Secret Window appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Released relatively early in the format’s existence, this became a mediocre presentation.
Sharpness became one of the concerns. While close-ups displayed good delineation, wider shots could veer toward softness. These didn’t uniformly look iffy, but too many seemed ill-defined.
A few examples of moiré effects occurred, but I saw no jagged edges. Some edge haloes materialized and the movie tended to display some digital artifacts, but I noticed no print flaws.
As one might expect from a fairly dark thriller, Window maintained a somber palette, and the disc replicated those tones well. This became a subdued but responsive set of colors.
Blacks were generally deep and firm, though they could feel a bit crushed at times. A few low-light shots came across as slightly dense, but those failed to create definite concerns, as shadows mostly appeared distinctive and adequately defined. The Blu-ray became a lackluster presentation of the film.
Though fairly low-key, the Uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack of Secret Window seemed winning. Given the movie’s restricted scope, the soundfield mostly stayed with general ambience.
Elements were appropriately placed and integrated smoothly. Occasional louder sequences brought the mix to life nicely and added some punch when necessary, mainly in the scenes that featured drama between Mort and Shooter.
Surrounds stayed mostly with environmental reinforcement. Occasional examples of unique audio appeared in the rear, but the audio mainly featured information that echoed the sense of place.
Audio quality was fine, as speech seemed accurate and well-defined, with no issues related to intelligibility or edginess. Music was bright and dynamic, as the score seemed clean and dynamic.
Effects also sounded concise and clear, as they lacked distortion and featured good range and accuracy. Nothing about the soundtrack of Window stood out from the crowd, but it seemed satisfying.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio felt a bit more dynamic when compared to the lossy Dolby Digital track on the DVD.
As for the visuals, the Blu-ray showed minor improvements over the DVD, mainly due to the superior capabilities of the format. However, the issues I saw restricted these areas and made this a minor upgrade at best.
The Blu-ray repeats the DVD’s extras, and we open with an audio commentary from writer/director David Koepp, who offers a running, screen-specific discussion. A nicely lively and informative track, Koepp covers lots of material.
He goes over issues connected to the adaptation of the original story and other script topics. In addition, Koepp talks about storytelling elements related to the visual components, as he goes over the various choices made to depict the action.
Koepp talks virtually nonstop and seems self-deprecating and amusing, and he even points out some parts of the flick he wishes he’d improved. It’s a solid track.
After this we get four deleted scenes. Via the “Play All” option, they last a total of six minutes, three seconds. These include a shot of arson as well as some extended bits.
Nothing substantial appears, though the elongated bit when Mort looks for Karsch seems entertaining. We can watch the first two clips with or without commentary from Koepp. He explains why he axed the pieces and offers some useful notes about the snippets.
Within the Featurettes domain, we get three programs. We find “From Book to Film” (19 minutes, seven seconds), “A Look Through It” (29:41), and “Secrets Revealed” (14:02). We can also take them in via a “Play All” option that creates one long one-hour, two-minute, 51-second piece.
Across the featurettes, we hear from director/writer Koepp, costume designer Odette Gadoury, and actors Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Charles S. Dutton, Timothy Hutton, and Maria Bello.
They go over reasons for changing the title, issues related to the adaptation and bringing the material to the movie screen, changes made to the original work, Stephen King’s input, casting, character notes, storytelling techniques, locations and sets, costumes and the film’s visual look, and the shooting and conception of many of the flick’s scenes.
For all intents and purposes, the featurettes add up to something of an illustrated audio commentary. Despite the infusion of other participants, Koepp heavily dominates these pieces, and he often goes over topics covered in his commentary.
Nonetheless, we get some good shots from the filming as well as additional insight into a few topics not mentioned in the commentary. Despite some redundant elements, the three featurettes present a nice examination of various issues connected to the film.
Animatics lets us examine the preparatory work for four segments. We see “Opening Credits” (1:42), “Pushing the Car Off the Cliff” (1:14), “Twist Revealed” (3:20) and “Into the Garden” (0:52). These provide basic computer animated visions of the sequences and seem fun to watch.
Previews offers an ad for The Covenant. No trailer for Window appears here.
A moderately intriguing thriller, Secret Window suffers from a mix of flaws, but it generally offers some entertainment. There’s nothing here to make it stand out as particularly stellar, though a nice lead performance from Johnny Depp elevates it somewhat. The Blu-ray comes with solid audio and supplements but visuals seem erratic. The lackluster transfer makes this a disappointing release despite a mix of strengths.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of SECRET WINDOW