The Judge appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the most part, this became a positive presentation.
Sharpness usually looked good. A little softness crept into the image at times, but not frequently, and most of those shots appeared intentional. Otherwise, the movie usually appeared nicely detailed and distinctive. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as this was a clean presentation.
In terms of colors, the movie went with a stylized palette that varied based on setting and tone. It mostly mixed amber and teal throughout its running time. The hues consistently seemed clear and concise within those parameters. Blacks were deep and firm, and shadows showed good smoothness. Overall, the picture appeared fairly solid.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it worked pretty well for the material. The audio tended to be somewhat restrained most of the time, but some sequences – such as those at bars or on the street – opened up the spectrum in a satisfying manner. Cars and other elements moved around the room, while other effects added a good sense of ambience. A tornado scene offered the most involvement, but even it focused on interiors, so don’t expect The Judge to suddenly turn into Twister.
Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects lacked much to stand out, but they appeared accurate, and they showed mild punch when necessary. All of this seemed good enough for a “B-“.
A mix of extras appear here, and these launch with an audio commentary from director David Dobkin. He presents a running, screen-specific look at the project's origins, story/character/script areas and editing, music, sets and locations, cast and performances, cinematography, and connected domains.
On the negative side, Dobkin often tells us how much he loves everything related to the film; the praise flows fast and furious. Despite that, Dobkin gives us an informative, thoughtful take on the movie. I still don't care for The Judge, but I better understand his choices and what he wanted to do.
Two featurettes follow. Inside The Judge goes for 22 minutes, 16 seconds and provides notes from Dobkin, producer Susan Downey, and actors Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Dax Shepard, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong. We learn about Dobkin’s work on the film, cast and performances, and story/character areas.
“Inside” functions as a kind of “roundtable”, as the cast and crew all sit together. That adds a fun vibe, and we get a pretty good number of insights, especially from the actors. This becomes a better than expected piece.
Getting Deep with Dax Shepard lasts nine minutes, 21 seconds and offers the actor’s facetious interviews with other cast members Downey, D’Onofrio and Billy Bob Thornton. Goofy reels like this can flop, but this one delivers laughs.
11 Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 18 minutes, 28 seconds. These tend toward character moments, though a few focus on the trial. The bits about the criminal case have their moments, but the others tended to be dull.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Dobkin. He tells us a bit about the pieces and occasionally lets us know why he cut the sequences. Dobkin offers a smattering of decent observations.
The disc starts with ads for American Sniper and Jupiter Rising. No trailer for Judge appears here.
A second disc presents a DVD copy of The Judge. It includes “Getting Deep” but lacks the other extras.
With a strong cast and a meaty subject, The Judge boasts potential for greatness. However, it tends toward the sappy/sudsy side of the street, choices that leave it as a moderately entertaining courthouse drama but not a consistently satisfying one. The Blu-ray brings us mostly positive picture and audio as well as a fairly good set of supplements. Expect a spotty experience from The Judge.