Guardians of the Galaxy appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was usually a good image but it lacked consistent greatness.
For the most part, sharpness appeared positive. However, fine detail was lacking in some shots. Although these instances were minor, they meant that the delineation wasn’t quite as consistent as I’d like.
I noticed no issues with shimmering or jagged edges, and edge haloes were not a factor. Source flaws remained absent,
As one might expect from a flick like this, Guardians provided a stylized palette. Colors tended toward a blue and/or green tint, though they weren’t overwhelming in their orientation, and other scenes leaned in different directions. Overall, the hues appeared well-rendered and distinctive.
Blacks showed good depth and darkness, while shadows usually were solid. A few shots seemed slightly dense, but those occurred infrequently. Though most of the movie provided terrific visuals, the occasional lapses dropped it to “B” level.
No inconsistencies affected the excellent DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Guardians. With a variety of action and ambient elements, the audio brought the events to life in fine fashion.
Fight sequences added the greatest punch, and the pieces used all the speakers to great advantage. Quieter scenes contributed good breadth and smoothness as well. All of this meant the audio filled out the spectrum in a nice manner.
Sound quality satisfied. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music demonstrated good range and clarity as well.
Effects worked the best of the bunch, as they were consistently dynamic and vivid. All in all, this was an active and engaging soundtrack.
This package includes both 2D and 3D versions of Guardians. The picture comments above address the 2D edition, but I also want to talk about the 3D image.
One major difference relates to aspect ratio. The movie occasionally used the “dead space” outside of the 2.40:1 image to let various effects jump out of the frame. This only happened a handful of times, but it gave the 2.40:1 image a bit more of an immersive flair.
A more significant change, the 3D presentation went with varying aspect ratios. Much of the film stayed with “standard” 2.40:1, but quite a lot of footage opened to an IMAX ratio of 1.78:1.
That became a strong attraction, partly because the picture quality improved notably during the 1.78:1 scenes. While the 2.40:1 shots looked similar to those in the 2D version, the 1.78:1 material during the 3D version offered obviously superior definition and clarity. They became easily the most attractive aspects of the film.
Guardians also used the stereo imaging pretty well. A decent array of “pop-out” moments occurred, and the movie boasted a nice sense of depth and dimensionality.
All of these factors made the 3D Guardians the way to go. In addition to nice stereo effects, the use of the alternate aspect ratio ensured that it was the strongest rendition of the film.
As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from writer/director James Gunn. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and visual design, music, effects, stunts and related topics.
From start to finish, Gunn brings us a fine commentary. He goes into a good variety of topics and does so in a bright, enthusiastic manner. Gunn turns this into a consistently enjoyable, informative piece.
Under Guide to the Galaxy, we find a 20-minute, 56-second featurette with Gunn, set decorator Richard Roberts, special makeup effects designer David White, production designer Charles Wood, property master Barry Gibbs, executive producer Victoria Alonso and actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Benecio Del Toro, Vin Diesel and Lee Pace.
The program examines color/visual/set design, music, makeup effects and character topics, effects, stunts and action. After Gunn’s fine commentary, “Guide” doesn’t come packed with fresh info, but it offers some good new nuggets – and its 80s videogame motif becomes a fun touch.
Next comes The Intergalactic Visual Effects for Guardians of the Galaxy. It goes for seven minutes, 11 seconds and offers notes from Diesel, Pratt, Alonso, Gunn, and actor Bradley Cooper. “Intergalactic” mainly looks at the design/execution of Groot and Rocket, as it goes into live performances and digital renderings of the roles. The behind the scenes aspects work best and help make this a good little piece.
To preview Marvel’s next big flick, we check out an Exclusive Look at Avengers: Age of Ultron. This two-minute, 17-second reel includes producer Kevin Feige, director Joss Whedon, executive producer Jeremy Latcham, and actor Elizabeth Olsen.
Don’t expect any actual film footage, as “Look” combines footage from the set and concept drawings. It’s a decent teaser for fans, though.
Five Deleted and Extended Scenes occupy a total of four minutes, 22 seconds. We find “The Kyln Will Have to Do” (0:46), “No, I’m the Stupid One” (0:31), “Sisterly Love” (1:47), “Dancing Guard” (0:50) and “Fake Laugh” (0:27).
Most of these offer minor comedic tidbits; they’re enjoyable but not essential to the movie. “Sisterly Love” provides the one exception, as it gives us some decent character information. I don’t think the movie needs it, but it adds some good details.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Gunn. He tells us a little about the sequences and why he cut them. Gunn delivers a good collection of notes.
A Gag Reel lasts three minutes, 54 seconds. It’s mainly goofs and silliness, but a few fun improv moments make it interesting at times.
The disc opens with ads for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, various Avengers-related films, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon and Ultimate Spider-Man. Sneak Peeks also provides a promo for Disney Infinity and Disney Movies Anywhere. No trailer for Guardians shows up here.
While not a total success, Guardians of the Galaxy does more right than wrong. Despite an overly convoluted plot, the movie boasts enough brisk action and fun to make it enjoyable. The Blu-ray comes with mostly good visuals, terrific audio and a pretty positive set of supplements. I might not adore Guardians, but I like it, and the Blu-ray usually fares well, and the 3D version turns into easily the best way to watch the film.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY