The Greatest appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For a standard-def DVD, the presentation looked pretty positive.
For the most part, sharpness seemed satisfying. Wider shots tended to be rather soft, but those weren’t terribly ill-defined. They were acceptable given the restrictions of SD-DVD, and closer elements appeared pretty concise. No substantial issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. Other than a small speck or two, I also failed to discern any source flaws.
Despite the movie’s dramatic subject matter, it comes with a surprisingly warm palette. The movie favored rich, sunny hues that probably should’ve seemed out of place, but they worked fine for the story. The colors were generally positive; they seemed a bit thicker than I’d like, but they were mostly attractive. Blacks appeared dark and tight, while low-light shots came across as clear. The image didn’t leap off the screen, but it was solid for a DVD.
As for the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it provided a predictably low-key effort. After the car wreck early in the flick, you won’t find a whole lot to bring the soundscape to life. The track remained heavily focused on the front speakers; even a scene at the beach stayed forward-oriented and didn’t do much to form a lively environment.
Which wasn’t an awful thing, but it meant that the track lacked much vivacity. Again, I didn’t anticipate anything tremendously active, but I thought the mix could’ve been more engulfing than it was.
At least audio quality was fine. Speech came across as concise and distinctive, without edginess or other problems. Music showed nice range and clarity, and effects demonstrated positive impact. They didn’t have much to do, but they appeared accurate enough. This was a generally average mix.
We find a handful of extras here. The disc provides Interviews with four of the film’s participants. We hear from writer/director Shana Feste (11:04) and actors Pierce Brosnan (8:31), Carey Mulligan (5:27) and Johnny Simmons (5:30). Across these, we get notes about the movie’s origins and development, cast and crew, sets and locations, performances, music and editing, and the film’s reception.
As expected, Feste’s notes offer the most value. She gives us a good overview of different production elements and delivers the highest level of filmmaking info. The others contribute a smattering of useful tidbits as well, though you have to sit through the standard praise to get to them. Still, the overall impression left by the interviews remains positive.
Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of 16 minutes, six seconds. These include “Tent” (1:31), “Drugs” (1:28), “Friends” (2:46), “Country Music” (6:45), “Money” (2:10), and “Sister” (1:26). The Grace character gets the most extra time here, as she’s the focus of “Friends” and “Country Music”. (The latter’s length actually comes from the fact it offers three takes.) These don’t really do anything to develop Grace, though; they don’t go missed from the final cut.
As for the other four, “Money” provides the most intrigue simply because it actually lets us see Rose’s irresponsible mother. We hear about her in the film but don’t meet her, which is fine, though it’s interesting to actually encounter her here.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we locate some Previews. These give us promos for Misconception, The Dukes, Addicted to Her Love, Baby on Board, Camille and Dolan’s Cadillac.
At no point does The Greatest do much to break new ground in its genre, but it provides a reasonably interesting exploration of loss and recovery. Most of the credit goes to its unusually strong cast; they manage to develop the characters beyond the written page. The DVD offers fairly good picture as well as average audio and supplements. If you like character-based dramas with an emotional side, you’ll probably find merit here.