The Fisher King appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A product of its era, this became a largely positive presentation.
Sharpness varied but usually appeared pretty good. Some interiors and nighttime shots could be a little on the soft side, but much of the film displayed nice accuracy.
I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to appear, and grain felt natural.
The film’s palette leaned toward earthy tones, with a reddish/orange slant much of the time. Within these choices, though, the colors felt appropriate.
Blacks appeared dark and dense, and shadows looked smooth despite the minor softness that manifested during low-light elements. Though it could show its age, the image usually fared pretty well.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it worked fine for its vintage as well. Given the movie’s ambitions, it didn’t always sizzle, but it packed a decent punch when necessary.
Music showed good stereo presence, and the various channels contributed solid engagement to the side and rear. Much of the material remained atmospheric, but the movie’s wilder scenes – like Jack’s introduction to Parry – managed to open up the side and rear speakers in a moderate manner.
Audio quality also seemed fine. Speech was reasonably natural and concise, while music showed acceptable pep and clarity.
Effects brought us accurate enough material, though some mild distortion cropped up at times. The soundtrack held up well over the last 32 years.
As we shift toward extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Terry Gilliam. Recorded for a 1991 laserdisc, he offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and the screenplay, cast and performances, sets and locations, costumes and production design, music, editing and connected domains.
If I looked at my reviews, maybe I’d find a Gilliam commentary that bored me. I can’t think of any, though, and this one doesn’t deviate from that pattern.
As always, Gilliam provides frank and insightful. He gets into a good array of subjects and delivers a consistently informative and engaging discussion.
Six Deleted Scenes follow. We get “Jack and Sondra’s Love Life” (1:06), “Lydia Dances” (1:33), “Jack Locates Lydia” (1:45), “Beth, Jack’s New Girl” (2:37), “Jack Revisits Parry’s Friends” (1:47) and “Jack Hallucinates” (1:05).
These tend to feel largely superfluous. Some added character material and exposition materializes, but none of the clips seem especially valuable.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Gilliam. He doesn’t offer the most detailed notes, but he gives us info about the sequences and why he cut them.
Split into two parts, The Tale of The Fisher King spans a total of one hour, 25 seconds. It involves Gilliam, screenwriter Richard LaGravenese, producer Lynda Obst, and actors Mercedes Ruehl, Jeff Bridges, and Amanda Plummer.
“Tale” looks at what brought Gilliam to the film, the development of the script and its path to the screen, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, costumes, and some scene specifics.
Given the participants involved, one shouldn’t expect “Tale” to offer an all-encompassing view of the production. However, one should anticipate a rich look at the topics covered, as this becomes a terrific glimpse of the subjects at hand.
The Tale of the Red Knight goes for 22 minutes, 40 seconds and offers notes from Keith Greco and Vincent Jefferds. Those two designed the movie’s “Red Knight” and they take us on a tour of those elements in this informative piece.
With Jeff’s Tale, we find an 11-minute, 38-second piece that focuses on photos Bridges took during the shoot. Along with narration from Bridges, we see these during an enjoyable look behind the scenes.
Jeff and Jack goes for 20 minutes, one second and features Bridges again. As we see video shots from the set, we get insights about how Bridges formed his character. Expect another useful program.
Next comes Robin’s Tale, a 19-minute, 10-second Williams interview from 2006. He discusses his experiences during the King production in this moderately informative chat.
In addition to five trailers, we locate three minutes, one second of Costume Tests. These show Plummer, Ruehl, Bridges and Williams in various outfits. It becomes a decent glimpse of that domain.
The set concludes with a booklet. It mixes credits, art and an essay from critic Bilge Ebiri to finish the package on a positive note.
For the first time in his career, Terry Gilliam worked from a script he did not write for The Fisher King. This proves to become an awkward collaboration, as his signature style never quite meshes with the screenplay. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture and audio along with a nice array of bonus materials. King doesn’t click on a consistent basis.