The Doors appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not a terrible presentation, the image came with problems.
Edge haloes created the most obvious issues, as notable haloes showed up throughout the movie. These gave the film an unappealing look at times and affected sharpness. Definition usually seemed decent to good, but the image lacked the delineation it should’ve delivered. I also sensed a “digital” look to the proceedings, as it didn’t look especially film-like. At least print flaws remained minimal.
In terms of colors, Doors tended toward hot hues, with an emphasis on orange. That became too much of a trend, I thought, as it made skin tones less than natural, but overall, the colors were satisfying. Blacks tended to be a little inky, and shadows lacked great smoothness. This would’ve been a much better presentation without the digital “sharpening”.
The DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundfield favored the forward channels, which provided engaging stereo separation for the music. Not surprisingly, the songs of the Doors were the stars of the show, and these tunes came across as accurate and well-defined. Some fine ambiance also can be heard in the front speakers, as the track presented a nicely natural and well-placed mix.
The surrounds kicked in some support of the songs and also added a lot of atmospheric effects as well. These aspects significantly aided the impact of the movie’s “trippier” scenes and gave the film a solid presence. I found the soundfield to be both appropriate throughout the movie.
Audio quality was fine. Speech appeared natural and concise, without obvious edginess or other issues. Music offered good clarity but could’ve boasted better low-end; bass response seemed a bit lacking. Effects were accurate and full. This was a satisfactory mix.
When we shift to extras, we start with an audio commentary from writer/director Oliver Stone. Although this was a fairly good track, I must admit I found it moderately disappointing because it didn’t live up to the high quality of many of Stone’s other commentaries.
Stone tends to discuss the facts of Morrison’s life - and also refers to instances where he used creative license - or he talks about technical aspects of making the film. Stone briefly touches on the ways that the music moved him and other cultural issues, but these stay in the minority.
It’s a drier commentary than his impassioned discussions of Heaven and Earth and JFK, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad track. Because other Stone spiels tend to be so good, he raised my expectations, so while his talk about The Doors is as good or better than most other commentaries, it doesn’t match up with Stone’s more compelling efforts. For fans of the film, the track definitely merits a listen, but it’s not a great piece.
Called The Road to Excess, a 38-minute, 42-second piece combines shots from the film, some footage from the set, real images of Morrison and the other Doors, plus “modern” (circa 1997) interviews with Stone, Kilmer, Whaley, Richard Rutowski, and real-life Patricia Kennealy and Robbie Krieger. It’s a gloriously honest and up-front work that seems consistently entertaining and compelling.
The participants shed a lot of light on the production and also just how realistic its depictions were; apparently Kennealy is still cheesed about the way she was portrayed, and justifiably since Stone made her character a composite of a bunch of women. The program flew by due to the excess of fascinating information; it’s a terrific piece.
14 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 43 minutes, 36 seconds of excised footage; note that the running time includes an introduction from Stone that briefly discusses each piece and indicates why he made his choices.
Many of the snippets offer extended versions of existing scenes. A few seem interesting and might have merited inclusion - especially a scene in which Morrison cries after sex with a couple of teenage girls - but for the most part, Stone made the right choice. The movie runs too long as it is, and these pieces would have added to the slowness. Nonetheless, it’s fun to see them here.
We find a six-minute, 19-second original featurette that aired around the time of the film’s 1991 theatrical release. Essentially it’s a glorified trailer that mainly promotes the movie, though it adds some mildly interesting sound bites and some good shots from the set. These elements are good enough to merit a watch, but don’t expect anything terrific from the program.
The Doors In LA lasts 19 minutes, 37 seconds and offers notes from Stone, Krieger, band member John Densmore, Rock Odyssey author Ian Whitcomb, I’m with the Band author Pamela des Barres, music industry publicist Laura Kaufman, and Three Dog Night keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon. “LA” offers a quick history of the Doors, and it does an efficient enough job of this.
A French documentary, Jim Morrison: A Poet in Paris goes for 52 minutes, eight seconds and presents info from author/composer/performer Phil Steele-Trainer, author/composer Philippe Dalecky, historian Herve Luxardo, author/composer/actor Jean-Luc Debattice, music producer Gilles Yepremyan, French fan club president Nicolas Lejeune, coroner Michele Rudler, and director/actor Laurent Sauvage. “Poet” tells us about Morrison’s late in life stay in Paris and aspects of his time there.
While it comes with some decent notes, “Poet” mostly takes a lot of time to tell us a little. We tend to hear more about the speakers and their thoughts about Morrison’s work than about Morrison himself. That makes this a passable but slow documentary.
The disc opens with ads for Rambo, Liquid, Belly, 3:10 to Yuma and Crank. We also get a trailer for Doors and five TV spots.
While The Doors is a fairly weak movie as a whole, at least it tried to be something different and gave us an unusual experience. Granted, it fails to achieve most of its goals, but the film offers some moments of interest, largely due to a strong performance by Val Kilmer. The Blu-ray brings us good audio and supplements but visuals suffer from problems. The Doors remains a sporadically provocative movie but it lacks consistency.