act is not easy, as any screenwriter could attest to. For the record, I think it does a great job at introducing and developing characters all while never letting the story drag. Honestly, I don't think I found a filler episode this season. Every episode furthers the plot while also giving us ever growing insights into not only Mason but the supporting players as well. And while were on the subject, the acting is fantastic. Matthew Rhys plays the titular character and is really an inspired choice. Rhys Mason best known for The Americans is somehow likable even though he is clearly a troubled even cynical person. John Lithgow is always a delight to see in anything. The two time Oscar nominated and Emmy winning actor brings class to the affair. Gaye Rankin, Juliet Rylance and Lili Taylor are among the stellar performances that make this show a must-watch. The one aspect that seems to never get discussed is how great this film looks both in a realistic '30's design and how interesting camera angles and shot compositions are. It's something I think a lot of people take for granted but this is beautifully photographed and makes the most of lighting and style (without going over board). 2020's Perry Mason is a wonderful and frankly at times very dark outing but one that I think is very much worth exploring for yourself. 

Picture: Perry Mason is the kind of detailed show that is a must-see on HD. And, this 1080p presentation does not disappoint. Locales and set designs as well as the film's color palette are highlighted nicely and overall there is a richness in detail. Skin tones look natural. 

Sound:  Perry Mason has a DTS 5.1. This track offers a robust and complex sound presentation. Sound design is well handled and gives a full 3d sound experience in my opinion. 

Extras: Disc 1) The Characters of Perry Mason (2mins) A brief look at the characters within the show as told by the cast and crew including Juliet Rylance, Matthew Rhys, Joh Lithgow, Tatianna Maslany 
Chris Chalk 

Under the Fedora (4mins) Another short featurette on the show and characters as told by the director, writers and actors. Features some really nice behind the scenes footage. 

Disc 2)  Robert Downey Jr. & Matthew Rhys Conversation (4mins) a Zoom interview with Robert Downey Jr who serves as the shows Executive Producer and lead actor Matthew Rhys. This is a really fun and engrossing featurette. 

Susan Downey & Robert Downey Jr.  (4mins) Both Executive producers talk about the show from the origins as a scrapped feature film to television show. Really interesting and well worth a watch. 

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