Hidden Figures appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good but slightly inconsistent presentation.
Sharpness became the main up and down element, as some soft shots appeared at times. These didn’t dominate, so most of the film looked well-defined, but a few oddly iffy bits occurred. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects popped up, and I saw no signs of edge haloes or print flaws either.
Even with its period setting, Figures opted for a predictable teal and orange palette. While those choices felt trite, the Blu-ray reproduced them as intended. Blacks looked deep and rich, and outside of a couple of dense “day for night” shots, low-light elements boasted good clarity. All of this created a mainly satisfying image.
Due to the story’s character focus, I didn’t expect much from the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, but I found a fairly engaging mix. Most of the movie focused on music and general ambience, and those domains provided a nice sense of the material.
A few more dynamic sequences added zest to the proceedings. A thunderstorm brought out the expected involvement, and scenes with rockets and other technical elements added zing to the mix. These didn’t pop up with great frequency, but they connected well when necessary.
Audio quality worked nicely. Speech seemed natural and concise, while music was warm and full. Effects showed fine clarity and impact, with deep low-end as appropriate. I felt pleased with this well-executed soundtrack.
As we shift to extras, we start with an audio commentary from writer/director Theodore Melfi and actor Taraji P. Henson. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the source material and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and factual elements.
From start to finish, Melfi and Henson provide a thoroughly pedestrian commentary. They give us basics about the production and no more than that, as we find a lot of praise and repetition of on-screen action along the way. Though not a worthless track, this one lacks a lot of substance.
Some featurettes follow. It All Adds Up runs 41 minutes, 46 seconds and includes comments from Melfi, Henson, NASA chief historian Bill Barry, author Margot Lee Shetterly, co-writer Allison Schroeder, NASA computer/movie subject Katherine G. Johnson, producer Donna Gigliotti, composer/producer Pharrell Williams, director of photography Mandy Walker, production designer Wynn Thomas, composers Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, musician Herbie Hancock, and actors Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons,
“Adds” discusses female/African-American involvement in US air flight history and background for the film, story/characters and the project’s path to the screen, cast and performances, cinematography and production design, and music. “Adds” can be a fluffy overview of the production but it brings us enough substance to merit a look.
Filming in Georgia lasts five minutes, 15 seconds and involves Melfi, Costner, Henson, Parsons, Spencer, Williams, Thomas, Monae, location manager Wes Hagan and executive producer Kevin Halloran. They tell us about the movie’s locations and how awesome it was to shoot in Georgia – with an emphasis on the latter. Though we get some minor insights, this mostly feels like an ad for the Georgia film commission.
Eight Deleted Scenes fill a total of 10 minutes, 14 seconds. These tend to focus on supporting characters, so they add a little depth but not anything memorable or especially meaningful.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Melfi. He gives us background for the sequences and lets us know why he cut them. The director offers efficient and useful information.
A Gallery features 27 stills. These mix production photos and shots from the set. It becomes a mediocre compilation.
The disc opens with ads for Step, Mars, and Jackie. Sneak Peek adds promos for Rules Don’t Apply, The Birth of a Nation (2016), Miss Sloane and The Martian. We also find the trailer for Figures.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Figures. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.
Does it count as ironic that a movie about challenging the status quo provides a wholly conventional, predictable affair? While I like the story and message of Hidden Figures, the movie lacks much creative zest, as it conveys its narrative in the most traditional manner possible. The Blu-ray brings us largely good picture and audio along with a decent set of bonus materials. Hidden Figures presents crowd-pleasing entertainment with little daring or risk involved.