Downsizing appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The visuals held up fairly well.
Sharpness looked largely appropriate, though some softness crept in at times. Still, overall delineation remained mostly satisfying, so the image usually seemed accurate and concise. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes or source flaws.
In terms of colors, the movie opted for orange and teal, though it kept these subdued, so they didn’t go crazy. The low-key palette seemed satisfactory.
Blacks were pretty dark and tight, and low-light shots displayed reasonable clarity, though I thought they could be a smidgen murky at times. While not excellent, the visuals appeared positive.
I wouldn’t anticipate fireworks from the audio from a character piece like Downsizing, and its DTS-HD MA 7.1 track gave me the expected affair. Music became the most prominent aspect of the soundfield, as the score and songs used the channels fairly well.
Effects had less to do. Ambience ruled the day, so not much more gave the track pop. This seemed appropriate, though, as the chatty flick didn’t come with many obvious opportunities for sonic sizzle. A thunderstorm brought out a little life and a few other louder scenes appeared, but these remained infrequent.
Audio quality appeared fine. Music was full and rich, while effects came across with appropriate accuracy, even if they usually lacked much punch due to a lack of ambition.
Speech came across as distinctive and concise. Nothing here excelled but the soundtrack fit the material.
Six featurettes fill out the disc, and we start with Working with Alexander. It takes up 12 minutes, 22 seconds and provides info from casting director John Jackson, editor Kevin Tent, writer/director Alexander Payne, producer Mark Johnson, executive producer Diana Pokorny, director of photography Phedon Papamichael, production designer Stefania Cella, visual effects supervisor James E. Price, writer/producer Jim Taylor, 2nd unit DP Radan Popovic, associate producer/2nd unit director Tracy Boyd, composer Rolfe Kent, and actors Matt Damon, Laura Dern, Hong Chau, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig, Neil Patrick Harris, Margo Martindale, Rolf Lassgard, and Margareta Petterson.
As implied by the title, “Working” discusses Payne’s actions on the set. Though we get a few specifics about the filmmaking processes, it usually offers little more than praise for the director.
Next comes The Cast, an 11-minute, 30-second piece with Johnson, Jackson, Payne, Damon, Taylor, Pokorny, Chau, Wiig, Waltz, Harris, Dern, Martindale, Tent, Petterson, Lassgard, and actors Jason Sudeikis and Ingjerd Egeberg. Unsurprisingly, this one examines the actors and their performances. Also unsurprisingly, it doesn’t bring a lot of substance, as it prefers to focus on happy talk.
With A Visual Journey, we get a 14-minute, two-second program that offers notes from Pokorny, Payne, Cella, Papamichael, Johnson, Damon, Boyd, Chau, Egeberg, Wiig, property master David Gulick, set designer Liane Prevost, makeup department head Julie Hewett, art director Kim Zaharko and costume designer Wendy Chuck.
“Journey” covers set and production design, locations, costumes and makeup. Despite some of the usual praise, “Journey” brings us a pretty good collection of insights about the work done to bring out the “downsized” world.
During the nine-minute, six-second A Matter of Perspective. we hear from Price, Payne, Cella, Damon, Chau, and visual effects producer Susan MacLeod. This one focuses on effects, and it does so in a compelling manner.
That Smile goes for six minutes, 27 seconds and includes Johnson, Payne, Taylor, Boyd, Chau, Sudeikis, Wiig, MacLeod, Damon, Martindale and Tent. We learn that Damon is a wonderful guy and “his smile lights up the world”. Yawn.
Finally, A Global Concern runs six minutes, 39 seconds and provides thoughts from Payne, Price, Damon, Chau, Dern, Lassgard, Wiig, Sudeikis, Waltz, Jackson, Pokorny, Cella, Tent, Egeberg, Taylor, Boyd and Johnson. “Concern” talks about environmental topics and recycling.
It’s incredibly sanctimonious – I’m all for the efforts and consciousness under discussion but I don’t need to hear Hollywood honchos brag about how hard they work to save the world. It’s so smug that it makes me want to dump toxic waste in my nearest lake just to spite these people.
Prior to 2017, Alexander Payne had never made a bad movie. All good things come to an end, as the muddled, sluggish Downsizing demonstrates the director’s fallibility. The Blu-ray brings us generally positive picture and audio as well as erratic supplements. Even – and maybe especially - Payne diehards will likely disappointed with this messy misfire.