The Raven appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This became a consistently appealing presentation.
Sharpness was always positive. Little to no softness interfered, as the flick always seemed well-defined. I saw no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes failed to appear. Source flaws were non-existent.
In terms of palette, Raven stayed with a decidedly subdued set of colors. Only a few shots boasted any moderately vivid tones – usually via blood reds - as these were rare. Otherwise, this was essentially a monochromatic, grayish affair. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows were fairly clear and concise; a few low-light shots came across as a little flat, but those weren’t the rule. Overall, this was an attractive image.
I also felt reasonably impressed by the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Raven. The soundfield created a pretty good sense of place and threw out natural action when appropriate. Music always offered good stereo imaging, and various scenes were consistently convincing. Not a lot of aural fireworks occurred, so the movie didn’t offer many sequences with great activity, but it used the channels in a convincing, involving manner.
Audio quality always seemed fine. Effects were dynamic and clear, with deep bass and good punch. Music showed similar strengths, as the score was lively and full. Speech came across as natural and concise. For the most part, I liked this track and thought it added to the movie
We find a pretty good set of supplements here. These open with an audio commentary from director James McTeigue and producers Marc D. Evans, Trevor Macy and Aaron Ryder. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at music, script/story/character issues, cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, aspects of Poe's life and work, and some other areas.
Though never a great commentary, this does remain a consistently good discussion. We get a nice overview of various subjects, and the participants mix together well; expect a fair amount of humor along the way. At times, McTeigue tends to simply narrate the movie, but that’s not prevalent enough to cause harm to an otherwise informative track.
Six Deleted and Extended Scenes fill 10 minutes, 41 seconds. We find “Poetry Reading” (1:58), “The Red Mask” (0:41), “Emily’s Recital” (0:44), “Fields Checks on Poe” (4:31), “Poe Brings Carl to Fields’ Home” (1:39) and “Doctor Clements and Fields” (1:02). Extensions dominate the clips, and the majority give us decidedly minor additions. “Checks” does deliver a little bonding between Poe and Fields, and “Clements” provides a smidgen more intrigue, but overall, these are forgettable sequences.
Five featurettes follow. The Raven Guts: Bringing Death to Life goes for 13 minutes, 32 seconds and includes notes from McTeigue, Ryder, Evans, screenwriters Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare, director of photography Danny Ruhlmann, production designer Roger Ford, key hair/makeup designer Daniel Parker, costume designer Carlo Poggioli, and actors Alice Eve, Luke Evans, John Cusack, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Brendan Gleeson. “Guts” looks at story/characters, cast and performances, McTeigue’s impact on the production, sets/locations and period elements, visual design and camerawork, and costumes.
For the most part, “Guts” brings us a standard promotional featurette. It throws out a few interesting tidbits – mainly during its second half, when it gets into some nuts and bolts – but it exists to sell the movie. It’s watchable but nothing more.
With the nine-minute, 50-second The Madness, Misery and Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe, we hear from Livingston, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe Museum curator Chris Semtner and St. Christopher’s School Writer in Residence Ron Smith. They give us a quick biography of Poe. Obviously such a short piece can’t dig into Poe’s life in detail, but this acts as a good, quick summary.
Next comes Behind the Beauty and the Horror. It goes for two minutes, 18 seconds and includes McTeigue, Evans, Cusack, and Eve. They throw out some movie basics in this forgettable puff piece.
The Raven Presents John Cusack and James McTeigue occupies two minutes, 45 seconds with a chat between McTeigue and Cusack. They go into a few production/character/story basics. The format makes it a little more interesting than it otherwise might’ve been, but it’s too short to do much.
Finally, we go to the five-minute, 10-second Music for The Raven: The Team. It gives us info from McTeigue, Evans, music editor Del Spiva, supervising orchestrator Rick Giovinazzo, Auricle user Ellen Segal, sound mixer Steve Kempster, Protools operator Larry Mah, and composer Lucas Vidal. As expected, the dig into the movie’s music. This becomes a short but tight featurette.
The disc opens with ads for House at the End of the Street and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. These also appear under Sneak Peek along with clips for Sound of My Voice, Act of Valor and American Horror Story Season One. We also find the trailer for The Raven.
A second disc provides a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy of Raven. This gives you a movie-only version of the film, so don’t expect any extras.
Though it comes with an intriguing twist, The Raven does little to surpass other serial killer movies. Except for the quirk of its lead character, the movie seems predictable and “standard issue”. The Blu-ray comes with solid picture quality as well as very good audio and a nice selection of bonus materials. The Blu-ray represents the film well, but the flick itself does little for me.