The A-Team appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. While not as consistent as I’d like, the image usually worked well.
Sharpness created the most apparent occasional concern. Though the majority of the flick offered strong definition and clarity, a few elements seemed a little soft. Still, those examples remained infrequent, as most of the movie was concise. I noticed no issues with jaggies or shimmering, and no issues with artifacts, edge haloes or source flaws appeared.
After opening with some sandy/hot hues to fit Mexican/Iraqi desert settings, the rest of A-Team usually tended toward a rather cool palette. This meant a general aqua tint to most scenes; some exceptions popped up, but expect the blue-green tone to dominate. I’d prefer a more creative sense of colors, but these looked fine within thir restrictions. Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows showed good clarity. I felt the occasional softness left this as a “B”, but it remained solid most of the time.
More consistent pleasures came from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Expect an aggressive mix, and the many action scenes meant that the audio became a heavy factor in the film. The track used the surround channels actively, especially when we got into various fights; elements swirled around the room and immersed us in the action well. General ambience was also good, and the score used the front speakers in a satisfying manner. The whole shebang fit together smoothly to create a satisfying sonic impression.
Audio quality was also strong. Expect some heavy bass here, as the various effects gave my subwoofer a workout. Low-end was deep and firm; no boominess or problems accompanied the bass response.
Speech was natural and distinctive; I noticed no edginess or other concerns. Music showed good range and clarity, while effects were concise and full. I thought the audio helped embellish the events in a positive manner.
When we shift to extras, we find two editions of the film. We get the original theatrical version (1:58:45) as well as an Extended Cut (2:13:33). I discuss these in the body of the review, so if you didn’t already read those notes, go back there for my thoughts. In brief: I much prefer the longer edition of the movie.
Alongside the theatrical version, we can watch The Devil’s In the Details: Inside the Action with Joe Carnahan. This offers an audio commentary with a visual twist. In addition to Carnahan’s standard track, he occasionally pops onscreen to chat; during those moments, we also see storyboards, technical elements and footage from the set.
“Details” also displays graphics at the top and bottom of the screen. At the top, we find an interactive interface that provides minor information about various weapons and vehicles seen in the flick. At the bottom, we get a counter that keeps track of the film’s five “plans” and documents their progression, with an emphasis on the character involved at each moment. These different elements add a nice twist, but if you choose to simply check out “Details” as an audio commentary, you won’t miss much.
As for the content director/co-writer Carnahan covers, he discusses sets and locations, stunts and actions, script and story changes, cast and performances, cinematography and editing, various effects, and a few other production-related areas. While Carnahan can seem a bit full of himself at times, he delivers a pretty engaging chat. He tells us the nitty-gritty about the movie, and he’s happy to point out mistakes and other fun trivia. Carnahan makes this a pretty fun, informative piece.
Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of nine minutes, five seconds. We find “Giant Tea Party” (1:12), “Pecker” (1:39), “The Humvee’s Days Are Numbered” (1:40), “Hannibal Needs Supplies” (1:05), “5 More Minutes” (1:39) and “Lynch and His Doll” (1:40). These offer a few comedic character moments – such as bickering between BA and Face in “Pecker” – and a bit more exposition. “Pecker” and “Party” are funny enough to be worth a look, but the others tend to seem redundant, especially if you’ve seen the extended cut of the film.
After this we locate a Gag Reel. It runs seven minutes, 19 seconds, and delivers the standard assortment of goofs and giggles. Though the reel’s longer than usual, it’s not more interesting. In his commentary, Carnahan describes this as a great blooper collection, but I disagree; don’t expect anything out of the ordinary here.
During the one-minute, 36-second A-Team Theme Mash-Up Montage, we get a kind of music video. It takes movie clips and accompanies them with the original TV theme. Yawn.
For Plan of Attack, we encounter a 28-minute, 36-second program that features notes from Carnahan, series creator Stephen J. Cannell, producers Jules Daly and Iain Smith, co-writer/actor Brian Bloom, stunt coordinators Frank Torres and Ben Bray, weapons coordinator Rob Fournier, visual effects supervisor James E. Price, production designer Charles Wood, and actors Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Austin “Rampage” Jackson, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, and Maury Sterling. We hear a bit about cast, characters and performances, the flick’s tone/style and Carnahan’s take on the material, sets and locations, stunts and action, various effects, and a few other production issues.
“Attack” offers a pretty good mix of content and shots from the set. The behind the scenes material adds value, and the interview segments – while puffy at times – manage to present a fair amount of good data. Though not a great documentary, “Attack” satisfies.
We locate five shorter pieces under Character Chronicles. Overall, it runs 23 minutes, 11 seconds and it features “Liam Neeson: When a Plan Comes Together” (3:18), “Bradley Cooper: Fully Automatic” (4:07), “On Set with Rampage Jackson” (4:36), “On Set with Sharlto Copley” (5:02), and “The B-Team” (6:08). Across these, we get more comments from Carnahan, Neeson, Cooper, Jackson, Copley, Fournier, Bray, Biel, Sterling, Carnahan’s assistant Evan Nicholas, director of photography Mauro Fiore, camera operator Klemens Becker, and actor Terry Chen. The pieces look at cast, characters, performances, and related topics. Much of this falls into the fluffy praise category, but some fun moments appear. The Copley program goes for a profane jokey tone, while “B-Team” offers amusing improvs from Biel and Cooper. All in all, the featurettes have enough value to make them worth a look.
Visual Effects Before and After with commentary from visual effects supervisor James E. Price. It fills six minutes, 11 seconds with effects footage at various states of completion. We see how the effects fleshed out the original photography while Price tells us about the work. I like this kind of feature, and this one adds nice details.
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, the FX Channel and Wild Target. We also find the movie’s theatrical trailer.
Finally, a second disc throws in a Digital Copy of the film. As usual, it lets you move the flick onto a computer or portable viewing thingybob. Party down!
If you watch the theatrical cut of The A-Team, you’ll find a loud, incoherent action flick. If you view the extended edition… well, it’s still pretty loud, but it’s substantially more coherent, and the extra clarity turns it into a considerably more enjoyable romp. The Blu-ray presents good picture, excellent audio and a nice collection of supplements. A-Team isn’t a classic, but its extended cut offers a fun ride.