Supergirl appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Given the restrictions of the source, this became a good image.
Sharpness seemed erratic, as the movie tended toward a fairly soft feel much of the time. However, that stemmed from the original film, as Supergirl always went with a gauzy look.
Throw in a slew of optical elements and parts of the movie came with a definite lack of great definition. This softness can be a bit of a distraction, but I can’t blame the transfer, and overall delineation seemed acceptable to good.
Neither jagged edges nor moiré effects created issues, and I saw no signs of edge haloes or digital noise reduction, so expect a firm layer of grain. Print flaws also failed to manifest through the film.
Colors tended to seem fairly natural and accurate. The palette could’ve seemed peppier but the hues largely looked fine given the style of photography.
Black levels appeared mostly deep and dense and shadow detail looked appropriately heavy without excessive darkness. No one will use Supergirl as a showpiece, but the disc represented the original photography reasonably well.
I felt more pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Supergirl. The soundstage seemed quite broad and engaging, especially from the forward channels. These displayed a great deal of activity and placed the sounds precisely within their places.
Panning could be a little awkward, as the transitions between channels seemed slightly jumpy, but overall the audio blended fairly well. The surrounds were less active but they contributed nicely to the effect. Both music and ambient sounds came from the rears, and we even get some split-surround usage on occasion.
Quality seemed more than fine given the material’s age. Dialogue could come across as a little flat but usually sounded reasonably natural and accurate, with no edginess or interference. Effects were crisp and fairly dynamic, with nice range.
Jerry Goldsmith's score seemed reasonably bright and bold, with good presence and no apparent distortion. The mix showed some good bass at times, which added nice depth to the track. This track seemed quite satisfying, especially given the film’s vintage.
How did this Blu-ray compare to the last DVD from 2006? Audio seemed more robust, and visuals were tighter and cleaner. Ironically, Blu-ray superior definition made the film’s inherent softness more obvious, but even so, this was a nice upgrade.
When we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Jeannot Szwarc and special projects consultant Scott Michael Bosco. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at how Szwarc came onto the film, the opening credits and music, character/story areas, cast and performances, set/production/costume design, effects, and changes among different cuts of the film.
For the movie’s first act, this proves to be a pretty solid track, as Szwarc and Bosco offer a nice mix of insights. However, as it progresses, the discussion loses steam, which means less content as we go. There’s still enough useful material to make this a mostly positive piece, though.
In addition to the trailer for Supergirl, we get The Making of the Movie, a 49-minute, 48-second show created to promote the film in 1984. It includes comments from Szwarc, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, casting director Lynn Stalmaster, stuntman Alf Joint, and actors Faye Dunaway, Helen Slater, Peter O’Toole, Simon Ward, Peter Cooke, and Brenda Vaccaro.
“Making” looks at the search for a lead actor and Slater’s preparation for the role, story/character areas, sets and locations, and effects. We find all sorts of great material here, from some of Slater's test shots to "behind the scenes" interactions and some good interviews.
Those involved are fairly frank about the issues they confronted - it's wonderful to hear Peter O'Toole talk about how he copes with the silly dialogue - and the whole show creates a lively impression of the shoot. Even with a fair amount of the usual promotional fluff, this becomes an informative and entertaining little program.
A second disc provides a DVD with the Director’s Cut of Supergirl. As noted in the body of the review, Supergirl boasted two versions in 1984: a 105-minute US edition and a 124-minute “International Cut”. The Blu-ray represents the 124-minute film,
First released on DVD circa 2000, the nearly 139-minute “Director’s Cut” adds a mix of new and extended scenes that pad the International version by 14 minutes, 10 seconds. None of these make Supergirl a good – or even better – movie, but it’s nice to have the DC available, especially since the old DVD has been out of print for years.
While not the worst superhero movie ever, 1984’s Supergirl remains a forgettable adventure. It gives us a limp tale without many obvious positives. The Blu-ray provides generally good picture with surprisingly strong audio and a small but valuable package of supplements. Though I feel pleased with this release, the movie itself remains a dud.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of SUPERGIRL