Stop-Loss 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. Not too many issues developed in this satisfying transfer.
Only minor signs of softness appeared. A few wide shots seemed a tad undefined, but those were reasonably infrequent. The majority of the flick looked well-defined and accurate. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and only light edge enhancement was visible. Source flaws remained absent, as I noticed no specks, marks or other concerns.
Stop-Loss featured a subdued and stylized palette for the most part. The tones tended toward the brownish-tan side of the street, and we didn’t get a lot of color breadth. The hues were fine given their stylistic limitations. Black levels seemed deep, while shadow detail was appropriately thick much of the time. Ultimately, Stop-Loss provided a good visual experience.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Stop-Loss, it presented a sporadically involving experience. The soundfield came to life mainly during the action scenes. Those showed good breadth and activity, and they used the surrounds to solid effect. However, since most of the movie stayed with character drama, not too many of these opportunities materialized. Most of the flick stayed with decent atmosphere and not much else. Still, it filled in the spectrum to a satisfying degree.
Audio quality was good. Speech sounded natural and concise. Music was full and dynamic, while effects sounded rich and accurate. Bass response appeared deep and taut throughout the film. This became a perfectly acceptable soundtrack.
When we move to the extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Kimberly Peirce and co-writer Mark Richard. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific piece – part of the time, at least. They start out together, but Richard quickly takes a powder and pops up infrequently after that.
The commentary looks at cast, performances and training, story and characters, cut and altered scenes, influences, sets and locations, camerawork, attempts at authenticity, music, and a few other production choices. As I noted, Peirce heavily dominates the chat, and she provides an effective introspective tone. She gives us a thoughtful examination of the film and adds to our understanding of it. It’s too bad Richard appears for so little of the track, as it moves more briskly with him there, but it remains a good commentary. I still want someone to discuss the “Sgt. Shriver” choice, though!
Two featurettes come next. The Making of Stop-Loss goes for 20 minutes, 57 seconds and features notes from Peirce, Richard, producer Gregory Goodman, military adviser Sgt. Major James Dever, and actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Victor Rasuk, Ryan Phillippe, and Channing Tatum. The show looks at camerawork and the movie’s visual style, research, influences for the film and attempts at accuracy, locations, cast and performances, and a few other production details.
Since Peirce already covered so much in her commentary, a bit of redundancy occurs here. However, we don’t find much repeated material, so expect plenty of fresh information. In addition, the other perspectives and behind the scenes footage adds value to the show. Like the commentary, “Making” becomes a serious and useful take on its subjects.
A Day In Boot Camp runs 10 minutes, two seconds and offers comments from Dever, Phillippe, Gordon-Levitt, Tatum and soldier Jose Lezano. We go to Texas to watch the actors’ military training and its impact on them. We get good footage from the session in this interesting feature.
11 Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 18 minutes, 33 seconds. These divide into two camps. We get character moments that would’ve been nice to have but weren’t essential, and we also find “shoe leather” bits that illustrate the logistics of Brandon’s journey. Nothing significant pops up in any of these. Those so inclined will find plenty of added beefcake, though.
We can watch these with or without commentary from Peirce. She provides some basic thoughts about the scenes as well as notes about why she cut them. She continues to offer good insights about the film.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Star Trek X, Iron Man, and Shine a Light. These also appear in the Previews area along with promos for American Teen and The Ruins. No trailer for Stop-Loss appears on the DVD.
Stop-Loss wears its heart on its sleeve as it tells a rather pedantic, one-sided tale. The movie has potential but it becomes too simplistic and preachy to really succeed. The DVD offers very good picture along with pretty positive audio and supplements. I like the DVD, but the movie itself doesn’t do much for me.