Michael Collins appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film held up well over the last 20 years.
Sharpness looked fine. A bit of softness crept into a few interior shots, but not enough to really mar the movie. The flick mostly showed fairly good definition and delineation. Jagged edges and shimmering were no problem, and no edge haloes appeared. Print flaws also failed to appear.
Colors worked reasonably well. The flick went with a stylized palette that often favored blues. , Other hues appeared too, and they seemed positive. Black levels also appeared deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately opaque but not too thick. The image was more than satisfactory.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it added some kick to the proceedings. Scenes with violence brought out the most evocative moments, as battles, riots and related sequences managed to use the five channels in an involving manner. General ambience also worked fine, and music showed good imaging.
Audio quality also satisfied. Speech occasionally seemed a smidgen reedy, but the lines were usually natural, and music displayed nice range. Effects boasted pretty solid accuracy and punch, especially during those louder scenes. The mix suited the story.
When we shift to extras, we start with an audio commentary from writer/director Neil Jordan. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the source material and its adaptation, what led Jordan to the film, history and liberties, cast and performances, sets and locations, period details, and related topics.
My only complaint here stems from the moderate amount of dead air that mars the commentary. While Jordan chats most of the time, he leaves more than a few gaps.
However, Jordan more than compensates for these lapses with the high quality of his comments. He covers a solid array of topics and does so in an informative manner. Jordan even reveals misgivings he has about the real Michael Collins and questions some of his filmmaking choices. Jordan delivers a consistently excellent chat.
We hear more from the writer/director via the four-minute, 43-second In Conversation with Neil Jordan. He discusses how he came to the film, reflections on the subject matter, cast and performances, and sets and locations. This is a fairly simple overview and includes no facts not already heard in the commentary.
South Bank Show runs 51 minutes, 11 seconds and features Jordan, Michael Collins biographer Tim Pat Coogan, historian John Regan, counter-insurgency expert Col. Michael Dewar, Collins’ niece Mary Banotti, critic/playwright Tom Paulin, Progressive Unionist Party spokesman David Ervine, producer Stephen Woolley, Sunday Tribune Northern Editor Ed Moloney, and actor Liam Neeson. We get biographical info about Collins as well as the rebellion he led and aspects of the film.
I feared that “South Bank” would offer a glib promo piece, but the opposite proves true. We get excellent details about the history behind the movie and find virtually zero fluff. The program works really well.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find nine Deleted Scenes. These fill a total of six minutes and show a mix of short tidbits. We get a smidgen of exposition, some violence and a laugh or two. They’re interesting to see but largely insubstantial.
With a lot of talent behind it and an intriguing historical subject, I hoped to enjoy Michael Collins. Unfortunately, the movie explores its topics in such an erratic manner that it loses steam as it goes. The Blu-ray provides generally strong picture and audio along with a small but informative collection of bonus materials. Collins shines at times but it can’t maintain the consistency it needs.