Flightplan appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A fairly early Blu-ray, this one showed mediocre visuals.
Sharpness demonstrated the majority of the issues. Much of the movie appeared reasonably concise and accurate, but that varied an awful lot. Many shots were moderately soft and ill-defined.
No issues with shimmering or jagged edges occurred, and source flaws were absent. However, some light edge haloes crept into the image at times, and those impacted the already iffy delineation.
Flightplan went with a very limited palette, as it strongly favored heavy greens/blues, and those dominated the movie. Within that range, the colors were fine. They didn’t have enough variation to tax the image, but they looked appropriate.
Blacks were a little inky, however, and shadows tended to be moderately dense. Due to that issue as well as the sharpness problems, Flightplan occasionally seemed murky. This wasn’t a terrible transfer, but it suffered from too many concerns.
At least the Uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio of Flightplan was more consistently satisfying. The mix varied in scope dependent on the situation. A lot of the time, it focused solely on general airplane ambience, which meant a constant hum of the engines and small bumps and jolts along the way.
However, the track also kicked into higher gear during a number of scenes. Takeoffs and landings filled the speakers well, and the various action sequences on the plane also offered a lot of good information.
The five speakers blended all of this well and helped to form a strong sense of environment. The soundfields really aided the effectiveness of the movie, so while they may have been subdued much of the time, they were more than satisfying for this material.
The solid quality of the audio didn’t hurt matters. Speech was always concise and crisp, with no brittleness or other problems. Music was clear and lively, so the score showed good range and filled out the track well.
Whether loud or soft, effects seemed clean and snappy, and they presented excellent range. Bass response was particularly good; the track blasted my subwoofer with tight tones and never became distorted or boomy. The track nearly made it to “A” level, as it impressed me.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio showed a bit more range and impact, and visuals appeared a little tighter and cleaner. Even with its mushy side, the Blu-ray still worked better than the DVD – but not by as much as I’d like.
The Blu-ray includes some of the DVD’s extras, and we open with an audio commentary from director Robert Schwentke. He offers a running, screen-specific discussion that looks at the original script and changes made to it, telling the tale and many story issues, casting, extras and acting topics, location shooting, the airplane set, various visual effects, sound design, lighting and cinematography, and making the jump from independent films to studio productions.
Schwentke offers an unusually thoughtful track, as he digs into his decisions and choices with gusto and fleshes them out well. You’ll find little of the standard gushing praise for the film and all involved, as Schwentke instead sticks to the nuts and bolts of creating the flick. This turns out to be a very informative and rich commentary.
Two featurettes follow. Emergency Landing: Visual Effects runs seven minutes, 31 seconds and offers info from Schwentke, visual effects supervisors Gregory Leigey and Rob Hodgson, visual effects producer Henric Nieminen, and seditor Thom Noble. As expected, we learn about the movie’s visual effects here. It becomes a reasonably good overview.
Cabin Pressure: Designing the Aalto E-474 follows. This 10-minute, threee-second piece includes notes from Schwentke, producer Charles JD Schlissel, actors Kate Beahan and Sean Bean, production designer Alec Hammond, and director of photography Florian Ballhaus. This looks at the design and build of the movie’s airplane.
Much of it concentrates on Hammond as he leads us through a tour of the set. We also get some notes about extras and a few other elements connected to the set. It’s a tight examination of its subject.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray, we get a short film called “Jet Stream” under the Blu-Scape banner. This five-minute, 18-second reel gives us a plot-free view of life among the clouds from the POV of an airplane.
Why? I don’t know, as “Jet Stream” just feels like a screen saver. It’s dull and pointless.
Note that the DVD included a five-part documentary called “The In-Flight Movie”. “Emergency Landing” was part of this, but we lose the other four segments. Why? That’s another “I don’t know”, as I can’t imagine they couldn’t fit the remaining 33 minutes onto this Blu-ray.