Ghost World appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt pleased with this strong transfer.
Sharpness looked nice, as the movie displayed very little softness. Some darker shots could be a little undefined, but most of the film offered nice clarity. The movie showed no jaggies or moiré effects, and it lacked both edge haloes and print flaws.
In terms of colors, World leaned toward a somewhat blue palette, but the hues still managed a fair amount of range. The tones came across with nice vivacity and accuracy. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows showed positive smoothness. Everything about the image satisfied.
Although I didn’t expect much from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, its one-dimensional soundscape still seemed underwhelming. Music became the main factor, and the various songs managed to use the speakers in a fairly broad manner.
Effects offered less involvement, though. Those elements occasionally broadened to the side/rear channels, but often the mix seemed to be virtually monaural. Given the movie’s chatty nature, this wasn’t a problem, but it still left us with a lackluster soundfield.
Audio quality worked fine. Music varied dependent on the source, but the songs usually brought out fairly good range.
Dialogue remained concise and natural, and effects seemed satisfactory. As noted, these had little to do, but these elements appeared accurate enough. All of this added up to a mediocre soundtrack.
The Criterion release comes with a mix of extras, and we open with an audio commentary from writer/director Terry Zwigoff, creator/writer Daniel Clowes and producer Lianne Halfon. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the source comic and its adaptation, music, sets and locations, cast and performances, costumes and design, editing and related topics.
Overall, this becomes a good but not great commentary. While the track gets into a fair array of domains and always remains engaging, it just lacks the depth to get to a higher level. Still, it’s an informative discussion that merits a listen.
A new documentary called Art As Dialogue runs 41 minutes, 37 seconds and includes remarks from actors Illeana Douglas, Scarlett Johansson, and Thora Birch. They discuss characters and their performances, working with Zwigoff, the movie’s themes and impact, costumes, hair and production design.
The focus solely on the actors surprises me, as I expected a broader range of participants. “Art” works well anyway, as it offers a program with more depth and substance than usual. The three actors bring us a lot of insights in this informative piece.
Nine Deleted Scenes fill a total of nine minutes, 31 seconds. Most of these offer wholly inconsequential sequences, such as more of the battle between Doug and the convenience sore manager or Seymour and a record collector. We also get minor additions to existing segments, and these seem pleasant but not meaningful.
The only exception comes from a new scene in which Enid and Josh have sex. While interesting on the surface, I’m glad it didn’t make the film – it feels too sappy and comes across like something from a different movie.
Seen at the film’s start, we find an excerpt from Gumnaam. This five-minute, 42-second lets us see the piece featured at the start of Ghost World all on its own. That makes it a moderately interesting curiosity.
We can watch the excerpt with or without commentary. Narrator Roshini Dubey tells us about the 1965 Indian film from which the segment comes. The track provides some good details.
In addition to the movie’s trailer, the set finishes with a booklet. It includes an essay from critic Howard Hampton, a piece from Zwigoff that discusses the film’s music, and excerpts from the original comic. The booklet completes things on a positive note.
At times, Ghost World threatens to flaunt its quirks too strongly. However, it offers enough cleverness and character depth to end up as a solid personality exploration. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture quality along with adequate audio and a few informative supplements. Ghost World turns into an engaging effort.