88 Minutes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This came as a rather mediocre transfer.
Sharpness varied. Some shots looked pretty concise and accurate, but more than a few instances of softness interfered. In particular, wider shots tended to be a bit fuzzy and indistinct. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but I saw mild edge enhancement. Source flaws remained absent, though grain could be heavy. That appeared to be a style choice, but it seemed over the top and made the image less attractive.
Speaking of that, the film’s palette went down a highly stylized path. The movie emphasized a blue tint much of the time, though it also sometimes went for a more yellow or green look. The movie clearly favored fairly monochromatic selections, and these gave it a bit of a bland look. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows were pretty good; they seemed appropriately dense. Overall, the image was too soft and messy to merit more than a “C”.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of 88 Minutes, it proved to be more satisfying. It seemed more active than expected and used all five channels well. The flick threw out good elements to accentuate the drama, and environmental material seemed engulfing. Various vehicles and elements zipped around the spectrum in a convincing way, and the track created a great feeling for atmosphere. It wasn’t something with real killer sequences, but it packed a good punch.
Audio quality was solid. Music showed nice range and clarity, as the score was consistently bright and full. Effects also came across as accurate and concise; some good low-end emerged from both effects and music. Speech was natural and distinctive at all times. This was a very good soundtrack.
A few extras fill out the set. First comes an audio commentary with director Jon Avnet. He provides a running, screen-specific chat that looks at how he came onto the project, cast and performances, research and aspects of the story, sets and locations, and a few other production elements.
A dull movie provides a dull commentary. On occasion, Avnet throws out some interesting notes, but much of the time he simply describes the action on the screen. He also offers lots of praise for all involved. I’d listened to Avnet commentaries for some other efforts, and they were boring as well. Avnet’s commentary skills haven’t improved, so it becomes a chore to listen to this track.
An Alternate Ending runs 10 minutes, 11 seconds. It presents the same climax found in the theatrical cut but it adds a coda absent from that version. It’s not an effective conclusion to the film, mostly because it’s preachy and excessively explanatory.
Two featurettes follow. Director’s Point of View lasts seven minutes, 47 seconds as it presents Avnet’s thoughts about working with Al Pacino, characters and story, the movie’s themes, and some general notes about his directorial methods. Don’t expect much real insight here. Avnet throws out a few vaguely interesting concepts, but it seems clear “View” exists to promote the film, so it doesn’t deliver much real content.
The Character Within goes for seven minutes, 49 seconds. It features actor Al Pacino as he discusses his character, the story, and aspects of his performance. As with “View”, we get an insubstantial piece here. Essentially Pacino just recaps the flick’s plot and personalities, so don’t look for much more than that.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Lakeview Terrace, The Lazarus Project, and Blu-Ray Disc. These also appear in the disc’s Previews area along with trailers for Quarantine, Quantum of Solace, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Hancock, Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, Prom Night, 21, Made of Honor, Vantage Point, Starship Troopers: Marauder, Resident Evil: Degeneration, Zombie Strippers, Redbelt, The Shield, Untraceable, The Art of War II: Betrayal, Tortured, Felon, The Fall and “Hot Action Movies”. No trailer for 88 Minutes appears here.
At its heart, 88 Minutes boasted the potential to be a clever, tense thriller. In reality, it provided a dull, somnambulant piece of piffle. The DVD offers drab picture along with very good audio and mediocre extras. Dull and forgettable, 88 Minutes consistently disappoints.