Serendipity appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This wasnít a poor presentation, but it had some problems.
Probably the main issue stemmed from edge haloes. While these werenít heavy, they showed up on more than a few occasions and contributed a looseness to the image at times. Overall sharpness was fairly good, though; some softness crept into wider shots, but most of the movie looked reasonably accurate and concise. No issues with edge haloes or shimmering occurred, and the film lacked print flaws; outside of some natural grain, the picture was clean.
Colors looked generally natural. The tones could seem a bit heavy at times, but they were usually pretty peppy and full. Black levels also seemed deep and dense, while shadow detail mostly looked clear and appropriately opaque. A few interiors appeared slightly thick, but I didnít mind for the most part. All in all, the image had good elements but the problems made it a ďC+Ē.
While the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Serendipity showed the lack of sonic ambition typical of comedies, it still worked well for the material. The soundfield featured a definite emphasis on the forward channels. Music displayed good stereo imaging, while effects showed positive movement and integration. Mostly those elements stuck with general ambience, though some cars drove from side to side and the general impression offered a realistic affair. Rear speaker usage largely stayed with moderate reinforcement of the music and effects, though a smidgen of split surround material appeared; for example, at the driving range, I heard some stereo audio in the rear.
Audio quality seemed fine. Dialogue was distinct and natural, with no edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Effects remained a minor element of the mix, but they always came across as clean and accurate, without distortion or other concerns. Those elements sounded crisp and clear. Music presented the strongest aspects of the track. The score and songs always were nicely bright and vivid, and they displayed good low-end response as well. Bass seemed reasonably deep and tight. Overall, the trackís lack of sonic ambition kept it in ďBĒ territory, but it complemented the film well.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was a little peppier, but the two tracks seemed fairly comparable, mainly because the movie was so laid back in terms of sound. Visuals showed some improvements but the Blu-rayís flaws meant it wasnít as big a step up as Iíd like.
The Blu-ray replicates most of the supplements from the DVD. We start with an audio commentary from director Peter Chelsom, who provides a running, screen-specific track. Chelsom seems like a chatty guy, and he offers a reasonably engaging presence here. The director covers a lot of notes about the film, from working with the cast, changes from script to screen, reshoots, location challenges, and a number of other issues.
Occasional empty spaces mar the presentation, but these seem acceptably infrequent and minor. Chelsom doesnít give us a great commentary, but it appears generally entertaining and informative.
Next we discover nine deleted scenes. These clips run a total of 15 minutes, 50 seconds, and they can be viewed with or without commentary from Chelsom. For the most part, these offer extensions of existing scenes, or alternate takes; most of the latter come from the original shoot, whereas the final film includes a few examples of reshoots. The snippets are interesting to see, but nothing crucial emerges.
As for Chelsomís commentary, itís quite good. He covers all the reasons why the scenes failed to make the movie, and he adds some good insight and anecdotes. Chelsom provides frank and worthwhile notes that definitely merit a listen.
The Starz Encore ďOn the SetĒ program provides a 19-minute and 54-second documentary about Serendipity. It offers the standard mix of behind-the-scenes shots, movie clips and interviews with principals. In the latter domain, we hear from director Chelsom, producers Peter Abrams and Simon Fields, writer Marc Klein, and actors John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Molly Shannon, Bridget Moynahan, and John Corbett. Anyone who expects anything other than the standard promotional piece will leave disappointed.
Actually, ďOn the SetĒ does include a little interesting behind-the-scenes footage, and the best material shows up toward the end, when we see them create winter in July. Otherwise, the interview clips seem dull; we learn that the cast was great, the director was great, and shooting in New York was great. The program also provides far too many movie snippets; they clearly dominate this piece. Skip to around the 16-minute mark, watch the parts about winter, and skip the rest.
The Storyboard Comparison shows one brief scene. We see the bit in which Molly Shannon gets hit at the driving range. For the 44-second clip, the storyboard fills the top two-thirds of the screen, while the film occupies a small inset in the lower right corner. Itís not terribly interesting.
Peter Chelsomís On Set Diary provides 20 screens of text. We read his notes from the set and also see a mix of photos. Some of the information repeats what we learn in the commentary, but it still offers a nice little look at the directorís experiences. Thereís no ďdirtĒ to be found, but I think itís fun nonetheless.
The disc opens with ads for The Switch, From Prada to Nada, Killers and 40 Days and 40 Nights. These also pop up under Trailers, and we get the theatrical promo for Serendipity as well.
Serendipity does nothing to reinvent the romantic comedy, but it offers a reasonably charming and entertaining piece nonetheless. It avoids becoming excessively cutesy and offers some fine performances from a solid cast. The Blu-ray provides erratic visuals along with good audio and a pretty nice set of supplements. Itís too bad the transfer comes with problems, but this is still the best home video version of the film.
To rate this film visit the original review of SERENDIPITY