Priest appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Overall, the movie looked strong.
Sharpness was good. Virtually no issues softness emerged, as tthe flick showed fine clarity and accuracy. Jaggies and shimmering failed to distract, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also lacked any source flaws and was consistently clean.
In terms of colors, Priest went with subdued tones. Parts of the movie featured a yellow tint, but much of it was simply bluish or desaturated. The hues never stood out as memorable, but they weren’t supposed to be impressive, so they were fine for this story’s stripped palette. Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were generally fine. I thought they could be slightly heavy at times, but not to a problematic degree. The image narrowly missed “A”-level consideration; it offered a solid “B+” presentation.
I felt even more impressed with the killer DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Priest. As one expects from a big action flick, the soundfield opened up in a dynamic manner. The many action sequences used the five channels well, as vehicles, vampires, gunfire and other elements fleshed out the room in a compelling manner. The track used the surrounds in an involving way and made them active partners in the mix.
Audio quality always seemed strong. Speech came across as crisp and concise, without edginess or other concerns. Music sounded lively and full, and effects were well reproduced. Those elements seemed consistently accurate and dynamic; low-end was tight and deep. All in all, this was a more than satisfactory soundtrack.
Despite the movie’s lackluster financial earnings, the Blu-ray delivers a pretty good roster of extras. These launch with an audio commentary from director Scott Stewart, writer Cory Goodman and actors Paul Bettany and Maggie Q. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the film’s animated prologue, story, editing and script development, cast, characters and performances, sets, production design and visuals, cinematography, influences, changes for the unrated version, various effects, music and audio.
In other words, the chat touches on pretty much everything involved in the production, and it does so well. While Stewart offers most of the information, all four throw in their thoughts and help make this a lively chat – but not one that gets chaotic or obnoxious. We learn a lot of good information and have fun along the way.
Bullets and Crucifixes delivers a “picture-in-picture experience”. This gives us photos and art, footage from the set, and interviews. We hear from Stewart, Goodman, Bettany, Maggie Q, executive producers Glenn S. Gainor and Josh Bratman, producers Michael De Luca and Mitchell Peck, visual effects supervisor Jonathan Rothbart, prop master Max E. Brehme, bike builder Cyril O’Neil, and actors Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Christopher Plummer, Stephen Moyer, Lily Collins and Madchen Amick. The remarks discuss the animated prologue, influences, script/story/character topics, visual design and effects, cast and performances, props, action and stunts, cinematography, and a couple of other areas.
At their best, picture-in-picture features offer a robust form of commentary. Unfortunately, “Bullets” doesn’t come do much to take advantage of the format’s possibilities. Oh, it delivers the standard array of materials and comments, and many of these are useful. However, the components pop up too infrequently to make this a satisfying program. If “Bullets” came with a good interface that’d allow us to easily skip the dead spots, it’d be more enjoyable, but as created, you must sit through a lot of nothing to access the information.
Seven Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of 12 minutes, 31 seconds. These include “Flashback #2 – Extended” (2:54), “Priestess Tells Hicks to Focus” (0:35), “The Whole Town” (0:23), “Black Hat Flashback – Extended” (2:20), “Train Fight – Extended” (1:24), “Priest Returns With Head” (2:08), and “Lucy Asks Priest to Stay” (2:47). Some offer minor tidbits, but a few give us good exposition and help flesh out characters.
Two featurettes ensue. The Bloody Frontier: Creating the World of Priest goes for 12 minutes, 49 seconds and provides material from Stewart, Bettany, Gainor, Maggie Q, Collins, Goodman, De Luca, Gigandet, Rothbart, Plummer, Urban, production designer Richard Bridgland Fitzgerald, and supervising location manager Douglas Dresser. The show examines the movie’s take on vampires; we look at character design as well as sets, inspirations, locations, stunts, and other visual elements. “Frontier” uses a lot of good footage from he production and delivers a tight overview of its subjects.
Finally, we get the 11-minute, 25-second Tools of the Trade: The Weapons and Vehicles of Priest. It includes notes from Stewart, Bettany, Brehme, De Luca, Gigandet, O’Neil and bike builder “Fireball Tim”. As expected, we learn about the design and execution of the film’s weapons and vehicles. The program follows in line with “Frontier”, so it gives us another solid take on the topics.
The disc opens with ads for Insidious, Battle: Los Angeles and Arena. These also show up under Previews along with clips for Bad Teacher, and Just Go With It. In addition, we get a trailer for Twisted Metal Uncut, but no promo for Priest appears here.
With Priest, we get a movie that packs in scores of influences but fails to muster its own identity. The film starts reasonably well but becomes buried underneath its own infatuation with allusions to other – and better – flicks. The Blu-ray comes with good picture and supplements as well as awesome audio. I feel pleased with this release but can’t say the movie impresses me.