Get On Up appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an appealing presentation.
Sharpness was almost always positive. A minor amount of softness crept into a couple of long shots, but otherwise the image remained tight and well-defined at all times. I noticed no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to appear. Print flaws also failed to mar the presentation.
For much of the film, Up went with an amber-influenced palette typical of the biopic genre. Other hues popped up on occasion, but that impression dominated. Within the movie’s color design, the tones seemed solid. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows demonstrated nice smoothness. This was a consistently satisfying image.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it proved to be unusually ambitious for its genre, though as expected, music dominated. With a wide variety of performances, the songs filled the side and rear speakers on a frequent basis.
That was par for the course, but the way the mix used effects came as a surprise. With some “action elements” like scenes in Vietnam and other escapades, the track opened up in a broad manner on more than a few occasions. These gave the situations more range and scope than I anticipated.
Audio quality seemed fine. Music showed pretty good pep and power, though the nature of the source recordings could be slightly iffy at times. Still, the songs usually came across with nice clarity and range, and effects were similarly full and accurate. Speech seemed distinctive and concise. The track turned out to work well for the movie.
Up delivers a pretty sizable set of extras, and we start with an audio commentary from director/producer Tate Taylor. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and his approach to the material, sets and locations, music, cast and performances, various effects, editing/deleted scenes, facts/historical liberties, and connected areas.
While Taylor covers a good array of subjects, the commentary feels pretty ordinary overall. That occurs mainly due to its many sags, as Taylor goes quiet too much of the time. When he talks, he offers pretty useful info, but the dead air makes this an inconsistent chat.
10 Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes occupy a total of 15 minutes, three seconds. Some of these provide interesting elements, such as Brown’s 1964 chat with the Rolling Stones or his abandonment as a child. Most of the segments seem pretty good, though I’m not sure how well they’d have worked in the final cut; while they may be useful to see, the movie already drags, so a longer running time probably wouldn’t have helped it.
More music appears in the next two segments. We get four Full Song Performances (9:24) and three Extended Song Performances (7:27). These essentially act like elongated movie scenes, and obviously they give us additional parts of the songs. They’re fun to see.
Six featurettes follow. Long Journey to the Screen lasts three minutes, 58 seconds and offers notes from Taylor and producers Mick Jagger, Victoria Pearman, Erica Huggins and Brian Grazer. We get quick notes about the movie’s development and how Taylor came to the project. Despite the piece’s brevity, it comes with some useful details.
We concentrate on the lead actor in Chadwick Boseman: Meet Mr. James Brown. The 11-minute, 25-second show provides info from Taylor, Jagger, Grazer, Pearman, choreographer Aakomon Jones, and actors Chad Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Octavia Spencer, Craig Robinson, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, and Jill Scott. “Meet” looks at Boseman’s casting and aspects of his training/performance. Some decent insights emerge, but much of the piece focuses on praise for Boseman and not a lot else.
For a look at the supporting cast, we head to The Get On Up Family. It runs six minutes, 27 seconds and includes comments from Taylor, Huggins, Boseman, Grazer, Spencer, Davis, Boseman, Ellis, Pearman, Aykroyd and Scott. The show offers a quick look at the various actors but offers next to no depth, so expect a lot of happy talk.
During the six-minute, 25-second On Stage with the Hardest Working Man, we hear from Jagger, Grazer, Taylor, Boseman, Aykroyd, Jones, musician Ice Cube, and production designer Mark Ricker. The featurette touches on some aspects of bringing James Brown’s life to the screen. Like the other programs, it boasts a handful of good details but usually feels promotional in nature.
The Founding Father of Funk takes up 13 minutes, 19 seconds with details from Cube, Scott, Davis, Boseman, Taylor, Aykroyd, Jagger, Grazer, Ellis, Spencer, actor Aloe Blacc, and musicians Pharrell Williams and Cee Lo Green. “Father” offers a general reflection on Brown’s importance. Again, much of the piece remains superficial, though I like Jagger’s comments on Brown’s impact as a performer.
Finally, we go to Tate Taylor’s Master Class. During this six-minute, 57-second reel, we locate an outtake, as we see an extended version of the dance scene with Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey – a really extended version, in fact. It goes on so long – and becomes so silly – that it turns into a delightful sequence.
The disc opens with ads for The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power, The Man with the Iron Fists 2, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Lucy, Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse and The Theory of Everything. No trailer for Up shows up here.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Get On Up. It includes the commentary and four of the featurettes.
If you want a rich portrayal of James Brown, you won’t find it via Get On Up. Despite a terrific lead performance from Chadwick Boseman, the movie lacks complexity and just meanders its way through Brown’s life without enough purpose. The Blu-ray presents very good picture and audio as well as an inconsistent set of supplements. Boseman’s acting gives Get On Up life, but it falters in too many other ways.