31 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a consistently positive presentation.
Sharpness came across well. Occasional interiors demonstrated a smidgen of softness, but not to a major degree, so most of the flick appeared accurate and concise. I saw no jaggies or moiré effects, and unintentional print flaws were absent. A few elements went for a fake “aged” appearance, but those were infrequent and not an issue.
In terms of palette, 31 started with an arid, bleached sensibility, but that changed when the “game” started. At that point, teal dominated, with some orange and yellow involved as well. The colors seemed appropriately developed. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows seemed clear and smooth. I thought the transfer worked fine.
I also felt pleased with the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, though I can’t claim it excelled. Much of the material concentrated on environment, as the film lacked many moments that made compelling use of the channels.
Still, the track balanced well and created a good sense of the various settings. We got some nice localized speech and enough action to add involvement to the package. Music also used the speakers nicely and gave a boost to the soundtrack.
Audio quality satisfied. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, while music was full and dynamic. Effects showed good accuracy and clarity. Though never an especially memorable soundtrack, the mix suited the movie.
Two prominent extras show up here, and the first presents an audio commentary with writer/director Rob Zombie. He provides a running, screen-specific look at photography and editing, cast and performances, story/character areas, visual design, stunts, action and effects, sets and locations, music and related areas.
Overall, Zombie offers an engaging and informative track. He touches on all the expected topics and does so in a chatty manner. Zombie ensures we get a nice overview in this good discussion.
A documentary called In Hell Everybody Loves Popcorn runs two hours, 11 minutes and 27 seconds. It includes remarks from Zombie, costume designer Carrie Grace, makeup special effects designer Wayne Toth, editor Glenn Garland, cinematographer David Daniel, production designer Rodrigo Cabral, assistant director Gabriel Williams, stunt coordinator Steve Dunlevy, producer Mike Elliott, “A” camera operator BJ McConnell, composer John 5, and actors Gabriel Pimentel, Torsten Voges, Jane Carr, Pancho Moler, Meg Foster, Kevin Jackson, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Richard Brake, Jeff Daniel Phillips, David Ury, Dan Roebuck, Andrea Dora and Esperanza America.
Through “Popcorn”, we look at locations, makeup, wardrobe and props, casting and performances, cinematography, music, stunts and action, effects, editing, and Zombie’s overall impact on the film.
Despite the number of participants who comment on the movie, Zombie dominates those interviews – and even he doesn’t speak all that often. Instead, “Popcorn” acts much more as a production diary. It follows the shoot in chronological order and consists largely of “fly on the wall” material.
This technique works fairly well. I admit I’d prefer a more traditional documentary that concentrated more on interviews, but we learn a fair amount from Zombie and the others. The footage of the production gives us nice glimpses of the shoot and help make this a pretty good program.
The disc opens with ads for Blair Witch, The Devil’s Rejects, Cell, Knock Knock, and Cooties. No trailer for 31 appears here.
Will fans of Rob Zombie’s style of hyper-violent horror enjoy 31? Maybe, but the movie leaves the rest of us out in the cold, as it lacks any of the necessary components to become a compelling experience. The Blu-ray brings us satisfying picture and audio as well as some informative bonus materials. Perhaps someday Zombie will make a good movie, but 31 isn’t it.