Bernie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Overall, this was a positive image.
Virtually no softness interfered with the presentation. Across the board, the movie displayed solid clarity and delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.
In terms of palette, Bernie went with a golden tint typical of this sort of effort. Within that choice, the hues were fine and full. Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots boasted nice clarity. No issues arose in this appealing presentation.
Don’t expect much more than a standard (dark) comedy mix from the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. Community and church scenes gave us a decent sense of place, but that was about it. The audio tended to be pretty restrained, so we didn’t get a lot of involvement and activity. This was fine for a movie of this sort, however, so the low-key soundfield wasn’t a detriment.
Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects lacked much to stand out, but they appeared accurate, and they showed mild punch when necessary. All of this seemed good enough for a “B-“.
We get a smattering of extras here, highlighted by three featurettes. Amazing Grace runs seven minutes, 16 seconds and includes comments from director/co-producer/co-writer Richard Linklater, choreographer Robin Lewis, Zach Theater artistic director Dave Steakley, producer Ginger Sledge, composer Graham Reynolds, and actors Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine. “Grace” looks at the lead character and Black’s performance. A few decent behind the scenes shots appear, but not much useful information arrives in this Black-glorifying puff piece.
In the nine-minute, 27-second True Story to Film, we hear from Linklater, Black, MacLaine, co-writer Skip Hollandsworth, and actor Matthew McConaughey. We learn about the project’s evolution, aspects of the story and characters, and cast and performances. “Film” delivers more substance than the lightweight “Grace”, but it’s still not especially meaty. Still, at least it gives us a smattering of good notes.
The Gossips goes for 12 minutes, 59 seconds and offers info from Linklater, funeral home director Bill Pennington and actor Sonny Davis. This piece looks at the “Greek chorus” found in the film; it usually focuses on the extemporaneous chats that comprised their audition tapes. These are moderately interesting to see.
11 Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 10 minutes, 44 seconds. These tend to consist of extensions to existing sequences or minor tidbits. Nothing notable appears here.
The disc opens with ads for A Little Bit of Heaven, Rampart, Intruders and Red Lights. These also appear under Previews along with the trailer for Bernie.
With Bernie, we get a juicy tale told in an off-putting manner. The use of a “Greek chorus” as narration distances the viewer from the story and makes it less effective. The Blu-ray provides excellent visuals, acceptable audio and a few supplements. The film remains watchable but fails to elevate above that level.