The Green Mile appears in its original theatrical aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. The movie came with a fine transfer.
Sharpness worked fine. The occasional slightly soft shot materialized, but these remained infrequent and modest, as the majority of the image felt accurate and concise.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and print flaws remained absent. Grain seemed light but natural, so I didn’t suspect any obvious noise reduction.
The movie stuck to a fairly subdued palette and generally presented a golden tone that imbued a vaguely "period" look to the piece. In any case, colors appeared accurate and solid with no issues related to them. HDR gave the hues nice range, though their low-key nature restricted the growth seen there.
Black levels seemed nicely deep and dark but not muddy, and shadow detail looked appropriately heavy but not overly opaque. HDR brought extra oomph and power to whites and contrast. This became a consistently appealing presentation.
While the film's Dolby Atmos soundtrack wasn't exactly an audio extravaganza, the mix worked nicely to bolster the action onscreen. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the soundfield appeared well-localized overall. Dialogue stuck pretty closely to the center, but effects popped up in their correct spatial zones, and the music spread smoothly to all the channels.
The best moments clearly occurred when the track moves into a more active realm, generally during the execution scenes, which featured some good use of all the speakers. However, even during the many quieter moments, the audio surrounded the viewer nicely with a realistic environment.
Sound quality seemed consistently solid. Dialogue always appeared warm and natural with no intelligibility issues.
Effects were clear and realistic, and music seemed bright and bold. Both of the latter aspects also featured some strong bass at appropriate moments.
The soundtrack to Mile did what it needs to do and did it well. It may not be the piece you'll use to show off your system, but satisfies.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the 2009 Blu-ray? Audio remained about the same. Though the 4K went with Dolby Atmos instead of Dolby TrueHD 5.1, the nature of the story meant the soundscape didn’t display substantial changes/growth.
On the other hand, the 4K UHD boasted clear improvements over the disappointing Blu-ray. The latter felt softer than it should, probably because that disc packed 188 minutes of movie along with well over two hours of video supplements.
Without all that material stuck on one platter, the 4K got a lot more room to breathe. Add to that the stronger capabilities of the 4K format and this turned into a substantial step up in visual quality.
On the 4K disc, we get an audio commentary with director Frank Darabont. He offers a running, screen-specific chat where he discusses how he came onto the project, story, script and adaptation issues, cast and crew, camerawork and design choices, sets and locations, music and song selections, working with animals, effects and technical elements, costumes, and other aspects of the production.
Along with all the details, we find some fun bits such as a reference to Darabont’s location scout encounter with John Frankenheimer and the use of the “Coffey Highway” to make Michael Clarke Duncan look even taller than his actual 6-5.
Darabont proves remarkably lively and chatty as he almost never comes up for air. He makes this an inclusive piece, as along the way, Darabont introduces us to the folks who recorded and produced the commentary, and he lets us know their tasks.
Darabont also calls makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero to get some info about that side of things, and toward the end, he checks in with both DVD producer Constantine Nasr and editor Richard Francis-Bruce. Darabont manages to fill all three hours of Mile with consistently useful and entertaining elements. This turns into a terrific track.
We also locate two Deleted Scenes. We find “Bitterbuck’s Family Says Goodbye” (1:03) and “Coffey’s Prayer” (2:33).
Don’t expect much from “Family”, as it offers only a short silent snippet, whereas “Prayer” gives us a little more of John prior to his execution and is moderately interesting.
We can view these with or without commentary from Darabont. He tells us a few notes about the scenes as well as why he cut them. Though he touches on these issues in his main commentary, he throws out a few more specifics here.
Test material comes next. The disc presents both Michael Clarke Duncan’s Screen Test (8:21) and Tom Hanks’ Makeup Tests (5:26).
The former lets us see how Duncan got the role, while the latter shows attempts to make Hanks into “Old Paul”. Both are good additions to the set.
In addition to two trailers for Mile, we discover a featurette. The Teaser Trailer: A Case Study runs six minutes, 44 seconds and includes notes from Darabont, producer David Valdes, and storyboard artist Bill Sienkiewicz.
We learn about an unused trailer created for the film and find out why they abandoned it. We also see the rejected ad at the end of this funny and informative clip.
Next comes Walking the Mile: The Making of The Green Mile, a 25-minute, 30-second featurette. We hear from Darabont, Valdes, author Stephen King, mouse stunt coordinator Boone Narr, visual effects supervisor Charles Gibson, and actors Michael Jeter, Tom Hanks, James Cromwell, Gary Sinise, Bonnie Hunt, David Morse, Doug Hutchison, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jeffrey DeMunn, Barry Pepper, William Sadler and Sam Rockwell.
“Walking” examines Darabont’s interest in the project and facets of the original novel, cast, performances and their interactions, Darabont’s work with his actors, set design, creating the Mr. Jingles scenes, and memorable moments.
“Walking” doesn’t shed a tremendous amount of light on the production, but it’s better than average for a program of its ilk. I can’t say I expect much from this kind of promotional piece, and “Walking” indeed seems rather puffy at times. That said, it gives us a decent look at the production and keeps us interested.
Finally, we get Miracles and Mystery: Creating The Green Mile. This six-part documentary lasts one-hour, 42-minutes, 54-seconds as it features notes from Darabont, Hanks, King, Duncan, Rockwell, Pepper, Morse, DeMunn, Valdes, Hunt, Jeter, Hutchison, Cromwell, Gibson, Narr, novelist and critic Kim Newman, Creepshows: The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Guide author Stephen Jones, artist Berni Wrightson, novelist Peter Straub, author/screenwriter David J. Schow, filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan, writer William Goldman, acting coach Larry Moss, production designer Terence Marsh, director of photography David Tattersall, costume designer Karyn Wagner, special makeup effects supervisor Greg Nicotero, special effects coordinator Darrell Pritchett, mouse trainer Michelle Suffredini and actors Dabbs Greer, Brent Briscoe and Patricia Clarkson.
“Miracles” starts with a look at Stephen King and his work over the years as well as the development of Mile as a text. From there we go to Darabont’s interest in Mile and the adaptation of the story, casting and performances, and the atmosphere on the set.
For the last few sections, we dig into set and costume design, locations and cinematography, various forms of effects, and executing the Mr. Jingles scenes.
The greatest problem with “Miracles” isn’t the fault of those who made it. The show becomes redundant on more than a few occasions simply because Darabont covered so much of the same territory in his commentary. He explores many of the same issues, so inevitably “Miracles” gets repetitive at times.
However, I can’t blame the folks who made “Miracles” for that, as the documentary’s redundant elements are necessary to tell the story of the film’s creation. It’s not like they can dig into the production and omit the basics, so I won’t gripe about the repetition.
Ignoring that issue, “Miracles” presents a very good documentary. Unsurprisingly, the moments that don’t come from Darabont prove most interesting since they’re the freshest.
I particularly like the notes from Duncan and his acting coach about how they accessed the Coffey character, and the footage from the cast’s table read is also a lot of fun. The actors add a lot to the section about their performances, as they toss out many good notes.
We also find intriguing details about the “green mile” floor itself, locations, and other useful production bits. “Miracles” stands as a solid little examination of the flick.
The Green Mile offers an entertaining little fable. It takes too long to get to its conclusion and follows too many dead ends along the way, but I still feel that it works well as a whole, largely due to the presence of a fine cast. The 4K UHD offers very good picture and sound as well as a nice collection of bonus materials. This becomes the best version of the film to hit the market.
To rate this film, visit the 2006 review of THE GREEN MILE