Black crush hampers an otherwise gorgeous presentation
For a film meant to shamelessly satirize the situation in North Korea, The Interview makes the mistake of casting the superlative Randal Kim as the villain, making the caricature of Kim Jung-un the most likable piece in the movie. Certainly, The Interview has gags and jokes to offer, but it comes through as lacking any sensible substance. The film screams “America!” between periods of self-depreciating humor to dim the real world realities which led to the creation of this movie in the first place.
In-between the furor of the Sony hack came a decent looking film, shot digitally with a strong outpouring of texture. Lighting is precise in bringing out facial definition. Clothes display plenty of individual stitches, in close or from afar. Visible resolution is exquisite.
Colors too are plentiful, even if the feature slips between two familiar warm/cool palettes. Flesh tones are typically preserved either way. Primaries have a notable energy. A purple suit worn by Franco is particularly vivid, and the reds strewn about North Korea are spectacularly dense. Inside of the production room during the end of the story, the red lights drape over everything. Sony’s encode has no compression issues.
What becomes a continuing problem for The Interview are the invasive black levels. Compared to the streamed VOD presentation, the feature seems to have underwent IRE tinkering before Blu-ray. Shadow detail is utterly crushed. Inside dark locations, actors blend in with their surroundings through shadows. It’s an oppressive look – maybe somewhat ironically? – but in actuality makes scenes hard to view.
Specifically, a nighttime sequence involving a tiger is ruined. This is the most egregious. From a distance (Franco’s POV) there is little to see. The tiger is barely visible. Rogen completely disappears. While this look can (occasionally) grant the illusion of depth, it’s just an illusion. And, the cost is rather high.
There is little nuance to the DTS-HD mix as presented. By the time gunfire and tank shells take over, it’s a wall of chaotic sound. Each shot fired is beefy, hitting the low-end with plenty of zip. Resulting explosions where available are likewise hefty.
Directionality is fine. There is always something happening amongst the action. No channel is wasted. Even outside of the panic, newsroom situations are lively and empty hallways carry a pleasing echo. Interview works well, if without the pizzazz carried by the best discs.
Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen join up for a commentary track, spilling over into a joke fest as expected. A selection of 14 deleted scenes run for 25-minutes with some great ones in the mix. The gag reel which follows is equally absurd.
Three line-o-ramas are next, stuffed with alternate lines great enough to be in the finished piece. Directors of this Movie pokes fun at Goldberg and Rogen while showing the mood on the set. Spies Among Us runs through the characters. Randall Park’s audition tape is just as golden as his actual performance. Getting into Character details the casting process at large.
Dating a Dictator is a short piece with Park in character, making a video for an online dating profile. Puppy Power details the dog… it can’t be bad. Because puppies. Here Kitty, Kitty focuses on the tiger and how the scene was done without effects but a live animal. Joking Around visits the writers as they spit out jokes live on the set for additional takes. Finally, the hilarious Naked & Afraid spoof with Rogen and Franco is included in whole.
Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.