Truth or Dare appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. With a mix of photographic styles, the image had its ups and downs, all of which ultimately resulted in an average presentation.
As I mentioned in the body of the review, most of the movie came from the black and white documentary footage, and those shots tended to be fairly unattractive. Shot 16mm, they showed a lot of grain and mediocre definition. Close-ups looked okay at best, and wider shots were fairly soft and smudgy. Blacks were too dark and shadows could be somewhat dense. I also noticed sporadic specks and marks. The black and white shots matched the limitations of the source.
While the color sequences worked better, you shouldn’t expect them to excel. Sharpness worked better but still had weaknesses, as delineation was pretty good at best; I never saw shots that provided strong clarity, as the image lacked the accuracy usually found with Blu-rays.
At least the color shots were cleaner than the black and white ones, and they seemed more dynamic as a whole. Those were 35mm and had a stronger presence. Colors were fairly vivid and bold, though they could still be a bit runny. Blacks were tighter and shadows showed decent clarity. While this was a decent image, it wasn’t better than a “C+”.
Similar thoughts greeted the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Truth or Dare. Much of the time, the soundscape seemed pretty restricted, as lots of the film concentrated on backstage documentary material. Those sequences opened up for environmental material but didn’t tend to have a lot to do.
For the musical sequences, the soundfield broadened, though even there, it seemed erratic. Some of the songs provided lackluster stereo presence, while others used the various channels more actively. The surrounds threw in reinforcement of the music to varying degrees but tended to be fairly passive.
In terms of audio quality, the track remained mediocre. The music became a particular disappointment, as the songs simply failed to deliver much vivacity. They seemed somewhat flat and didn’t have the punch I expected, so while they didn’t sound bad, they suffered from a generally dull feel without much range.
Because of that, the documentary scenes fared best. Those didn’t ask much of the soundtrack, so they came across just fine. Speech could be a little dodgy at times due to the on the fly recording, but most of the material was intelligible. Environmental elements showed acceptable reproduction. Though nothing here impressed – and the music was less vibrant than I’d like – the track was still good enough for a “C+”.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Both picture and audio improved, especially in terms of the sound. The visuals came with limitations due to the source material; while the Blu-ray was definitely sharper and bolder in the color sequences, the general ugliness of the black and white material meant that there was only so much room for improvement.
On the other hand, the audio was a significant step up, mainly because the DVD came with a terrible 5.1 remix that heavily favored reverb and overly active surrounds. While the Blu-ray’s lossless track wasn’t killer, at least it seemed more natural and better integrated. I wasn’t wild about the Blu-ray’s sound but still felt it seemed much better than the problematic DVD mix.
The disc opens with ads for Shakespeare in Love, Velvet Goldmine, The Doors, and Dirty Dancing. We also get two trailers for Dare itself.
Ultimately, Truth or Dare limits its appeal to the Madonna die-hards. There's simply not enough performance footage to make its program more interesting to everyone, and what live songs we hear don't come across nearly as well as they should have. The Blu-ray provides acceptable but erratic picture and audio along with insubstantial supplements. With a low list price, this is a good purchase for Madonna buffs – quality-wise, it’s an improvement over the DVD – but it still lacks obvious appeal for more casual fans.