God Bless America appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not great, the image was satisfying.
Sharpness was positive. A few shots could be a little soft, but the majority of the flick came across as accurate and concise. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes were absent. No source flaws materialized either.
Colors were fine. The movie opted for a natural palette that never dazzled but that seemed reasonably peppy. Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, though, and low-light shots were a bit on the mushy side. Despite some minor weaknesses, the picture was strong enough for a “B”.
I thought the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack was fairly average. Sound quality was generally good. Dialogue was natural and concise, and effects appeared reasonably accurate. Music showed nice clarity and range as well.
The soundfield was the track’s weakest link. It didn’t have much to do in terms of ambition and tended to go with general atmosphere. It seemed less impressive than one might expect since it has action elements, but the forward speakers dominated. They showed acceptable stereo spread at times but didn’t have a lot to add to the presentation, and the surrounds didn’t boast much material. This was a pretty mediocre mix.
When we shift to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait and actors Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr. All three sit together to discuss the film’s origins, inspirations and influences, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, camerawork and editing, and a few other production areas.
While not a great track, this one tends to work reasonably well. My main complaint is that too much of the piece just provides jokes, so we don’t find as much info as I’d like. Still, we learn a fair amount about the movie, and it goes down painlessly, so it’s a decent listen. Goldthwait even covers some of the complaints mentioned in my review; I don’t buy his explanations, but I was happy to get his side.
Deleted/Extended Scenes fill a total of five minutes. These consist entirely of TV segments not in the final film; we get a toddler-oriented version of Jersey Shore, a right-wing zealot and an extended take on Chloe’s birthday party planning. They’re consistent with the material in the movie, so they bring nothing new to the table.
In a similar vein, we locate two minutes, 29 seconds of Outtakes. It mixes goofs with some alternate takes/angles. As this kind of reel goes, it’s more interesting than most.
A featurette called Killing With Kindness runs 27 minutes, 34 seconds and provides notes from Goldthwait, Murray, Barr, cinematographer Bradley Stonesifer, and actors Jack Plotnick, Tony V, Bryce Johnson, Melinda Page Hamilton, and Joe Liss. “Kindness” looks at the project’s roots, story and themes, cast and characters, influences and inspirations, locations and camerawork, violence and effects. A fair amount of material from the commentary repeats here, but we get some good footage from the set, so that helps make it useful.
An Interview with Bobcat Goldthwait, Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr lasts 27 minutes, 42 seconds. Essentially they touch on the same topics discussed in the commentary and “Kindness”. A few new observations appear, but if you’re screened the prior two pieces, you’ll not find a lot of freshness here; on its own, it’s a good interview, but it just becomes redundant at this point.
After this we find another featurette. HDNet: A Look at God Bless America occupies four minutes, 54 seconds with notes from Goldthwait, Murray, and Barr. They offer a quick synopsis of the movie and we see a lot of shots from it. This delivers basic promotional material and nothing more.
Next comes a Music Video for “Roxy and Frank”. We see stills from the movie accompanied by an acoustic tune by Mike Carrano in which he encapsulates the song’s story. It’s not an awful tune, though it does sound like a lackluster acoustic Nirvana outtake. The video’s fairly forgettable.
The disc opens with ads for Marley, Take This Waltz, The Hunter and Apartment 143. These show up under Also From Magnolia Home Entertainment, and we get the trailer for Bless, too.
As a commentary on modern society, God Bless America could’ve delivered some incisive views. Instead, it drags itself down to the level of the culture it despises and suffers from rampant idiocy and hypocrisy. The Blu-ray delivers fairly good picture, average audio and a pretty useful set of supplements. This becomes a positive release for a brainless movie.