Into the Wild appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film boasted a consistently strong transfer.
Overall sharpness appeared positive. Only a few minor instances of softness crept into wider shots, so the majority of the film looked precise and well-defined.
I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement remained minimal. Outside of some stylistic grain, the movie stayed clean, so no source flaws interfered with the picture.
Expect a stylized palette here, as Wild opted for a lot of teal and amber. Within those constraints, the hues seemed appropriately rendered.
Blacks were dark and dense, and shadows looked clear and appropriately visible. I felt pleased with this appealing image.
As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Into the Wild, it also proved to be highly satisfying. With all its outdoor settings, the soundfield enjoyed quite a few chances to create a vivid landscape.
These gave us a clear feeling for the various environments and melded together smoothly. The mix used the surrounds in an unobtrusive manner but in a way that accentuated the atmospheric elements. I thought the track worked well for the story.
Audio quality was consistently good. Music appeared warm and vibrant, as the score and songs seemed well-reproduced. Speech came across as natural and distinctive, while effects were clean and accurate.
Both music and effects showed nice bass response, as the mix featured warm, tight lows. I liked the soundtrack and found it to be surprisingly effective.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio showed a bit more punch and clarity, while visuals were tighter, smoother and more vivid. This became a good upgrade over the DVD.
In terms of extras, we find the film’s trailer and two featurettes. Into the Wild: The Story, The Characters runs 21 minutes, 54 seconds as it brings notes from writer/director Sean Penn, author Jon Krakauer, singer/musician Eddie Vedder, and actors Emile Hirsch, Hal Holbrook, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, and Kristen Stewart.
We find out what attracted Penn to the project and how he brought the novel to the big screen. We also learn why Krakauer wrote his book as well as research, casting, performances and aspects of the characters, Penn’s style as a director, and some experiences during the shoot.
Though “Story” doesn’t run long enough to offer great depth, it provides a nice snapshot of a few different issues. We get a decent overview of the actors and the tale across this short show. I’d like more detail, honestly, but what we find informs.
Into the Wild: The Experience goes for 17 minutes, 20 seconds and features Penn, Hirsch, Holbrook, Vedder, Krakauer, producer Bill Pohlad, production designer Derek Hill, art director Domenic Silvestri, costume designer Mary Claire Hannan, production sound mixer Edward Tise, editor Jay Cassidy, producer Art Linson, and actor Catherine Keener.
This piece looks at locations and related complications along with Penn’s work during the shoot, physical challenges for Hirsch, visual design, cinematography, and a few other production specifics. “Experience” acts as a good complement to “Story”. It throws out a mix of useful thoughts about the different technical aspects of the flick and entertains as it does so.
Due to my feelings about its lead character, I maintain some ambivalence toward aspects of Into the Wild, particularly in the way it moderately advances the idiotic notion that someone who craps in the woods is more alive than the rest of us.
Nonetheless, there’s a lot to like here, especially since Sean Penn manages to bring a moral ambiguity to the tale that leaves it much more open for interpretation than I’d anticipated.
The Blu-ray comes with very good picture and audio, but it skimps on extras. That’s a disappointment, as I’m sure there’s much more to tell about this flick and its story, and I particularly would’ve appreciated a documentary look at the lead character. Still, the Blu-ray presents the movie itself well, and it’s enough of a quality flick to earn my recommendation.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of INTO THE WILD