Invictus appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. While not flawless, the picture seemed more than satisfactory.
Sharpness was usually terrific. I thought a few shots seemed slightly soft, but those were rare and minor. The majority of the flick offered solid clarity and delineation. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws weren’t a problem.
Invictus opted for a natural palette most of the time, though one with a bit of a golden tint typical of flicks like this. These tones were consistently full and warm within the slightly stylized sensibility. Blacks appeared dark and dense, while shadows showed good clarity and smoothness. I felt impressed with this consistently attractive presentation.
While not as impressive, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Invictus suited the film. The soundfield remained restrained much of the time. A few scenes like those at rugby matches added pizzazz, but these were in the minority. Instead, the movie usually went with a general sense of ambience. Nothing challenging occurred here, but the track felt appropriate.
Audio quality satisfied. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music appeared lively and full, and effects were pleasing. Those elements came across as accurate and distinctive, though they didn’t exactly tax my system. All of this was good enough for a “B”.
When we hit the set’s extras, the main attraction comes from a picture-in-picture feature called Vision, Courage and Honor. This presents interviews with screenwriter Anthony Peckham, director Clint Eastwood, Nelson Mandela’s executive assistant Zelda la Grange, Presidential Protection Unit’s Linga Moonsamy, Head of Presidential Protection Unit Jason Tshabalala, producers Robert Lorenz, Mace Neufeld and Lori McCreary, Playing the Enemy author John Carlin, 1995 Springbok captain François Pienaar and wife Nerine, 1995 Springbok manager Morne du Plessis, 1995 Springbok/technical advisor Chester Williams, 1995 Springbok player Joel Stransky, sports coordinator Aimee McDaniel, location manager Peter Currey, editors Gary Roach and Joel Cox, visual effects supervisor Geoffrey Hancock, composer Kyle Eastwood, and actors Leleti Khumalo, Tony Kgoroge, Morgan Freeman, Marquerite Wheatley, Julian Lewis Jones, Matt Damon, Adjoa Andoh, and Louis Minnaar. Through their comments, we learn about the history behind the movie’s story as well as a mix of production elements like sets, locations, cast and characters, editing and effects, and a few other tidbits.
The movie-making notes are fine, but the history dominates this involving piece. I like the chance to hear from so many of the real-life people depicted in the film, and we get a lot of good background/details about that side of things. Those components help make “Vision” a high-quality extra.
One another good thing about “Vision”: Warner makes it user-friendly. A lot of PiP programs force you to sit through lots of dead space to get to the material, but this one lets you skip from one clip to another. There’s not that much empty air anyway, but this feature allows you to avoid any boredom.
Two featurettes pop up under Behind the Story. We find “Mandela Meets Morgan” (28:10) and “Matt Damon Plays Rugby” (6:49). In the former, we hear from Freeman, Damon, Eastwood, Carlin, McCreary, Neufeld, la Grange, Peckham, Kgoroge, Francois and Nerine Pienaar, McDaniel, Williams, Lorenz, Moonsamy, Tshabalala, Stransky, Currey, costume designer Deborah Hopper, prop designer Dominic V. Ruiz, location manager Patrick Mignano, and actor Scott Eastwood. Its title seems a bit off; while we do see Freeman and Mandela meet, most of the program looks at cast and performances, shooting the rugby scenes, costumes, props and historical details, locations and sets. It acts as a pretty good general overview of various production areas.
As for “Rugby”, it offers statements from Damon, Eastwood, Stransky, Jones, McDaniel, McCreary, Francois and Nerine Pienaar, Peckham, Lorenz, and Williams. It gives us a few notes about Damon’s training and performance. It’s a decent piece, but it should’ve just been incorporated into “Meets”; there’s no reason for it to stand alone.
In addition to a music trailer, we find a documentary entitled The Eastwood Factor - or an abbreviated version of that program. I reviewed the full-length 88-minute edition already, so I won’t dig into this 22-minute, 23-second excerpt in great detail. It shows Eastwood as he discusses some of his movies. I thought the long Factor lacked much detail, so a shorter version isn’t an improvement.
The disc opens with an ad for Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years. It also throws in a music trailer for Invictus, but not film trailer appears.
A second disc offers two elements. For one, it provides a standard DVD version of the film. Note that this doesn’t simply duplicate the DVD you can buy on its own; it’s a more barebones affair. However, it allows fans without Blu-ray capabilities a way to watch the movie until they do take the Blu plunge.
The second platter also includes a digital copy of Invictus. This allows you to slap the flick on a computer or portable gizmo.
In the hands of Clint Eastwood, I thought Invictus would produce a rousing tale. However, the film instead turns into a surprisingly plain affair; it keeps us moderately entertained, but it lacks much drama or excitement. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio along with a fairly nice set of supplements. Ultimately, Invictus stands as a decent film but it doesn’t work well as an inspirational story.