After the Sunset appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a pleasing presentation.
Sharpness seemed good. The movie usually appeared crisp and well-defined, with only a few minor instances of softness in a few wide shots. Moiré effects and jagged edges caused no issues, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie lacked any form of print flaws.
Given the tropical setting, the movie used a vivid palette, and the disc replicated those tones well. The film tended to highlight some orange and teal, but the colors still came across as peppy. Black levels also appeared deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately dense but not overly opaque. The picture of Sunset looked strong and just narrowly fell short of “A” levels.
While the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack lacked consistent ambition, it worked fine for the material. The movie usually stayed with a relatively low-key presentation, but it kicked into somewhat higher gear when necessary.
Some of the elements around the island brought nice dimensionality to the affair, and the pieces were accurately placed and nicely melded. Music showed strong stereo imaging as well, and the surrounds added a good feel to the proceedings.
A few louder scenes like chases contributed the best information from the rear, but the movie usually stayed with general ambience. I liked the involving nature of the music heard during a big parade, and the underwater bits also formed a good soundscape. The whole mix seemed satisfying.
Audio quality was positive. Speech always sounded natural and distinctive, and I noticed no signs of edginess or issues with intelligibility. Effects demonstrated good accuracy and clarity. Those elements packed the appropriate punch in more active sequences, and they consistently lacked distortion or other concerns.
Music was lush and vibrant as well, and the entire package showed a nice sense of depth and vivacity. Only the slightly restricted scope of the track kept it at “B” level, but it was a more than satisfactory piece of work.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was richer and more dynamic, while visuals seemed tighter, smoother and more film-like. This became a nice step up in quality.
Most of the DVD’s extras repeat here, and we launch with an audio commentary from director Brett Ratner, producer Beau Flynn and editor Mark Helfrich. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They cover the basics but don’t make this a better than average piece.
We get the usual notes about locations, sets, cast, score, story issues, visual effects and the movie’s look, deleted scenes, reshoots, and editing. Some of the more interesting moments connect to Woody Harrelson’s quirks; for instance, he won’t wear anything not made of hemp, and he almost attacked Ratner after a disagreement. A little bickering also pops up among the participants in the track, and those instances bring occasional life to the piece.
Unfortunately, an awful lot of bland praise pops up throughout the track, as those involved - especially Ratner - seem totally enamored by their film. This makes the commentary drag, and since the information provided usually seems pedestrian, the discussion usually remains lackluster.
At least the participants acknowledge this tendency; at one point, Ratner makes a crude remark about it. The commentary seems informative enough but not much better than that.
15 Deleted/Alternate Scenes fill a total of 16 minutes and 48 seconds. As you can tell from that running time, we don’t find much of substance here. Mostly we see reshoots or extended versions of existing bits. The most interesting clips come from the alternate endings - including a wedding scene - as well as one that shows Max scamming a tennis pro.
The scenes can be watched with or without commentary from Ratner, Flynn and Helfrich. They tell us a little about the shooting of the clips and usually let us know why the segments didn’t make the film. The commentary offers enough good information to merit a listen.
For more cut footage, we head to the four-minute and 51-second Blooper Reel. As usual, mostly we see goofs and silliness. However, a couple of alternate scenes and pranks appear, and we also see some interesting unused tidbits. It’s a better than average package.
Next comes a documentary called Before, During and After the Sunset. The one-hour, 10-minute and 23-second program consists almost entirely of behind the scenes video footage. It follows the production from location scouts, casting sessions, wardrobe/makeup tests, building sets, shooting the flick and various problems like an illness that affects Ratner, working with the actors, stunts, practical effects, filming the basketball sequences, special makeup, reshoots, and the premiere. No proper interviews occur, though we hear some occasional impromptu remarks from folks on the set.
Ratner clearly has a healthy ego, so this program focuses mostly on his actions. However, that works out just fine, as it allows us to see a little of everything that happened on the set. We get a fairly blunt look at the proceedings, which means the occasional dispute.
I like the bit where Ratner argues with Harrelson about his mustache, and many other memorable moments occur. Where else will you see a whiny Hayek gripe that she has to see too much of Ratner’s “crack”? I love these “fly on the wall” programs, and “Before” ends up as a lively and entertaining glimpse at the shoot.
Briefly excerpted in the prior documentary, we get the full 18-minute and 25-second Charlie Rose Show Interview. This includes remarks from Ratner, Brosnan, Hayek and Harrelson. They discuss how the actors and Ratner came onto the project, their interactions with each other, the appeal of this kind of film and its plot, the characters, and their upcoming efforts.
Rose often conducts quality interviews, but this isn’t one of them. The chat does little more than tout the flick with fluffy comments, so don’t expect to learn much from it.
For the next featurette, we find the eight-minute and eight-second Interview with a Jewel Thief. Conducted by Ratner, the chat presents information from author/former crook Bill Mason. He discusses how he became a felon, his methods, his various escapades, and his attitudes toward the work. It’s an interesting little conversation that whets one’s appetite to learn more.
Special Effects Comparisons go for three minutes and 18 seconds. We see a mix of shots in before and after configurations along with narration from editor Helfrich. He lets us know about the flick’s 150 visual effects shots as we see the changes.
This area presents a nice illustration of the essentially hidden methods used to touch up the image. Honestly, it’s sometimes more fun to see this kind of stuff than it is to learn about more obvious effects like those in the Lord of the Rings flicks; that stuff’s great, but it’s fascinating to learn about the much less obvious pieces.
In addition to the movie’s trailer, we get Max and Lola Pretending to Make Love for Stan’s Bug. This one-minute, 25-second clip shows Max and Lola acting out the fake sex that Lloyd hears via his bug. It’s a neat alternate take.
Finally, A Practical Joke Ratner Played on Brosnan goes for 44 seconds. As expected, the clip shows a prank Ratner played on Brosnan. It’s funny, but you’ve already seen it if you watched “Before”.
With a successful director and a roster of reasonably strong actors behind it, After the Sunset could have become a lively and engaging little romp. Unfortunately, it can’t balance its various attempts at lightness and drama, and these make it a dull, tedious effort. The Blu-ray delivers good picture and audio as well as a nice set of bonus materials. I don’t care for the movie, but this becomes a quality release.
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