The Craft appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I found this to be a disappointing transfer.
At best, sharpness was average. Even the most detailed scenes remained a bit soft and lackluster – and those were the best of the bunch. Actually, most of the movie displayed acceptable definition, but it rarely boasted greater clarity, and more than a few soft, indistinct shots came along for the ride. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws also failed to manifest themselves, though grain could be heavier than expected.
Colors looked drab. Some of that seemed to be by design, as the movie opted for a subdued palette. Nonetheless, I thought the hues tended to be more lifeless than they should be, even within the confines of the stylistic choices. Blacks came across as somewhat muddy and inky, and shadows tended to be too dense and flat. This wasn’t an awful picture, but it seemed mediocre.
At least the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Craft worked better. The soundfield seemed broad and engulfing from start to finish. The forward spectrum offered quite a lot of ambient sound from the side speakers and blended it all nicely, with a well-integrated presentation. The surrounds also kicked in a lot of information as well and they provided effective reinforcement for the front channels; the rears really added quite a punch to the proceedings.
Audio quality seemed strong as well. Dialogue generally sounded clear and natural, though some lines came across as slightly harsh and edgy; in any case, intelligibility was always good. Effects were clear and realistic and displayed no signs of distortion. Music was a minor weak link, mostly due to the quality of the rock songs it featured. While the score showed good vivacity, the tunes tended to be thin and without much impact. Nonetheless, enough of the track impressed to earn it a “B+”.
In terms of extras, we open with an audio commentary from co-writer Andrew Fleming. He provides a running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, themes and symbolism, sets and locations, visual choices and effects, and a few other filmmaking topics.
I thought Fleming offered an enjoyable but unexceptional look at the film. Fleming provided some good details about the movie and gave us some useful information about techniques used, but like the picture itself, there wasn’t a whole lot of depth. However, it's still a pretty good commentary that will be of interest to fans of the film.
Two featurettes appear on the disc. First up is Conjuring The Craft, a 24-minute, 35-second program about the movie. It combines more contemporary interviews with Tunney, True, Fleming, writer Peter Filardi and producer Douglas Wick with film clips, behind the scenes shots and some older sound bites from Campbell and Balk. It's a decent program that offers a nice look at the creation of the film. It covers some of the same territory discussed in Fleming's commentary but looks at some different issues and obviously provides other perspectives. It's a fairly ordinary piece but one that merits a look.
A second featurette comes from the era of the film's original 1996 release. As one might expect, the five-minute, 59-second Original Behind the Scenes is little more than a glorified trailer that promotes the movie. Actually, it's not bad for an example of its genre as it gives us a few interesting sound bites and some nice footage from the set. However, it's still a pretty bland program.
The DVD includes three deleted scenes, all of which can be viewed with or without commentary from Fleming. These clips run between 25 seconds to three minutes, 25 seconds for a total of six minutes, 37 seconds. The segments are mildly interesting but nothing special and their absence isn't problematic. Fleming's comments effectively relate the reasons why the pieces didn't make the final film.
The disc opens with an ad for Blu-ray Disc. More promos show up under Previews. In addition to the Blu-ray clip, that area includes pieces for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Da Vinci Code, Ghostbusters, and Men in Black. No trailer for The Craft shows up here.
I can't say that The Craft is a great film, but if offers a moderately-entertaining little diversion highlighted mainly by the fact Robin Tunney looks extremely good in the movie. The Blu-ray gives us very good audio and some interesting extras, but picture quality is mediocre. This is a somewhat disappointing release.