POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Documentaries don’t often deliver stunning visuals, and that holds true for the adequate but unspectacular image here.
For the most part, sharpness was good. The picture varied a moderate amount, though, and more than a few mildly soft shots emerged along the way. Nothing terrible arose, though, so the flick usually offered acceptable to solid definition. I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and the image lacked edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.
Given the subject matter, I expected a natural palette from Sold, and that’s what I got. I also expected somewhat lackluster reproduction of these hues, and that’s also what I got. Colors seemed decent, as they represented the tones in an acceptable manner, but they did tend to be a bit dull. Blacks were reasonably deep and tight, and shadows looked fine. Nothing here really impressed, but the visuals earned a “B-“.
Similar thoughts greeted the ordinary DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Sold. Documentaries don’t come with killer soundscapes, so this one remained laid-back most of the time. Dialogue was the primary component, and we got a fair amount of music as well; score and songs emerged from the side and rear speakers in a satisfying manner. Occasional effects also popped up, usually in the environmental manner; some bits like one that put us in Spurlock’s head became showier, but it was the exception. Most of the track stayed low-key – and appropriately so.
Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without much edginess or other problems. Music seemed vibrant and full, while effects displayed acceptable accuracy; the flick lacked much to tax the speakers, but those elements worked well enough. All of this added up to a “B-“ mix.
When we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Morgan Spurlock, producer Jeremy Chilnick, cinematographer Daniel Marracino and editor Thomas M. Vogt. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of the film's origins and development, additional background about the work that went into finding sponsors and related concerns, notes about various participants, music, editing and cinematography, and additional filmmaking experiences.
Expect a lively, brisk commentary here. We get some nice background about issues related to the film’s creation and find out more details about how Spurlock was able to maneuver through the world of advertising. The track helps flesh out what we see well.
A few featurettes follow. At the Sundance Film Festival goes for 14 minutes, 39 seconds as it shows the film’s Sundance premiere and remarks from Spurlock and a mix of others. We see a fair amount of movie clips and don’t learn anything particularly new from the comments; it’s a fairly bland featurette that often feels like it exists mostly to sell the movie.
Workin’ Nine to Five (AM): POM Behind the Scenes lasts three minutes, 42 seconds and includes notes from Spurlock. He discusses the shooting of the POM commercial found in the middle of the film. Despite its brevity, “Five” provides a pretty tight and interesting take on the subject.
Finally, Shooting for Perfection: Hyatt and JetBlue Behind the Scenes fills four minutes, 52 seconds with more notes from Spurlock. This one follows the same path as “Five”: it shows the creation of two more of the flick’s ads. Like “Five”, it’s another good little exploration.
Under Commercials, we locate five clips. We get “Alternate POM Wonderful Commercial” (0:39), “JetBlue Commercial” (0:39), “The Greatest Airline You’ll Ever Fly: JetBlue In-Flight” (1:17), “Hyatt Commercial” (0:39), and “The Greatest Hotel You’ll Ever Experience: Hyatt Welcome” (1:04). Though billed as “alternate”, the POM commercial looks a lot like the one in the film, so don’t expect anything too difference. The Hyatt and JetBlue commercials also simply repeat the segments from the flick. I think the JetBlue and POM ads are actually pretty effective, but the Hyatt one’s awful; it just makes it look like you’ll have to share your stay with a weirdo in a bathrobe.
The other two segments are interesting because they were created for use at the businesses themselves. You’d see the JetBlue one on a flight and the Hyatt one when you checked into the hotel. Both are good, though again, the Hyatt one is marred by Spurlock’s decision to cast himself as a freak with a towel on his head.
12 Deleted Scenes run a total of 48 minutes, 52 seconds. A lot of these look at advice Spurlock gets on how to sell his movie to the public. We also see his trip to make Aruba the official vacation destination of the film, Dan Rather’s comments on who “owns” the news, different participants’ favorite commercials, various marketing techniques, and extensions to existing sequences.
With a collection of clips that lasts more than 50 percent the feature film’s length, we find plenty of good content here. Without question, the segment about contributors’ favorite ads proves to be the most fun, especially when marketing foes must acknowledge some fondness for the medium. I like the Rather clip, and an extension of the piece that shows an analysis of Spurlock’s “brand type” is useful; it’s too long to be in the final cut, but it’s interesting to learn more about these techniques. I wish we’d heard more from the film directors – that was the part of the flick I most like – but I’m still pleased with this strong collection of scenes.
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Salvation Boulevard, Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight in Paris, Exporting Raymond, Supersize Me and Life, Above All. These also show up under Previews. The disc provides the trailer for Sold as well.
While it lacks the impact of Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock’s POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold boasts enough sizzle to make it enjoyable. The film delivers a reasonable amount of information as it entertains. The Blu-ray gives us decent picture and audio along with a pretty good collection of supplements highlighted by a strong commentary and a heap of deleted scenes. Sold isn’t the deepest documentary you’ll see, but it’s fun and worth a look.