A Few Good Men appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a good but erratic image.
Overall sharpness was fine, though some soft spots occurred. Parts of the movie provided excellent delineation, but I saw some elements that lacked great delineation. I sensed a bit of noise reduction, and I think that led to the mild softness.
No concerns with moiré effects or jagged edges occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws remained minor. I saw a couple of tiny specks but nothing more than that.
In terms of colors, Men favored a warm golden tone. Blues popped up for some of the more dramatic Marine scenes, but the golden tint dominated. These hues looked fine, as they showed appropriate delineation. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows were fine. A couple of night shots were a bit thick, but those remained minor. Overall, the movie offered a mostly positive presentation.
A Few Good Men offered a subdued but decent Uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack. Since this wasn’t exactly an action-packed flick, I didn’t anticipate a great deal of activity from the mix, and my expectations were met by this laid-back soundfield.
The forward channels displayed nice stereo separation for the film’s score, and a smattering of ambient effects cropped up from the side speakers as well. Actually, I suppose I heard more than just a “smattering” of sound, as the forward environment created a fairly decent atmosphere; at times it could provide some solid elements, such as cars that sped from one speaker to another. Still, there wasn’t a lot for the mix to do, so I’ll stick with my “smattering” judgment.
The surrounds became passive partners in this equation. From what I could tell, they featured little more than general reinforcement for the music and effects heard in the forward spectrum. As such, though they made the track sound a little more broad and engaging, they didn’t add a whole lot to the experience.
Audio quality generally seemed fine. At times speech appeared a little thin, but for the most part I felt that dialogue came across as acceptably natural and distinct, and I heard no problems related to edginess or intelligibility.
Effects seemed clear and accurate. Except for one gunshot and some thunder, dynamics were not impressive, but they had no reason to be; the track featured very few elements that pressed the range to perform.
Music featured greater depth, however, as Marc Shaiman’s score presented nicely tight and rich bass at times. The music definitely provided the strongest aspects of the soundtrack, as the score sounded warm and crisp throughout the film. Ultimately, although it was a very mild mix, the audio for A Few Good Men aptly complemented the film.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the Special Edition DVD from 2001? Audio was a little more dynamic, while visuals looked tighter and cleaner. Though the image was a bit erratic, it still showed obvious improvements.
The Blu-ray duplicates most of the DVD’s extras, and we start with a screen-specific running audio commentary from director Rob Reiner. Other Reiner commentaries tended to be fairly weak: Reiner’s MO was to sit silently through most of the piece and occasionally offer some fairly obvious or unrevealing information.
Expect no deviations from that pattern as Reiner sleeps through Men. He rarely speaks, and when he does manage to open his pie-hole, he rarely musters any statements more compelling than “he/she is a wonderful actor”. On occasion, Reiner does tell us some moderately informative details, especially related to changes made from the original play.
Otherwise, however, this becomes yet another drab and lifeless commentary from Reiner. The man desperately needs an interviewer to be present. Would that ensure higher quality? No, but it couldn’t hurt. As it stands, Reiner’s chat for Men bores.
Next up, we get Code Of Conduct, a general look at the production. During this 34-minute, 51-second program, we hear from Reiner, writer Aaron Sorkin, and actors Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Keifer Sutherland, James Marshall, Wolfgang Bodison, Kevin Pollak, Christopher Guest and Noah Wyle.
As a whole, “Code” offers a watchable but unspectacular little piece. I thought there was too much emphasis on the usual “happy talk” that dominated Reiner’s commentary, but the variety of participants made the program seem fairly interesting. It’s good to learn the actors’ perspectives on the film, and a few good anecdotes arise along the way, such as the description of the difficulties Sutherland experienced behind the wheel of a Humvee. It’s a fairly average documentary, but I thought it merited a look.
After this we get From Stage to Screen. At only 13 minutes, 45 seconds, this program runs much shorter than “Code of Conduct” but it offers a lot more concentrated information about the film. With info from Reiner and Sorkin, we learn the project’s genesis and the path it took to go from a play to a movie. Sorkin dominates the piece and he adds some nice details, such as his crash course in screenwriting.
Reiner’s comments largely duplicate some data about alterations made to the script in order to eliminate some plot holes. Frankly, between “Code of Conduct” and “From Stage to Screen”, you’ll hear virtually all of Reiner’s useful statements from the commentary; this fact renders that lousy track even more superfluous. In any case, I really enjoyed “From Stage to Screen”; it was a tight and informative little documentary.
Previews offers ads for Reign Over Me< and Casino Royale. We find no trailer for A Few Good Men.
At 138 minutes, A Few Good Men runs a little long, but most of the film seems compelling and taut, with only occasional slow spots. I love courtroom dramas, and this one provides a lot of tense legal action that makes it endearing to me. The Blu-ray brings us mostly positive picture and audio as well as a few supplements. Nothing about the Blu-ray excels, but it offers a generally good rendition of an involving film.