Respect appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with generally solid visuals.
Sharpness became the main variable, as the film could look somewhat soft at times. I suspect that stemmed from attempts to “de-age” the actors, as so many involved were too old for their roles.
Despite these less-than-precise moments, most of the film brought good delineation, and the mild softness kind of suited the story’s “period feel” anyway. I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and both edge haloes and print flaws also failed to appear.
Despite the period setting, Respect opted for 21st Century Amber and Teal. I don’t get this choice, but within stylistic preferences, the colors felt well-reproduced.
Blacks seemed dark and deep, while low-light shots offered appealing delineation. This turned into a satisfactory image despite some softness.
In addition, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack worked fine for the material at hand. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, music dominated and used the various speakers well. These elements came to the fore during concert segments, and those offered the movie’s most involving sonic segments.
Effects got less to do and usually offered general ambience. That left us without much in terms of auditory fireworks, but given the story’s focus on music and characters, this made sense.
Overall audio quality seemed good, and speech was natural and concise. Music sounded peppy and full, while effects seemed acceptable.
As mentioned earlier, those elements lacked much to stand out from the crowd, but they appeared accurate enough. This all added up to a “B“ soundtrack.
Five featurettes appear here, and The Making of Respect runs seven minutes, 20 seconds. It involves comments from director Liesl Tommy, producers Stacey Sher, Jonathan Glickman, Harvey Mason Jr., and Scott Bernstein, cousin/backup singer Brenda Franklin-Corbett, screenwriter Tracey Scott Wilson, executive music producers Stephen Bray and Jason Michael Webb, acting coach Lelund Durond Thompson, dialect coach Thom Jones, production designer Ina Mayhew, and actors Jennifer Hudson, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Audra McDonald, Forest Whitaker, Skye Dakota Turner, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige, and LeRoy McClain.
“Making” looks at story/characters/music, cast and performances, and sets. Some decent details emerge, but most of the program feels fluffy and oriented toward praise.
Becoming Aretha spans four minutes, 42 seconds and gives us notes from Tommy, Hudson, Franklin-Corbett, McClain, Bernstein, Thompson, Jones, Wilson, Blige, Bray, Mason, Whitaker and Sher.
As expected, “Becoming” covers Hudson’s lead performance. Like with the prior show, this one includes a few useful notes, but too much of it focuses on plaudits for Hudson.
Next comes Capturing a Legacy, a three-minute, 49-second piece that brings statements from Tommy, Hudson, Wilson, Sher, Bernstein, Glickman, Whitaker, Mason, Wayans, and actor Saycon Sengbloh.
“Legacy” tells us of Tommy’s approach to the material, and it offers little more than a discussion of the director’s greatness. Yawn.
From Muscle Shoals goes for two minutes, 57 seconds and features Hudson, Tommy, Mason, Bray, FAME Studios general manager Rodney Hall, musician Spooner Oldham, and actor Marc Maron.
Here we learn about the recreation of the seminal Alabama recording sessions. Again, some insights emerge, but most of the show self-congratulates about how accurate the filmmakers made these scenes.
Finally, Exploring the Design of Respect lasts three minutes, 37 seconds and includes info from Tommy, Glickman, Hudson, Bernstein, Brown, Mayhew, costume designer Clint Ramos, and actor Hailey Kilgore.
“Exploring” covers various design choices made for the movie. Expect more self-praise here.
Given the nature of her life story, it seems impossible that a biographical film about Aretha Franklin could become anything other than compelling. However, Respect seems so thin and superficial that it makes its narrative oddly boring and flat. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture and audio as well as a smattering of bonus materials. While never a bad movie, Respect fails to engage.