Swing Vote appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie presented a rather mediocre transfer.
Most of my complaints stemmed from edge enhancement. The movie suffered from noticeable haloes much of the time, and these left the image with a lack of definition in wider shots. Close-ups and two-shots looked fine, but broader scenes lacked good delineation. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and source flaws remained absent.
Colors were decent. The film featured a golden palette much of the time, and the tones looked fine for the most part. The hues could be somewhat drab, but they were generally acceptable. Blacks appeared fairly dark and dense, while shadows showed good clarity. This wasn’t a bad presentation, but the haloes and softness meant it didn’t merit anything above a “C+”.
With a general focus on characters comedy/drama, Swing Vote offered a decidedly lackluster soundtrack. The soundfield emphasized general ambience and not much more. Music showed pretty good stereo imaging, and a smattering of environmental elements like cars and whatnot cropped up in the side and back speakers. These remained quite low-key and didn’t add much to the presentation.
Audio quality was acceptable. Speech appeared natural and concise, as the lines sounded fine. Music could’ve boasted greater vivacity, but the score showed decent definition. Effects came across as accurate, though they never exactly taxed my system. The audio worked okay for the material, but that was the most I could say for it.
When we head to the disc’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from Writer/Director Joshua Michael Stern and writer Jason Richman. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and character elements, editing and cut scenes, cast and performances, sets and locations, and other production elements.
I may not think much of their movie, but Stern and Richman provide a pretty good look at Swing Vote. They seem honest and involved as they dig into various aspects of the flick. Along the way, they indulge in some of the usual happy talk, but the guys usually stay on task and turn this into a fairly useful little chat.
A featurette called Inside the Campaign: The Politics of Production runs 12 minutes, 58 seconds and includes remarks from Stern, Richman, producer Jim Wilson, executive producer Robin Jonas, and actors Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Lane, Paula Patton and Madeline Carroll. “Politics” looks at the project’s roots, casting and performances, attempts at verisimilitude, and a few other production thoughts.
Expect a pretty standard promotional puff piece here. The featurette exists to interest us in the film, so it provides very little real information. We get a couple of minor shots of the set but nothing else that seems compelling.
Four Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of 10 minutes, 51 seconds. “Boone and Greenleaf’s Magic Moments” (4:09), “Fox and Crumb Change the System” (2:11), “Kate and Bud Fight” (1:32) and “Extended Bowling Scene” (2:59). “Moments” focuses on insights experienced by the two presidential candidates. It would’ve been an inappropriate part of the final flick, as it takes us away from Bud for too long. “System” goes down a similar path with a post-election look at the campaign managers. Once again, it goes away from the main story for too much time and wouldn’t work.
“Fight” keeps us on target plot-wise, but it adds nothing to the story; we learn nothing we don’t already know. “Bowling” falls into the same category, as it doesn’t tell us new information that fleshes out the movie.
We can watch these scenes with or without commentary from Stern. He tells us a bit about the segments and lets us know why the scenes didn’t make the final cut. As was the case with the main commentary, we get some good notes here.
Next we find a music video for “Hey Man What About You?” by Modern West. The band got the gig because their singer just happens to be one Kevin Costner. This “video” actually appears to be an alternate scene from the movie. We see Bud’s band play a different song in the flick, and this one mostly works the same way, though the “video” also incorporates other movie clips. It’s a forgettable video for a bland country song.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Blu-Ray Disc, Brideshead Revisited, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Earth. These also appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with promos for Lost Season 4, ABC News and Miramax Films. No trailer for Swing Vote appears here.
After all these decades, filmmakers still try to out-Capra Capra, and Swing Vote falls into that category. Like most of the other imitators, Vote fails in its attempt to follow in Capra’s footsteps – and it can’t even muster a coherent story or logical tale. The DVD provides mediocre picture and audio along with a decent set of extras highlighted by a good audio commentary. A disjointed mess, Swing Vote fails in almost every way as a movie.