The Guardian appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie looked generally good but it showed it age.
Sharpness was usually fine, but exceptions occurred. Wide shots occasionally became tentative, so some of those could be a bit on the fuzzy side. Still, overall clarity was positive; I couldn’t call this a razor-sharp image, but it looked reasonably precise.
No issues with jaggies or moiré effects appeared, and edge haloes remained minor. Print flaws became a sporadic concern, however, as the movie suffered from a mix of specks. These didn’t become dominant, but they popped up more than I’d like.
Colors looked decent to good. 1990 film stocks didn’t tend to be the most dynamic, and Guardian could reflect those trends, but the hues usually looked reasonably positive. The film opted for a blue-tinted palette that showed acceptable reproduction.
Blacks were fairly deep, and shadows showed fair clarity. Some low-light shots lacked great definition, but they were mostly good. I thought the film came across as perfectly watchable but not memorable.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA stereo soundtrack, it provided serviceable audio. Music demonstrated nice stereo spread, but effects didn’t have a lot to do. A few more action-oriented sequences added a bit of pep, but those remained infrequent.
Audio quality was fine for a 25-year-old soundtrack, though the mix came with one notable drawback: looping. Especially at the start, Guardian presented some terrible dubbing. This improved as the film progressed, but dialogue always felt a bit artificial.
Music showed nice fidelity and range, and effects appeared fairly accurate and robust. The track didn’t boast a ton of oomph, but it showed decent low-end, mostly related to the music. This became an average mix that lost points mainly due to some poor dubbing.
In terms of extras, The Guardian boasts a slew of interviews. A Happy Coincidence runs 21 minutes, 56 seconds and offers actor Dwier Brown’s discussion of his casting and performance as well as working with William Friedkin and aspects of the production. Brown offers frank and interesting memories of the film in this strong session. Heck, he even touches on the awful looping I mentioned earlier!
With From Strasberg to The Guardian, we find a 10-minute, 10-second chat with actor Gary Swanson. He discusses his tutelage under Lee Strasberg and his early career as well as a little about his time on Guardian. Swanson doesn’t tell us much about Guardian itself, but he still gives us an interesting enough chat.
Next we get the 11-minute, 33-second A Mother’s Journey. In it, actor Natalja Nogulich covers her casting in Guardian along with working with Friedkin, her co-stars and other aspects of her career. Nogulich brings us a quick but enjoyable interview.
Scoring The Guardian fills six minutes, 40 seconds with thoughts from composer Jack Hues. He goes over the music he created for the film and working with Friedkin. “Scoring” seems brief but it comes with a few decent notes.
During Tree Woman: The Effects of The Guardian, makeup effects artist Matthew Mungle provides a 13-minute, seven-second piece. As expected, he talks about the movie’s makeup effects and his reaction to the film. Mungle offers a good collection of insights.
We hear from co-writer/director William Friedkin during the 17-minute, 25-second Return to the Genre. He goes over his goals for the movie as well as its path to the screen, personal connections to the story, casting, production troubles, and the horror genre. Friedkin provides a tight, informative interview.
After this comes The Nanny, an interview with actor Jenny Seagrove. She chats for 13 minutes, 19 seconds as she looks at her career, working with Friedkin, and experiences during the shoot. Seagrove seems open and entertaining as she remembers the film.
For the final interview, we find Don’t Go Into the Woods. This delivers a 21-minute conversation with co-writer Stephen Volk. He covers issues related to the story/script as well as his collaboration with Friedkin. Volk’s chat gives us another collection of useful memories and observations.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a still gallery. This presents a running one-minute, 19-second montage that includes 12 photos. It’s a decent collection, though it lacks many pictures.
At its heart, The Guardian attempts to deliver a modern-day fairy tale, but it falters. Nothing about it manages to engage or intrigue, so we find ourselves left with a slow, boring horror flick. The Blu-ray presents erratic but acceptable picture and audio along with an informative set of bonus materials. The Guardian winds up as a weak footnote in William Friedkin’s filmography.