Top Five appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I found no problems with this excellent presentation.
Colors veered from a light teal feel to a mild amber impression. These stylistic choices worked fine, as they hues seemed appropriate for the selected palette. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity.
Sharpness excelled. All shots – wide, close and in-between – provided solid clarity and definition. If any unintentional softness emerged, I didn’t see it. Jaggies and shimmering were absent, and edge haloes weren’t a factor. No signs of source flaws emerged, and I didn’t sense any digital noise reduction; the film featured good natural grain. Across the board, this was a pleasing transfer.
Comedies don’t usually boast dynamic audio, so don’t expect much from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Top Five. The soundfield remained pretty limited through most of the film. Music showed nice stereo presence, and a few scenes – usually those in clubs or on the streets - opened up the environment in a reasonably satisfying manner. These gave the soundscape a bit of oomph and created a good setting for the events.
Audio quality was solid. Speech always came across as natural and distinctive, with no signs of edginess or reediness. Music sounded lush and warm, while effects – as minor as they were – appeared accurate enough. At no point did this threaten to become a superior soundscape, but it seemed better than average for a film of this sort.
When we shift to the set’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from writer/director/actor Chris Rock and actor JB Smoove. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, autobiographical moments, NYC locations, cast and performances, editing, music, and general observations on life.
The last topic takes up the most time, as Rock and Smoove tend to mostly muse about different domains. Some of those provide comedy – the commentary delivers decent laughs – but too much of the track lacks oomph. The guys either praise the movie or ramble about not much in particular. There’s enough humor here to maintain interest, but the commentary tells us little about the movie’s creation and doesn’t do a lot for me.
Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of three minutes, 30 seconds. We find “Andre Raps” (1:55), “First Day Your Movie Comes Out” (0:40) and “These Shoes” (0:55). “Raps” offers what it implies, as we hear Andre do verses of NWA during a talk show appearance; it’s somewhat funny but totally superfluous.
“Movie” keeps us on the Charlie Rose set, but it shows “excerpts” from two “Andre Allen” flicks not depicted in the final cut; like “Raps”, it’s fun but not important. “Shoes” offers a quick chat with Andre’s fiancée about her awesome new footwear. Like its siblings, it’s good it landed on the cutting room floor.
A few featurettes follow. It’s Never Just a Movie goes for 20 minutes, eight seconds and includes notes from Rock, Smoove, executive music producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and actors Cedric the Entertainer, Rosario Dawson, Sherri Shepherd, Kevin Hart, Ben Vereen, Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union, Jay Pharoah, Leslie Jones, and Michael Che. The piece covers Rock’s start in comedy and his career, story/character areas, cast and performances, shooting in New York, and Rock’s work as director.
Some interesting archival footage emerges along with some outtakes, but this is mostly a love letter to Rock. Much of the program focuses on praise for the writer/director/actor, and that tendency gets old pretty fast. Despite the smattering of good tidbits, this ends up as a lackluster featurette.
With The Making of Top Five, we locate a 10-minute, 26-second piece with Rock, Dawson, Smoove, Union, Shepherd, Cedric, and Thompson. We get some notes about Rock’s goals for the film as well as his approach to the material and cast and performances. Like “Movie”, this one comes with some good behind the scenes footage, but like “Movie”, it also lavishes a lot of praise on Rock. That continues to be a less than charming approach.
Top Five Andre Allen Standup Outtakes runs six minutes, 22 seconds and shows what it states. We get shots of Rock at work on stage. These offer some amusement and become a fun extra.
Finally, the set provides Top Five Moments You Didn’t See in the Film. This one takes up four minutes, 16 seconds and displays outtakes. We get a bunch of alternate lines from various actors in this entertaining compilation.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Top Five. It lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras.
While not without funny moments, Top Five plods too much. It comes with flat characters and a general lack of insight as it meanders across its running time. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals and positive audio as well as a mediocre collection of bonus materials. Top Five occasionally amuses but it falters too often to become a winner.