Wall Street 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. At no time did this threaten to become an impressive transfer.
Sharpness appeared iffy at best. While some parts of the movie showed decent clarity and delineation, much of the flick seemed a little soft and ill-defined. These issues weren’t extreme, but they gave the movie a dull look. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws were also negligible. A few specks cropped up but not with any regularity.
Hues seemed a little muddy and bland during most of the movie, as Street often presented a rather brownish look. On some occasions, I thought colors appeared acceptably bright and accurate, but these were rare; mainly the hues came across as flat and without much life. Some of that related to production design and film stock, but I still felt the flick could have been more dynamic. Black levels were inky, and shadows tended to be rather heavy. Low-light shots usually seemed awfully opaque. Though the movie looked decent enough for a “C-“, it almost entered “D” territory.
I can’t offer much more praise for the movie’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. This mix remained very heavily oriented toward the front spectrum. The forward channels displayed acceptably spread from music and some effects and the audio blended together fairly well. However, it wasn’t an active environment and it presented a pretty restricted image through most of the film.
Surround usage seemed very minimal, with only mild music coming from the back during most of the movie. On some occasions, reinforcement of effects appeared from the rears, and during Gecko’s speech to some shareholders, I found that the audio offered a nicely appropriate echo. However, throughout the majority of the movie, the rear speakers seemed uninvolved.
Audio quality was decent but fairly bland. Dialogue sounded mildly thin and reedy. However, the speech usually came across as distinct and easily intelligible with no signs of edginess. Effects were clean and decently realistic but they lacked much clarity or force. Music was similarly smooth but without great dynamics; the soundtrack offered modest low end but did not stand out in any way. As a whole, the mix was roughly average; it offered a listenable but uninvolving experience.
Wall Street includes a few different extras. First up is a running audio commentary from director Stone. Although the track featured more gaps than I’d like, as a whole Stone offered a nice commentary. I can’t call it genuinely “screen specific”; while Stone sometimes referred to the action currently shown in the movie, that didn’t happen frequently.
Instead, Stone provided many compelling remarks about the production and his life and career in general. He discussed his relationship with his father and how it shows up on screen, casting and working with the actors, story points, and a mix of other topics. Stone seemed very forthright and honest and he never appeared to shy away from blunt details, which means that we learn some strong information. It’s a good track.
Next is Money Never Sleeps, a fine 47-minute and 35-second documentary by Charles Kiselyak. This program mainly features contemporary interviews with Stone and a variety of cast members (both Charlie and Martin Sheen and Douglas) plus a smattering of movie clips and a few shots from the set. It’s an honest and compelling look at the creation of Wall Street and it provided a very entertaining experience. All of the participants offer their frank thoughts about the shoot and I thought it was a fun piece, especially when Martin Sheen discusses his attempts to deviate from Stone’s script. One thing’s for sure: you’ll never again be able to maintain a straight face when you hear the name “Bud Fox”.
In addition to these extras, we find a few more commonplace pieces. We get two theatrical trailers for the film. Note that although the DVD’s case states that the disc includes TV spots, it doesn’t; I looked all over it and could find no evidence of these advertisements.
Wall Street finds Oliver Stone repeating himself to a degree as he created a companion piece to Platoon. However, while WS lacks much originality, it presents a generally interesting and entertaining view of the self-centered world of Eighties high finance. The DVD offers flawed picture, mediocre sound and a few strong supplements. Wall Street is a decent movie, but this is a sub-standard DVD.
To rate this film visit the 20th Anniversary Edition review of WALL STREET