Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Popcorn & Coffee: The Young Pope Blu-ray Review

HBO; TV-MA; 600 minutes

Available today on Blu-ray + Digital HD from HBO Home Entertainment is the critically acclaimed mini-series The Young Pope. Created by the Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Paolo Sorrentino, the ten-episode series stars Jude Law, Diane Keaton, Scott Shepherd, James Cromwell, Ludivine Sagnier, Silvio Orlando, Cecile De France, Javier Camara, and Toni Bertorelli.

The Young Pope tells the fictional story of the first-ever American Pope, Lenny Belardo, a.k.a Pius XIII (played by Jude Law). The College of Cardinals elected Lenny, as they thought he would be easier to control than the older and more experienced clerics. However, the Cardinals and the entire world are in for a surprise, as Pius XIII plans on setting his own rules for the Vatican.

By Pius XIII's side is Sister Mary (played Diane Keaton), the nun who became his mother after his parents had abandoned him at a young age. Unlike previous Popes, Lenny refuses to be seen in public and doesn't allow himself to be photographed. He wastes no time announcing strict initiatives for the Vatican, which backfires with the world's followers.

Special Features on the Blu-ray are:

The Making of The Young Pope
An Invitation to the Set
Inside the Episodes

Final Thoughts: The Young Pope is HBO's most surreal and bizarre series to date. From the opening scene featuring Jude Law crawling from underneath a pile of CGI babies, I had no idea what to expect from the limited series. The first two episodes are really slow and a bit too drawn out. However, the writing and the pacing picks up with the third episode, which is when I finally became interested with the series.

While I'm not the biggest fan of Jude Law or Diane Keaton, both of them gave exceptional performances throughout the 10-episode run. Law's American accent was a bit annoying when I first heard it, but I eventually got use to it.

The picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray are both excellent. There aren't too many special features or extras on the three-disc set, though it's on par with other HBO releases.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed watching The Young Pope. As I already said, the first few episodes are a bore, but I became interested in the story by episode three. The series is beautiful and and at the same time slightly oddball.

A sequel mini-series, The New Pope, is currently in the development.

*I received a complimentary copy from HBO Home Entertainment. All opinions are my own.

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