Dear White People appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pleasant presentation.
Sharpness was almost always positive. A minor amount of softness crept into a couple of interiors, but otherwise the image remained tight and well-defined at all times.
I noticed no issues with shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to appear. Print flaws also failed to mar the presentation.
People went with an amber-influenced palette that used teal for some nighttime shots as well. Within the movie’s color design, the tones seemed solid.
Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows demonstrated nice smoothness. This was a consistently satisfying image.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix of People, it showed scope expected for a chatty drama. This meant a limited soundscape without much to make it stand out from the crowd.
The party shots added a bit of immersiveness, as did a few other exteriors, but those instances remained fairly infrequent. Most of the flick came with ambience and not much else.
Audio quality seemed good. Speech was distinctive and natural, without edginess or other issues.
Music seemed warm and lush, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Again, nothing about the mix impressed, but it suited the story.
As we move to extras, we launch with two separate audio commentaries, the first of which features writer/director Justin Simien. He provides a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, autobiographical elements, cinematic influences, music, and interpretation.
While not a great nuts and bolts look at the film, Simien’s commentary manages a lot of insight. I like his nods toward the many films that impacted People, and he gives us a nice sociological view of the material. This becomes an engaging chat.
For the second commentary, we hear from Simien and actors Tessa Thompson, Tyler James Williams, Teyonah Parris and Brandon Bell. All five sit together for a running, screen-specific view of cast and performances, sets and locations, story and characters, and related domains.
I liked Simien on his own but this group chat works much less well. Despite the large number of participants, the track tends to drag semi-often and it lacks a lot of useful information. Though this never becomes a terrible chat, it fails to tell us much of value.
A featurette called The Making of Dear White People goes for 20 minutes, nine seconds and includes comments from Simien, Thompson, Williams, Bell, Parris, producers Angel Perez, Julia Lebedev, Lena Waithe and Ann Le and executive producer Stephanie Allain.
It covers the movie’s path to the screen, story/characters, cast and performances, Simien’s impact on the production, and artist Nikkolas Smith. The show’s view of the movie’s roots and development works well, but much of the remaining piece does little more than praise Simien, so it becomes a bit tedious as it goes.
Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of two minutes, 36 seconds. The first shows the integration of new white residents into Armstrong-Parker, while the second gives us some bonding between Troy and Lionel and the third reveals more of Coco’s reality show. All three seem interesting but none stand out as essential.
We also find a collection of Outtakes. This reel runs five minutes, eight seconds and brings a pretty standard collection of goofs and giggles. It’s pretty forgettable.
Next comes a music video for “Get Your Life” by Caught a Ghost. Directed by Simien, the video features the cast of People.
Those factors make the video more intriguing than most, but it never actually becomes all that interesting. The song leaves me cold as well.
A few quirky clips follow. The More You Know (About Black People takes up five minutes, nine seconds and delivers 10 comedic comments about black stereotypes. They’re amusing.
With the two-minute, 57-second Racism Insurance, we see three fake commercials that parody State Farm promos. Like “More You Know”, these offer fun moments.
DVRSE App: Black Friends When You Need Them takes up two minutes, 56 seconds. It promotes an app that adds black people to white folks’ photos to make them more “interesting”. It’s another entertaining reel.
Lastly, Leaked: Banned Winchester U Diversity occupies two minutes, 21 seconds. It shows Winchester’s attempts to promote itself as ethnically broad. This feels like the least interesting of the bunch.
The disc opens with ads for Addicted, Frankie & Alice, and Middle of Nowhere. No trailer for People appears here.
As a debut film, Dear White People shows Justin Simien’s potential, but as a finished product, it lacks coherence and polish. While the movie comes with a mix of lively scenes, the end result fails to come together. The Blu-ray boasts solid picture quality along with adequate audio and a generally good set of supplements. Truth be told, the TV version of People becomes the superior take on this material.