The Ides of March appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a solid presentation.
Only a smidgen of softness impacted the image, as some wide shots – mainly of debate stages – looked a bit off-kilter. Those were minor distractions, though, as the majority of the flick displayed strong clarity and accuracy. I noticed no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws failed to materialize in this clean transfer.
In terms of colors, the movie opted for an amber overtone much of the time. Some scenes featured a chillier blue tint, but the majority of the image used the more yellow impression. Within those parameters, the hues looked clear and distinctive. Blacks were deep and full, while shadows offered positive delineation. Outside of a little softness, this was a fine image.
No problems accompanied the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, but it didn’t do much to impress. That was fine, however, since the character drama emphasized dialogue. Music provided nice stereo presence, and the mix delivered acceptable sense of environment, particularly in crowd scenes. Nothing memorable popped up, though, so this was a lackluster soundscape.
Audio quality was fine, at least. Speech consistently appeared natural and distinctive, while music was full and lush. Effects had little to do but remained accurate and concise. The lack of ambition made this a “B-“ mix, but I thought it suited the material.
When we examine the package’s extras, we start with an audio commentary from writer/director/actor George Clooney and writer/producer Grant Heslov. The old friends and partners sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, cast and performances, script/story/character topics, music and camerawork, editing and visual design, and other filmmaking subjects.
As I mentioned, Heslov and Clooney have known each other forever, so their easy rapport comes across during the chat; they mesh well as they converse. In terms of content, the track tends to be a little spotty, but not badly so. We get a reasonable look behind the seems and learn enough about the production to make the commentary worthwhile.
Four featurettes follow. Developing the Campaign: The Origins of The Ides of March runs seven minutes, eight seconds and delivers notes from Clooney, Heslov, producer Brian Oliver, playwright/co-screenwriter Beau Willimon, and actors Max Minghella. “Campaign” looks at the project’s roots and development of the flick, as we trace it from stage play to movie screen. We get some changes made along the way and related subjects in this short but informative piece.
Next comes the six-minute, 19-second Believe: George Clooney. It features Clooney, Minghella, actors Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. The featurette looks at Clooney’s dual role as director and actor. It’s essentially a love letter to Clooney; outside of a few good shots from the set, there’s not much of interest here.
With On the Campaign: The Cast of The Ides of March, we get a five-minute, 49-second piece with Clooney, Hoffman, Gosling, Minghella, Heslov, Giamatti, and Wood. We get a few notes about cast, characters and performances. Mostly this is another puff piece that talks about how wonderful everyone is. Yawn!
Finally, What Does a Political Consultant Do? goes for seven minutes, 29 seconds and includes material with Clooney, Heslov, Gosling, Willimon and political consultant Stuart Stevens. Here we learn a bit about what role actual political consultants serve in campaigns. Some decent notes emerge, but like most of the other featurettes, this one mostly promotes the film and doesn’t tell us much.
The disc opens with ads for Drive, Moneyball, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. These also appear under Previews along with clips for Anonymous and The Rum Diary. No trailer for Ides pops up here.
As a fan of political dramas, I went into The Ides of March with high hopes. Unfortunately, it fails to live up to expectations; while not without interesting moments – and buoyed by a killer cast – the end result seems melodramatic and not particularly involving. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture, competent audio and a decent set of extras highlighted by an enjoyable audio commentary. There’s probably enough meat here to make Ides a rental for fans of the genre, but don’t expect much from it.