The Big Short appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film came with a fairly good image.
For the most part, sharpness seemed positive. Occasionally, I saw a bit of softness, especially during interiors. However, the majority of the film delivered nice clarity and accuracy. I saw no jagged edges or moiré effects, and the presentation lacked source defects.
In terms of palette, Short tended to mix teal and amber. This never became a dynamic set of hues, but the colors seemed appropriately rendered. Blacks appeared dark and tight, while shadows looked smooth and clear. In the end, the image remained generally solid.
The Big Short came with a newfangled DTS-X soundtrack, one that downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1 for those of us without systems equipped for DTS-X playback. Given its subject matter, this seemed like an odd choice for such a fancy-pants sound format, and it remained an odd choice, though the track did open up at times.
Actually, the mix occasionally became a little too aggressive in the way it handled music. The track spread score and songs to all the channels, and at times, these slightly overwhelmed the dialogue.
Otherwise, this was a soundscape heavy on environmental material. The audio used these elements in a satisfying manner, as the various situations became involving. Nothing I could call especially “exciting” occurred, but scenes on the streets or in Las Vegas or in other locations managed to add a good sense of place.
Audio quality worked fine. Despite the balance issues, speech remained natural and concise, while effects appeared accurate and distinctive. Music boasted solid range and clarity. No one will use this soundtrack as a demo reel, but it suited the narrative.
In terms of extras, the disc mostly includes featurettes. In the Tranches: Casting runs 15 minutes, 51 seconds and provides info from co-screenwriter/director Adam McKay, producers Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, writer Michael Lewis, and actors Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Rafe Spall, Steve Carell, Adepero Oduye, Jeremy Strong, Hamish Linklater, Finn Wittrock and John Magaro. As implied by the title, “Tranches” examines cast, characters and performances. It gives us a nice look at the various actors.
During the 11-minute, 31-second The Big Leap, we hear from McKay, Gosling, Bale, Carell, Linklater, Kleiner, Gardner, Lewis, Strong, Spall, Wittrock, Magaro, cameo actors Selena Gomez and Anthony Bourdain and co-screenwriter Charles Randolph. We learn of McKay’s interest in the project and his approach to the material. Some of this feels self-congratulatory, but the piece offers a decent mix of details.
Unlikely Heroes: The Characters of The Big Short fills 11 minutes, 28 seconds with details from McKay, Bale, Strong, Randolph, Magaro, Lewis, Gosling, Carell, Wittrock, Kleiner, Spall, Gardner, and character inspiration Porter Collins. Like the title says, “Heroes” delivers more thoughts about the movie’s characters. I hoped this would dig into specifics about the real-life participants, and we get a little of that, but mainly it discusses the movie’s characters. It doesn’t offer much depth.
Next comes The House of Cards: The Rise of the Fall. It goes for 14 minutes, one second and features McKay, Strong, Gosling, Bale, Lewis, Randolph, Carell, Wittrock and technical consultant Adam Davidson. “House” discusses the facts behind the movie’s tale. Some of this seems redundant if you’ve seen the film, but “House” still offers insights.
Finally, Getting Real: Recreating an Era takes up 11 minutes, 13 seconds with comments from McKay, Carell, Kleiner, Gardner, Wittrock, Gosling, Bale, editor Hank Corwin, director of photography Barry Ackroyd, and costume designer Susan Matheson. “Real” examines camerawork, editing, and costumes. “Real” presents a good mix of notes about these behind the scenes elements.
Five Deleted Scenes occupy a total of six minutes, 28 seconds. We see “Vennett’s Call/The Real Danny Moses – Extended” (0:49), “Florida Visit” (0:55), “Burry Homelife” (0:56), “Burry Asperger’s” (3:00) and “Danny Heart Attack” (0:50).
Most seem pretty good, though “Asperger’s” feels redundant, as it takes too long to spell out what we already know. The others work well, especially when we get the cameo from Danny Moses.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Short. It lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras.
With The Big Short, we get a fairly entertaining take on a complicated subject. While it doesn’t hit on all cylinders, it does more than enough right to succeed. The Blu-ray brings us mostly positive picture and audio along with a decent package of bonus materials. I’d like a better roster of supplements, but I still like Short enough to endorse this release.