Shock and Awe appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, I felt pleased with the image.
Sharpness looked good. Some softness hit a few interior shots, but those instances remained mostly insubstantial, so the majority of the flick showed fine clarity and accuracy.
Shimmering failed to distract, and jaggies also stayed away from the image. Edge haloes remained absent, and the movie also lacked any source flaws.
In terms of colors, Awe went with a mix of yellow/amber and teal. The film kept these strong but they didn’t seem obnoxious, and the Blu-ray reproduced them with good fidelity.
Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were well-depicted. The image offered a solid “B+” presentation.
In addition, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack packed a pretty good sense of action, with active use of the various channels when necessary. Music filled the various channels in a satisfying manner, and effects fleshed out the spectrum in a logical way.
The film focused on general ambience, but some military components managed to add immersion to the tale. These worked for the story and added punch to the proceedings.
Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, while effects remained vivid and full-bodied.
In addition, music was vibrant and dynamic. The audio suited the story.
Two extras pop up here, and we find an audio commentary from director/actor Rob Reiner. He brings us a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and factual areas, cast and performances, and related areas.
A veteran of the format, Reiner should know how to produce good commentaries, yet he consistently records some of the worst on the market. Reiner speaks for maybe 10 percent of the movie, and when he does so, he offers little more than basic facts about the events that inspired the film.
In other words, this is an awful commentary. I’d not heard a Reiner track in years so I hoped he might’ve gotten some helpful advice over that span, but apparently he didn’t. Skip this banal, nearly information-free snoozer.
Behind the Scenes runs 12 minutes, eight seconds and features Reiner, Reuters Foreign Affairs/National Security editor John Walcott, journalists Jonathan Landay, Joe Galloway and Warren Strobel, screenwriter Joey Hartstone, producers Michelle Reiner, Christopher H. Warner and Matthew George, production designer Christopher R. Demuri, and actors Luke Tennie, James Marsden, Woody Harrelson, Jessica Biel, Milla Jovovich, and Tommy Lee Jones.
“Scenes” looks at the movie’s approach to its story, factual elements and production design, cast and performances, and Reiner’s double duty as actor and director.
Though we see them during the end credits, it’s good to get more from the real people behind the film’s characters. Otherwise, this tends to be a superficial piece that mostly touts the movie’s importance.
With an excellent cast and a promising premise, Shock and Awe boasts potential for greatness. Unfortunately, director Rob Reiner paints with such a pedantic brush that the end result feels like little more than a long string of political tweets. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with supplements dragged down by a bad commentary. Awe could’ve been a winner but the end result sputters.