Elegy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The film featured a good but unexceptional transfer.
Sharpness usually appeared acceptably accurate and detailed. At times, however, I found the image to come across as a little fuzzy and soft, with lesser definition seen in some of the wide shots. Nonetheless, most of the movie appeared clear and appropriately focused. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, but I noticed some light edge enhancement at times. In terms of print flaws, I saw a couple of small marks but that was it.
In terms of colors, the flick went with a moderately subdued set of tones. Hues stayed on the natural side, and the tones looked fine. A few shots displayed more vivid colors, but most remained pretty low-key. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows appeared clear and well-developed. The image didn’t excel, but it was acceptable to good..
As for the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a functional effort and that was all. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of character drama, and I got exactly what I anticipated. In terms of effects, general ambience ruled the day. Surround usage stayed limited; the back speakers gently fleshed out various settings but rarely did more than that.
In those forward channels, the music provided nice stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but the effects conveyed a passable sense of space and place. The track functioned appropriately for the story.
Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and speech displayed no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate; there wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. The music came across as acceptably distinctive. This became a decent reproduction of the material.
When we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from screenwriter Nicholas Meyer. He offers a running, screen-specific discussion of the original novella and its adaptation, script and story issues, themes, story, characters, cast and performances, the change of the title from The Dying Animal, and a few other production topics.
Meyer provides a spotty track. At his best, he offers some good insights into his script and issues connected to the story. Meyer even relates some differences of opinion between himself and the director.
Unfortunately, Meyer starts with general thoughts about adaptations and it takes him a while to become more concrete. He also falls silent too often and occasionally just narrates the movie. We might’ve been better served by an interview featurette with Meyer than a full commentary; while he gives us good material, there’s not nearly enough to fill the film’s 112 minutes.
A featurette called The Poetry of Elegy fills five minutes, eight seconds, and includes notes from director Isabel Coixet, and actors Ben Kingsley, Penelope Cruz, and Dennis Hopper. We find a few notes about cast, characters, the director and the film. Though we find a smattering of decent insights, this remains a promotional program with little substance.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Blu-Ray Disc, Fragments and Rachel Getting Married. In addition, these appear in the Previews area along with promos for Dark Streets, Vinyan, What Doesn’t Kill You, I’ve Loved You So Long, Waltz with Bashir, Nothing But the Truth, The Lodger, The Fall, Cadillac Records, Synecdoche, New York, Not Easily Broken, Volver and Breaking Bad. No trailer for Elegy shows up here.
A subtle character piece, Elegy succeeds due to the nuances of its script and the three-dimensional performances of its actors. Though the movie doesn’t feature much of a story, it draws viewers in with these elements and manages to often become special. The DVD provides reasonably good picture and audio along with mediocre extras. Though this never becomes a stellar release, the movie remains involving enough to earn my recommendation.