Slaughterhouse-Five appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a more than watchable image.
For the most part, sharpness appeared fine. While the movie lacked terrific delineation, it usually seemed pretty accurate, and only a few moderately soft shots materialized.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no intrusive edge haloes. Print flaws remained absent, and grain felt natural.
Colors tended toward a bit of a brown bias, but more vivid tones emerged as well. These gave the hues a fair amount of pep and range.
Blacks were fairly deep and dense, while low-light shots boasted reasonable clarity. Nothing here impressed, but the result appeared pretty good for the movie’s age.
The flick’s LPCM monaural soundtrack also showed the restrictions related to the movie’s vintage, but it still worked fine. Speech usually seemed fairly natural, though the lines occasionally became a bit reedy.
Effects failed to present much life, but they lacked problematic distortion. While the music didn’t boast great vivacity, the score and songs still showed decent pep. This was an acceptable soundtrack for an older movie.
When we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from film historian Troy Howarth. He provides a running, screen-specific look at the source and its adaptation, cast and performances, story and characters, sets and locations, and other filmmaking domains.
Prior commentaries from Howarth worked well, and this one follows suit. He proves informative and engaging in this briskly-paced and well-researched track.
Video programs follow. And So It Goes spans 21 minutes, five seconds and brings a “video appreciation” from film historian Kim Newman.
Here we learn about director George Roy Hill’s career, other works/adaptations from author Kurt Vonnegut, and aspects of Five. Newman tends to flit all over the place in this semi-disjointed chat, but he manages some useful notes.
Pilgrim’s Progress lasts 14 minutes, seven seconds and provides an interview with actor Perry King. He covers his career and his work in Five during this reasonably engaging reel.
Next comes Only On Earth, an eight-minute, 41-second chat with executive producer Jennings Lang’s son Rocky. He looks at his dad’s career and elements connected to Five. This winds up as a useful piece.
Unstuck In Time involves behind the scenes filmmaker/producer Robert Crawford, Jr., and spans 14 minutes, 38 seconds. He talks about the property’s path to the screen, casting, and experiences during the production, with an emphasis on the footage he filmed during the shoot. Crawford offers a good collection of memories.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we finish with Eternally Connected. It goes for 11 minutes, 36 seconds and involves film music historian Daniel Schweiger.
As expected, “Connected” looks at the movie’s use of music. It gives us a tight, effective view of the subject matter.
Apparently Slaughterhouse-Five became known as an “unfilmable novel”, but they tried anyway – and proved the initial point to be correct. Though occasionally interesting, the movie fails to cohere and become a compelling journey. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio along with a fairly useful roster of bonus materials. A mini-series version of this story might succeed, but 103 minutes seems like too little time to really explore the novel’s territory.