Return appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was a perfectly decent SD-DVD presentation.
For the most part, sharpness seemed passable. Some light edge enhancement didn’t help, and artifacts made the image a bit messy at times, so wide shots tended to be soft. Nonetheless, the movie usually offered acceptable definition. Shimmering and jaggies didn’t become an issue, and source flaws remained absent.
Colors weren’t much of a concern in this fairly subdued affair. Given the nature of the story, I didn’t expect dynamic hues, and the film tended toward a brownish look much of the time. What colors we found seemed decent but unexceptional. Blacks appeared reasonably deep, and shadows looked acceptable; some low-light shots were a little dense, but this didn’t become an issue. All in all, this was an average SD image.
Though not especially ambitious, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Return seemed satisfactory. The mix usually focused on general environment, and that side of things worked well. The audio used the speakers in a natural manner that created a good soundscape.
Music also featured nice stereo imaging, and the surrounds contributed to the ambience. The back channels didn’t have a lot to do, but they added to the film’s aura. The whole package connected together in a reasonably involving manner.
Audio quality was positive. Music showed nice range and clarity, while effects offered good accuracy and punch. The smattering of loud scenes showed solid definition, and they lacked distortion. Speech was also concise and natural. Nothing here dazzled, but it achieved its modest goals.
When we shift to extras, we find an audio commentary from writer/director Liza Johnson and cinematographer Anne Etheridge. They sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character subjects, cast and performances, sets and locations, camerawork and visual design, the rushed shooting schedule, music, and a few other areas.
Expect a pretty “meat and potatoes” track here. Johnson and Etheridge cover the appropriate topics in a fairly engaging manner, but the commentary never manages to rise above the level of average, and it comes with occasional lulls. We learn enough to make the piece worth a listen, but it’s not a scintillating chat.
Five Deleted Scenes run a total of five minutes, 50 seconds. We find “Dancing”, “Bubble Wrap”, “Military”, “Christmas Store” and “Skateboard”. Four of the five tend to be insubstantial – heck, “Skateboard” is really just an outtake – but “Store” is pretty interesting. In it, we see Kelli at a temporary gift-wrapping gig when she goes off at a rude customer. I’m glad it didn’t make the final cut – it’s too much of a stereotypical “angry veteran” scene – but it’s still intriguing.
The disc opens with an ad for Worried About the Boy. We also locate the trailer for Return.
With its emphasis on the female point of view, I hoped Return would provide an intriguing twist on the standard war veteran drama. While it occasionally does so, it usually seems like a standard issue story; it’s a decent film but not one that stands out from the crowd. The DVD offers acceptable picture, good audio and a few useful supplements. I think Return delivers an average film and DVD.