The Liberator appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a satisfying presentation.
Sharpness consistently appeared strong. Despite a handful of slightly soft shots, the majority of the movie delivered concise, accurate images. I noticed no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and the picture lacked edge haloes or digital issues. Print flaws also failed to appear in this clean transfer.
Apparently orange and teal aren’t reserved for American movies, as they featured prominently in the Venezuelan-produced Liberator - though not to a ridiculous degree. This doesn’t become a Michael Bay movie, so while orange and teal shade the proceedings, they don’t dominate, and the colors seemed fine within those design choices. Blacks looked dark and tight, while shadows were smooth and clear. I felt pleased with the movie’s visuals.
While I like a lively soundtrack, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix of Liberator overdid it. At virtually all times, the movie used the five channels in an active manner – too active, in my opinion, as the back speakers became a distraction. Sometimes these choices worked fine, such as during a thunderstorm; those elements filled the setting in a satisfying manner.
However, too much of the mix seemed to feature audio for audio’s sake, and these decisions could appear illogical. For instance, a beach scene offered roaring waves from the rear, even though that made no geographical sense since the ocean remained in front of the actors.
The soundscape did calm down at times, as quieter scenes didn’t overwhelm us with material. Nonetheless, the movie simply seemed hyperactive in terms of audio more often than it should, and that side of it became an issue for me.
Audio quality was mostly fine. Speech remained intelligible but showed some sibilance and could sound more “metallic” than I’d expect. Music showed good range and impact, while effects were accurate and full. If the mixers toned down the usage of the surrounds, this would’ve been a more satisfying track.
Created for a Los Angeles Film Festival screening, we find a one-minute, nine-second introduction from composer Gustavo Dudamel. It’s not especially interesting.
A Making Of featurette runs 41 minutes, three seconds and includes comments from Dudamel, extra Henry Iza, director Alberto Arvelo, writer Timothy Sexton, producers Winfried Hammacher and Ana Loehnert, production designer Paul Austerberry, costume designer Sonia Grande, art director Benjamin Fernandez, set decorator Philippe Turlure, construction manager Daniel Souto, cinematographer Xavi Gimenez, line producer Jose Luis Escolar, soloist Pedro Eustache, editing Tariq Anwar, sound designers Jay Nierenberg and Jonathan Wales, visual effects supervisor Rafael Solorzano, and actors Édgar Ramírez, Danny Huston, Maria Valberde, Imanol Arias, Elisa Sednaoui, Gary Lewis, Carlos Julio Molina, Juana Acosta, Erich Wildpret, Orlando Valenzuela, Alejandro Furth, and Iwan Rheon.
The show looks at story/character/historical areas, the project’s development and path to the screen, locations, cast and performances, set, costume and visual design, cinematography, music, sound design, visual effects and editing. This turns into a fairly good look at the film, as it uses its 41 minutes well. We get a nice overview of important production issues and learn a reasonable amount along the way.
The disc opens with ads for Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, That Man From Rio and Jamaica Inn. We also find the trailer for Liberator.
The set finishes with a booklet. It features some credits and photos but lacks any essays or additional information.
Despite a compelling historical narrative, The Liberator fails to become a consistently compelling drama. It comes with good moments but lacks enough depth to make it work. The Blu-ray presents satisfying picture but demonstrates erratic audio and lacks many bonus materials. If you want a quick glimpse at the life of Simon Bolivar, you may like Liberator, but I think it remains somewhat lackluster.