A Mighty Wind appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Due to the source, this wasn’t a showcase film, but the transfer replicated the material well.
Overall, the movie presented a concise and distinct picture. The original photography led to a smidgen of softness in a few wider shots, but the majority of the flick seemed accurate. I saw no problems connected to jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent.
Natural grain came through well, and the image lacked any print flaws. Actually, you’ll see source defects as well as other concerns in the movie’s fake “archival” footage, but that was expected and didn’t reflect problems with the transfer.
The film displayed natural colors. None of these jumped off the screen, but the hues looked well-developed. Black levels showed good depth, and shadows appeared smooth and clear. No one will use the film to show off their big-screen TVs, but Wind looked as good as I could expect.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of A Mighty Wind provided a rather low-key affair ala prior Guest films. The forward soundstage heavily dominated the proceedings, so surround usage mainly featured applause during the concert performance. The assembly of the stage also placed some worker activity in the rear speakers, but otherwise I noticed little unique audio from those channels.
Music usually presented nice stereo delineation in the front, especially during the concert. That part of the film even added good directional dialogue when the Folksmen spoke. Effects also popped up from the sides with moderate frequency, and some decent panning occurred as well. Nonetheless, the soundfield lacked ambition and seemed very unassuming.
Audio quality fared well. Speech came across as natural and distinctive. No issues connected to intelligibility or edginess showed up, and that seemed especially important given the talky nature of the flick. Of course, music also played an important role, and the mix replicated the songs nicely. They seemed well-recorded and concise, with clean highs and rich lows.
Bass response remained warm and taut throughout the film. Effects were the smallest element of the track, but they remained accurate and without flaws. Due to its minimalist nature, I didn’t think A Mighty Wind merited a grade above a “B-” for audio, but the soundtrack suited the material.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was fairly similar – the lossless Blu-ray showed a little more warmth, but the low-key nature of the mix left little room for obvious improvement.
The same was partly true for the visuals, but I nonetheless thought the Blu-ray looked a fair amount better than the DVD. It showed superior clarity and color reproduction, and it also lacked the DVD’s print flaws. Again, nothing about the Blu-ray dazzled, but it offered a nice step up from the DVD.
The Blu-ray replicates most of the DVD’s extras, and we start with an audio commentary from director/co-writer/actor Guest and co-writer/actor Eugene Levy. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. Those who listened to their tracks for prior films will know what to expect here, though their discussion of Wind seems superior to earlier pieces.
Mostly the commentary covers general production notes such as locations, various challenges, the development of the characters and situations, and attribution of different elements. We learn a smidgen about what inspired the film, but mostly the pair just offer tidbits about the flick as a whole.
As usual, a fair number of gaps appear, and those who expect a lot of humor won’t get what they want; Guest and Levy provide a bit of dry wit but it’s not exactly a laughfest. Still, the track seems reasonably interesting, at least compared to the commentaries for Guffman and Best In Show.
Up next we get a collection of 15 additional scenes. These run a total of 21 minutes, 59 seconds and mostly feature new material. A few add to existing scenes, but not many, and we find three songs not found in the final flick. Don’t expect comic gold here, as the clips come across as only moderately entertaining at best.
Optional commentary from Guest and Levy accompanies these bits. Long gaps prevail and they tell us only a little information, with the most interesting element related to notes about Paul Dooley’s character.
In the TV Appearances domain, we get four clips that partially comprise the faux archival material briefly witnessed in the film. Totaling nine minutes, 22 seconds, two pieces come from the Folksmen and two are from Mitch & Mickey.
You’ll readily recognize the versions of “Old Joe’s Place” and “A Kiss At the End of the Rainbow” from the movie, but “In the Groove” or the “dramatic” guest spot from Mitch & Mickey on Dick Beyman – Private Eye didn’t make the final flick. All of these are fun, but the latter’s the most interesting. Additional commentary accompanies these snippets; the usual empty spots dominate, and we don’t get much useful information about the pieces.
Similar footage shows up in the PBN TV Broadcast of the Concert. This 22-minute, 42-second section presents all six songs seen in the film. Interestingly, this presents them as videotaped and doesn’t just show unaltered clips from the movie.
Actually, most of them offer takes different from those in the finished movie, which makes the show even more useful. Oddly, it cuts out all of Jonathan’s introductions. It’s a cool extra that lets us see the performances in their entirety.
Yup, we get more commentary from Guest and Levy here. This track is probably the most compelling of the ones we find on the disc. The pair let us know the ins and outs of this special shoot and educate us about the differences between it and the movie.
The Bands adds some text material. This area includes short “biographies” of the Folksmen, the New Main Street Singers, and Mitch & Mickey. The movie already presents most of this information, but it’s not a bad place to locate it concisely.
To finish, we get the movie’s theatrical trailer and a soundtrack spot as well as Extras. The latter category reprises two pieces that acted as “Easter eggs” on the DVD. “Crew Pounds Hotel Wall” lasts 34 seconds as it shows how they shook up Mitch’s room. “Practice Shoot with Editors” runs 46 seconds and presents the crew as the do a dry run of a scene to synch it up later. Both are fun to see, and they even come with commentary from Guest and Levy who briefly explain them.
The Blu-ray drops some text components. I don’t mind the absence of “Cast/Crew” biographies, but it’s too bad we lose pieces that let us closely examine fake newspaper articles briefly seen in the film.
A gentle skewering of the folk music scene, A Mighty Wind doesn’t quite fire on all cylinders. The movie seems generally likable and amusing, but it falls short of the heights achieved by those involved in their previous movies. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and extras as well as acceptable audio. This isn’t my favorite “mockumentary”, but it’s mostly enjoyable.
To rate this film, visit the original review of A MIGHTY WIND