News of the World appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film boasted fine visuals.
Sharpness worked well. Even with wide vistas, the material appeared accurate and concise. No issues with moiré effects or jaggies occurred, and I saw neither edge haloes nor source flaws.
In this Western setting, the film often favored an amber/orange palette, with a fair amount of teal thrown in as well. Within the stylistic constraints, the Blu-ray reproduced the colors in a favorable manner.
Blacks came across as deep and dense, while shadows appeared smooth and well-developed. The movie offered pleasing picture quality.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos audio satisfied. Music showed nice stereo presence, while effects added immersive material.
The occasional action sequences boasted fine use of the side and rear speakers, all of which brought us into the story well. Weather and natural elements became an impressive aspect of the mix, as storms and other outdoor material activated the speakers in an engulfing manner. A few scenes with gunfire and additional action elements also worked well.
Audio quality seemed strong. Music was full and rich, while dialogue seemed natural and distinctive.
Effects offered clear elements, with warm, tight lows. Though not a consistently active affair, I still liked the soundtrack for News.
A smattering of extras appear here, and we find an audio commentary from co-writer/director Paul Greengrass. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, photography, music, period details, and related topics.
My prior experiences with Greengrass commentaries ranged from pretty good to pretty boring. Unfortunately, his discussion of News falls into the latter category.
Greengrass narrates the movie too often, and he tends to stick with banal thoughts. While we get sporadic insights, the commentary seems unmemorable too much of the time.
Four featurettes follow, and Partners runs seven minutes, one second with notes from Greengrass, producer Gary Goetzman and actors Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Marvel, Helena Zengel, Thomas Francis Murphy, and Fred Hechinger.
The program looks at the lead characters and the actors who play them. While we get some decent shots from the set, “Partners” usually sticks with happy talk and lacks depth.
With the seven-minute, 37-second Western Action, we hear from Greengrass, Hanks, 2nd unit director Jeff Dashnaw, head animal wrangler Clay M. Lilley and property master Keith Walters.
“Action” examines some of the movie’s genre-specific elements. Like “Partners”, “Action” contributes a few insights, but a lot of it concentrates on praise.
Paul Greengrass Makes News of the World spans 10 minutes, 59 seconds and features Greengrass, Hanks, Goetzman, Zengel, Marvel, Hechinger, producers Gail Mutrux and Gregory Goodman, location manager Hilton Clay Peres, assistant location manager Diego Dominguez, costume designer Mark Bridges, production designer David Crank, set decorator Elizabeth Keenan, composer James Newton Howard and actor Michael Angelo Covino.
“Makes” talks about sets/locations, photography, costumes, music and Greengrass’s impact on the production. Once again, we find a mix of movie details and fluff.
Finally, The Kiowa goes for three minutes, 57 seconds and features Hanks, Greengrass, Goetzman, Zengel, and Kiowa elder Dorothy Whitehorse Delaune.
“Kiowa” views the movie’s depiction of the Native tribe. It mostly feels self-congratulatory.
Seven Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 11 minutes, 16 seconds. Most of these offer minor expansions on the Kidd/Johanna relationship.
The longest and most compelling stems from a confrontation Kidd/Johanna have with a Black family. It shows Johanna’s talents with a firearm but doesn’t add much to the film. The rest feel reasonably charming but also come across as unnecessary.
Thanks to a strong cast and an effective narrative, News of the World offers an appealing Western. Nothing about it innovates but the end result seems warm and compelling. The Blu-ray offers strong picture and audio along with a decent roster of bonus materials. Expect an engaging character Western here.