Red State appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a pretty strong transfer.
Overall definition seemed positive. A smidgen of softness hit some wider shots, but most of the movie showed nice delineation.
I witnessed no issued with shimmering or jagged edges, and edge haloes remained absent. No print flaws cropped up along the way.
Like virtually all modern horror tales, State opted for a stylized palette. It tended toward a low-key, semi-desaturated vibe that emphasized a chilly feel. The hues worked fine for the material.
Blacks seemed dark, while shadows showed positive clarity. This became a quality presentation.
Similar thoughts greeted the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. It went for a fairly atmospheric air, as the mix gave us logical accompaniment for the creepy visuals.
This meant music popped up around the room and became somewhat dominant while effects remained mostly in the environmental realm. Violent scenes – especially those with guns – used the five channels in an active manner, though, and those added pizzazz to the proceedings.
Audio quality was good. Dialogue appeared natural and concise, while music showed nice range and impact.
Effects boasted positive punch and dimensionality, with deep low-end when necessary. Though not a killer mix, the audio fit the story.
A two-part documentary called The Making of Red State runs 43 minutes, 50 seconds and includes notes from writer/director Kevin Smith, and actors John Goodman, James Parks, Stephen Root, Ralph Garman, Michael Angarano, Kerry Bishe, Kyle Gallner, Michael Parks and Melissa Leo.
The program discusses the film’s origins and development, story/characters, cast and performances, financing issues, cinematography, stunts and action, and the movie’s release.
Parts of the documentary work well, especially when we see how the Westboro Baptist folks responded to the film. However, an awful lot of praise and happy talk comes along for the ride, and those moments cause it to drag at times. There’s still enough to make the show worth a look, but it’s not a great program.
Instead of a standard audio commentary, the disc provides seven Smodcasts. That’s Smith’s name for his podcasts, and we locate these tracks: “Hear the Teaser” (41:10), “The Harvey Boys” (27:39), “Splinter of the Klein’s Eye” (37:06), “Caster Master” (1:04:03), “Canado!” (1:10:55), “Brains & Braun” (52:35), and “Parks City” (1:28:00).
Here’s who we get in the “Smodcasts” and what they discuss:
“Teaser”: Kevin Smith shows the film’s initial trailer and answers audience questions that touch on cinematography, cast and performances and other areas.
“Harvey”: Producer Jon Gordon talks with Smith about working at Miramax and aspects of the Red State shoot, though studio-related topics dominate.
“Splinter”: Smith and director of photography Dave Klein discuss their longtime relationship as well as the look of Red State.
“Caster”: Smith chats with casting director Deb Aquila about her career and elements of her job.
“Canado!”: Smith brings in first assistant director Adam Druxman to go over what an AD does as well as Druxman’s career and his work on Red State.
“Brains”: Along with Smith, actor Nicholas Braun chats about his career and aspects of his Red State character and performance.
“City”: Smith brings in actor Michael Parks to examine the actor’s long career and his efforts on Red State.
That’s a whole lot of content, and we learn a ton about State and connected areas along the way. Of course, the casts vary in quality, but overall, they work well.
Note that the seven “Smodcasts” here offer a sample of what Smith and company created to discuss the film. If you visit Smith’s website, you’ll find additional “Smodcasts” with other members of the Red State cast and crew.
Three Deleted Scenes appear. We see “Abin Cooper’s Full Sermon” (15:55, with 2:16 Kevin Smith intro), “’Touchdown’ Scene” (2:23, with 1:14 intro) and “Original Sundance Ending” (6:41, with 2:33 intro). Given that the “Sermon” runs way too long in the final cut, the “Full” version doesn’t become more satisfying.
“Touchdown” just adds a short tag to an existing sequence, so it also fails to bring much. “Sundance” also extends a segment, as it brings more to the movie’s finale. Because it runs under the end credits, it works acceptably well, but I prefer the snappier finish to the release cut.
The Sundance Speech lasts 35 minutes, 36 seconds and provides Smith’s presentation at the film festival. The first 9:36 offers another intro, as Smith tells us about the Sundance appearance.
After that, we see Smith’s presentation at the 2011 festival, one that apparently became notorious for the way he ripped apart the studio system. He makes some good points, though he doesn’t seem to understand that a studio-free distribution pattern would work less well for filmmakers who lack his rabid fan base.
Next comes A Conversation with Michael Parks. In this 17-minute, 58-second reel, we get another intro from Smith before Parks discusses how he came to the movie, his character and performance, aspects of the shoot and reflections on the film. Though not the most focused chat, Parks presents some interesting thoughts.
A Poster Gallery presents nine images. Along with an intro from Smith (3:07), this becomes a nice look at the film’s marketing.
The disc opens with ads for Religulous, Kick-Ass, Warrior, Conan the Barbarian (2011), Psychoville and Reservoir Dogs. We also get two trailers for Red State - those come with an intro from Smith as well.
A detour from his usual comedies, Kevin Smith’s Red State allows the filmmaker to flex muscles in the horror and drama genres. Unfortunately, it doesn’t imply that Smith boasts much talent in those realms, as the movie never coalesces into a particularly compelling tale. The Blu-ray delivers pretty strong picture and audio along with an extensive compilation of bonus features. I think it’s cool that Smith broadened his horizons, but Red State just doesn’t come together in a satisfying manner.