What Just Happened appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though the movie remained perfectly watchable, the transfer never excelled.
Sharpness was usually fine, though some exceptions occurred, as occasional wide shots felt a bit soft. Still, overall delineation worked pretty well.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but I noticed mild haloes a fair amount of the time. The flick also tended to be a bit grainy, but other source flaws failed to appear.
Colors looked fairly ordinary. The image took on a dingy green-blue tone much of the time, with occasional splashes of red. The hues seemed acceptable but they weren’t particularly strong.
Blacks appeared reasonably dark and tight, while shadows showed decent delineation. Some low-light shots were a bit too thick, though. All of this was good enough for a mediocre “C+”.
I also thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Happened remained unexceptional, though it worked better than the visuals. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of satirical comedy, and I got exactly what I anticipated.
In terms of effects, general ambience ruled the day. Surround usage stayed limited, so the back speakers gently fleshed out various settings but did little more than that.
In those forward channels, the music provided nice stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but the effects conveyed a passable sense of space and place. The track functioned appropriately for the story.
Audio quality appeared fine. The music was the strongest aspect of the track, as the score showed nice vivacity and impact.
Dialogue was consistently warm and natural. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate.
There wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. This became a decent reproduction of the material.
A mix of extras round out the disc, and we get an audio commentary from director Barry Levinson and writer Art Linson. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, reflections of “real Hollywood” and related subjects.
Though we get occasional insights here, much of the commentary feels fairly banal. Levinson and Linson deliver just enough worthwhile information to mean the track doesn’t flop, but with a fair amount of dead air and a semi-slow pace, this becomes a mediocre track.
Three featurettes appear, and Behind the Scenes fills a mere two minutes, 47 seconds. It shows raw footage from the shoot an offers a mildly intriguing reel.
From Book to Script to Screen goes for 23 minutes, 47 seconds. It brings notes from Linson, Levinson and actor Robert De Niro.
“Screen” covers the source novel and its adaptation, what brought Levinson to the project and its path to the screen, story/characters, the nature of Hollywood, cast and performances and general thoughts. Inevitably, some of this repeats from the commentary, but it nonetheless delivers a fairly tight overview.
Finally, No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of This Movie spans a brief one minute, 59 seconds. Here we find narration from Millie, the canine actor we see in the film.
It offers a comedic look at the animal performer. It seems cute and not much more.
Three Deleted Scenes occupy a total of seven minutes, seven seconds. One offers an alternate version of the existing ending, while another gives us a film conclusion that spins matters in a radically happier vein.
The third shows a little more of Ben and daughter Zoe. None of these work – especially not the happy ending.
12 Casting Sessions take up a sum of 26 minutes, 58 seconds. We find these for actors Moon Bloodgood, Ron Li-paz, Dey Young, Paul Herman, Jean-Michel Richaud, Brent Rose, Logan Grove, Jonathan C. Kaplan, Karina Buck, Peter Jacobson, Jason Kravits, and Kate Burton.
As expected, we get tryouts for all these supporting actors, all of whom scored their roles. It might’ve been more interesting to see folks who didn’t make the cut, but this still turns into an intriguing compilation, especially since it contrasts the auditions with final footage.
The disc opens with ads for Two Lovers, The Great Buck Howard, and The Life Before Her Eyes. No trailer for Happened appears here.
Barry Levinson attempts to bite the hand that feeds him via the Hollywood satire What Happened Here. Unfortunately, the film indulges in the usual concepts so it fails to find a clever or interesting path. The Blu-ray brings mediocre picture and audio along with a decent set of bonus materials. Levinson wastes an excellent cast with this tedious snoozer.