Straight Outta Compton appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film presented a solid transfer.
In terms of sharpness, Compton showed good delineation. A smidgen of softness popped up on a few occasions, but those instances stayed minor and inconsequential, so that left us with a tight image. Shimmering and jaggies failed to appear, and I saw no edge haloes or print flaws.
Colors tended toward teal and amber. Writing that makes me feel like the proverbial broken record, as I seem to cite some variation of those hues all the time, but that’s what I saw, and the tones appeared appropriately rendered. Blacks were tight and dark, while shadows showed nice smoothness. This ended up as a positive presentation.
Given the subject matter, one would expect the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack to emphasize music, and it did. The movie’s many songs filled the speakers in a broad and involving way that added to the experience.
Effects had less to do, but they added life to the story as well. Scenes with police presence or violence created the liveliest circumstances, and quieted scenes demonstrated a nice sense of place as well. Add to that some localized speech and this was a pretty involving soundscape.
Audio quality worked well. Speech seemed accurate and distinctive, without edginess or other concerns. Effects appeared clear and dynamic, while music was full and rich. This seemed like a strong mix for a drama.
The Blu-ray provides both the film’s theatrical version (2:26:44) as well as an Unrated Director’s Cut (2:46:44). The main additions to the Director’s Cut come from character scenes, primarily those that expand the female characters.
We see more of various NWA girlfriends in the longer version, and we get a few other character beats/jokes. I think a lot of these make a slow film even more sluggish – it’s interesting to see the Director’s Cut as an alternate, but the shorter Compton works better.
We can view either version of the film with an audio commentary from director F. Gary Gray. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, cast and performances, historical background and period elements, production design, sets and locations, music, changes for the Director’s Cut and related topics.
Gray’s commentary seems competent and no better. While he touches on a reasonable array of subjects, he doesn’t provide a lot of substance, and a lot of the track concentrates on praise for the project. I like that he remains chatty over the almost three-hour long Director’s Cut, and he does offer some good insights, but the discussion never becomes especially informative.
Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 41 seconds. We also get a Deleted Song Performance (1:28). The first three cut sequences last barely a minute all together, so they’re forgettable. The final scene – “Dre Gets a Call” – is also too brief to contribute much.
At two minutes, 38 seconds, “Nicole Visits Dre” becomes the most substantial deleted scene, as it shows Dre and his girlfriend when she sees him in jail. It’s a melodramatic sequence that doesn’t turn into anything memorable. The one-minute, 23-second “Reunited” offers a follow-up to this scene; it’s also sappy.
As for the “Deleted Song Performance”, it gives us “Compton's N the House”. This becomes one of the less compelling “live” shots, as it seems curiously lifeless. Perhaps it would’ve gotten better editing/post-production if it had made the final flick.
A few featurettes follow. NWA: The Origins goes for three minutes, 49 seconds and features Gray, NWA members DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and MC Ren, club owner Lonzo Williams, and actors Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Neil Brown, Jr., and Aldis Hodge. We get some basics about NWA as well as their involvement in the film. “Origins” works well for a short piece, but its extreme brevity makes it less satisfying.
During the one-minute, 35-second Impact, we hear from Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, DJ Yella, Mitchell, Hodge, Gray, and DJ coach Robert “DJ Robshot” Johnson. They tell us of NWA’s importance. They tell us little of substance.
Next we find Director’s Journey. It lasts three minutes, 22 seconds and features Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Gray, and neighborhood technical advisor Cle Sloan. “Journey” looks at the film’s reproduction of LA during/after the Rodney King riots. Once again, the featurette’s brevity hurts it, but it comes with some good details.
The Streets: Filming in Compton takes up six minutes, three seconds and includes notes from MC Ren, DJ Yella, Gray, Jackson, Sloan, Mitchell, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, background performers Andrew Askins and Calvin Dowg, special effects coordinator Eric Frazier, police advisor Chic Daniel, electrician Mike Cruz, and actors Natascha Hopkins, Paul Giamatti and Keith Powers. We see aspects of shooting on location in Compton. The featurette gives us a decent look at this side of the production.
With NWA Performs in Detroit, we get a four-minute, 54-second clip with Ice Cube, DJ Yella, MC Ren, Gray, Hodge, Brown, and Jackson. We view the filming of NWA’s infamous Detroit concert. It becomes another short but moderately useful featurette.
Finally, Becoming NWA occupies eight minutes, 30 seconds and gives us comments from Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Mitchell, Gray, DJ Yella, Hodge, MC Ren, Jackson, Hawkins, background performer Dredano Cobbs, rap consultant William Calhoun and Eazy-E’s children Eric Wright, Jr. and Erica Wright. The show looks at the actors’ attempts to recreate NWA. Expect a decent little show.
The disc opens with ads for the movie’s soundtrack, Jarhead 3: The Siege, Race, Everest and Legend. No trailer for Compton appears here.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Compton. It includes the theatrical cut of the film with the commentary, “Origins”, “Impact”, “Journey”, “Streets” and “Detroit”.
With an interesting subject matter, Straight Outta Compton comes with plenty of potential. Unfortunately, it feels like a standard issue biopic that doesn’t bring anything especially interesting to the table. The Blu-ray offers good picture and audio as well as an average collection of supplements. Compton offers a dull drama that disappoints.