Captain Phillips appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the movie enjoyed a high-quality transfer.
Some variations occurred due to photographic choices, mainly because the filmmakers elected to shoot some scenes – mainly those with the pirates pre-attack – 16mm. Those could seem a little tentative but they still offered pretty good delineation.
Othetwise, sharpness usually seemed strong. A smidgen of softness crept into the occasional wide shot, but those instances remained modest and created little to detract from this well-defined image. I saw no moiré effects or jaggies, and neither edge haloes nor print flaws marred the proceedings.
Like most modern action flicks, Phillips heavily favored amber and teal. These choices may be tedious, but the Blu-ray reproduced them in a satisfying manner.
Blacks were dense and dark, while low-light shots offered smooth imaging. Even with the anomalies due to the 16mm elements, this still became a satisfying presentation.
As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a pretty high-octane mix. With a lot of action sequences, the various channels got a good workout and used the spectrum well.
These sequences took advantage of their opportunities. In particular, scenes on the water fared best, as these elements blended around the room in a dynamic manner. I also thought gunfire and other violent components used the soundfield well, and all this opened up matters to create a lively setting for the action.
Audio quality seemed strong. Music was peppy and full, and speech appeared natural and distinctive.
Effects offered good bang for the buck, as those elements showed nice clarity and dynamic range. The soundtrack complemented the movie well.
A few extras appear, and we open with an audio commentary from director Paul Greengrass. He brings a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and the real-life events, cast and performances, music, editing and camerawork, sets and locations, stunts and action.
Overall, Greengrass provides a good commentary. During the movie’s final act, he tends to lapse into narration mode, but he still adds enough useful material to make this a worthwhile chat.
Capturing Captain Phillips runs 58 minutes, 16 seconds and includes comments from Greengrass, Captain Richard Phillips, executive producer Gregory Goodman, cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, co-producer Michael Bronner, and actors Tom Hanks, Michael Chernus, Corey Johnson, Yul Vazquez, David Warshofsky, Chris Mulkey, Faysal Ahmed, and Barkhad Abdi.
“Capturing” examines the real events behind the film and its path to the screen, story/characters, sets, ships and locations, photography, Greengrass’s style and rehearsals/takes. It also covers cast and performances, stunts and action.
While “Capturing” doesn’t attempt a full overview of the production, it touches on a lot of good topics, and it does so in a rich manner. Its 58 minutes fly by during this strong documentary.
The disc opens with ads for Monuments Men, American Hustle and Last Vegas. Previews adds promos for Inside Llewyn Davis and The Armstrong Lie, but we get no trailer for Phillips.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Phillips. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.
An evocative take on a harrowing true story, Captain Phillips works well. While I remain less than excited with the director’s camera choices, the movie still becomes a vivid exploration of the drama. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio along with informative bonus materials. This ends up as a satisfying experience.