The Last Song appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie provided a good transfer but not an exceptional one.
Overall definition seemed positive, but a few exceptions occurred, as occasional wide shots appeared a bit soft. Still, those remained rare, and the majority of the flick demonstrated nice delineation and clarity. I noticed no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and the film lacked edge enhancement. Source flaws also failed to appear, and we got a clean presentation.
In terms of colors, Song went with a warm, natural palette. It favored a sun-dappled look that fit the beachfront setting, and the tones consistently appeared full and rich. Blacks seemed adequate, though I thought they were a bit inky, and shadows tended to be a little too dense; they were never impenetrable, but I felt they lacked great definition. This remained a perfectly competent presentation that simply failed to deliver great vivacity.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it gave us competent sonics and little more. Granted, a quiet drama like this didn’t need to boast a rock-em, sock-em mix, so the audio seemed acceptable. The soundfield didn’t have a lot to do; it concentrated on good stereo music and general ambience. Even the ocean setting didn’t manage to add much to the proceedings; the soundscape gave us a reasonable feel for the environment and never went beyond that.
Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other concerns. Music appeared fairly full; the score could’ve been a bit more vibrant, but it came across with reasonable definition. Effects didn’t impress but they weren’t supposed to do so; they remained clear and accurate, though. Nothing here impressed, but it worked fine for the story.
A mix of extras fills out the set. We start with an audio commentary from director Julie Anne Robinson and co-producer Jennifer Gibgot. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast, characters and performances, music, sets and locations, editing, story and adaptation issues, and a few other production notes.
While not the most fascinating commentary I’ve heard, this one does manage to deliver the appropriate goods. It examines the expected topics and does so in a pretty worthwhile manner. Of course, it lacks any “dirt” and tends toward the happy talk side of the street, but it doesn’t turn into a boring praise-fest. The two women cover a good mix of filmmaking subjects in an enjoyable manner.
An inevitable music video appears for Miley Cyrus’s “When I Look at You”. The song is a melodramatic Diane Warren-style belter that does nothing for me. The video’s not especially interesting either, but it deserves some credit for the fact it includes no actual movie clips. Instead, it shows lip-synch shots of Cyrus and also throws in some new footage of her co-star Liam Hemsworth, so it sort of attempts to tell a little story. It’s not much, but it’s better than the average video for a movie song.
We also find a Making of the Music Video featurette. This runs four minutes, 20 seconds and includes remarks from Cyrus, Hemsworth, and film producer/music video director Adam Shankman, and production designer Nelson Coates. They give us a few minor notes about the shoot of the video – some very minor notes. It’s a short, superficial clip.
A Set Tour with Bobby Coleman goes for five minutes, six seconds. It takes us around the location and includes young actor Coleman’s chats with Shankman, Cyrus’s guard “Warren”, makeup department head John R. Bayles, hair department head Patricia Glasser, key craft services Reva Grantham, grip Chris “Barefoot” Alled, and video assist Charles “Chaz” Laughon. We get a quick look at what some lesser-known crewmembers do. I’ve seen similar shows like this, and they’re good for newbies who want a brief primer. It’s fluffy but not bad.
In addition to an Alternate Opening (2:55), we get five Deleted Scenes. These last a total of seven minutes, nine seconds and include “Ronnie at the Piano” (1:08), “Steve and Ronnie at the Beach” (0:55), “Hospital Montage” (1:29), “Vegan Cookies” (1:33) and “Juggling on the Pier” (2:04). The “Opening” gives us a look at an event that will become important later in the movie. The movie’s actual opening includes a little of this material, and I think it’s enough to set up the topic; the “Alternate” version starts the movie in a darker manner and doesn’t add anything.
As for the other scenes, the first three come during the film’s third act and add a smidgen of exposition. They’re unnecessary; we get more than enough of these elements during the final flick. The first two come earlier in the movie and also contribute unneeded information. For instance, we learn more clearly that Blaze’s boyfriend is a total prick; that’s already abundantly obvious in the released version.
We can watch these scenes with or without commentary from Robinson. She tells us a little about shooting the sequences and why she dropped them. The director covers the clips well.
At least one Easter Egg shows up here. When you click down from the entry for the commentary, you’ll light up a small sea turtle. Press enter and you’ll see a 21-second outtake. Robinson speaks over this snippet and tells us that it shows Greg Kinnear as he “tortures” her cousin, an extra on the flick.
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Seabiscuit, When in Rome, and Lost. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with promos for Disneynature Oceans, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and A Christmas Carol (2009).
With The Last Song, Miley Cyrus moves toward the grown-up portion of her career. She takes little more than baby steps, though, so anyone who expects her to separate herself from her prefab image will feel disappointed in this trite, ordinary melodrama. The Blu-ray provides generally good picture and audio along with a few reasonably useful supplements. I suspect Cyrus fans will enjoy the film, but it won’t win over anyone new.