A Mighty Wind appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. If you saw the DVDs for either of Guest’s prior “mockumentaries”, you’ll know what to expect here, for Wind looked almost exactly the same.
Overall, the movie presented a reasonably concise and distinct picture. Sometimes the image lacked great precision and definition, usually during wider shots. Still, the flick usually was detailed and sharp. I saw no problems connected to jagged edges or moiré effects, but a little light edge enhancement showed up at times. Print flaws demonstrated occasional examples of specks or grit, neither of which were major. The faux archival footage demonstrated more substantial defects, but those clearly were intentional to “date” the clips. The image looked moderately grainy at times, but as with prior Guest flicks, that came from the source material and didn’t result as a problem with the DVD’s transfer.
The film displayed decent but unexceptional colors. At times, the tones came across as somewhat muddy and less than concise. Most of the movie seemed to demonstrate reasonably tight and vibrant hues, but not always. Black levels showed no concerns, though, as those elements were deep and rich. Shadows came across as well depicted too, as the rare low-light shots seemed accurate. Ultimately, what you shoot it what you get, and the DVD of A Mighty Wind felt like it replicated the source footage fairly well.
More déjà vu occurred with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of A Mighty Wind, for it provided a rather low-key affair ala prior Guest films. The forward soundstage heavily dominated the proceedings. Surround usage mainly featured applause during the concert performance. The assembly of the stage also placed some worker activity in the rear speakers, but otherwise I noticed no unique audio from those channels. Music usually presented nice stereo delineation in the front, especially during the concert. That part of the film even added good directional dialogue when the Folksmen spoke. Effects also popped up from the sides with moderate frequency, and some decent panning occurred as well. Nonetheless, the soundfield lacked ambition and seemed very unassuming.
Audio quality fared well. Speech came across as natural and distinctive. No issues connected to intelligibility or edginess showed up, and that seemed especially important given the talky nature of the flick. Of course, music also played an important role, and the mix replicated the songs nicely. They seemed well-recorded and concise, with clean highs and rich lows. Bass response remained warm and taut throughout the film. Effects were the smallest element of the track, but they remained accurate and without flaws. Due to its minimalist nature, I didn’t think A Mighty Wind merited a grade above a “B-” for audio, but the soundtrack suited the material.
Chris Guest fans will also experience some déjà vu when they examine this DVD’s extras, as we find features similar to those of past discs. That means we start with an audio commentary from director/co-writer/actor Guest and co-writer/actor Eugene Levy. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. Those who listened to their tracks for prior films will know what to expect here, though their discussion of Wind seems superior to earlier pieces.
Mostly the commentary covers general production notes such as locations, various challenges, the development of the characters and situations, and attribution of various elements. We learn a smidgen about what inspired the film, but mostly the pair just offer tidbits about the flick as a whole. As usual, a fair number of gaps appear, and those who expect a lot of humor won’t get what they want; Guest and Levy provide a bit of dry wit but it’s not exactly a laughfest. Still, the track seems reasonably interesting, at least compared to the commentaries for Guffman and Best In Show.
Up next we get a collection of 15 additional scenes. These run a total of 22 minutes and 25 seconds and mostly feature new material. A few add to existing scenes, but not many, and we find three songs not found in the final flick. Don’t expect comic gold here, as the clips come across as only moderately entertaining at best. More commentary from Guest and Levy accompanies these bits. Long gaps prevail and they tell us only a little information, with the most interesting element related to notes about Paul Dooley’s character.
In the TV Appearances domain, we get four clips that partially comprise the faux archival material briefly witnessed in the film. Totaling nine minutes and 24 seconds, two pieces come from the Folksmen and two are from Mitch & Mickey. You’ll readily recognize the versions of “Old Joe’s Place” and “A Kiss At the End of the Rainbow” from the movie, but “In the Groove” or the “dramatic” guest spot from Mitch & Mickey on Dick Beyman – Private Eye didn’t make the final flick. All of these are fun, but the latter’s the most interesting. Additional commentary accompanies these snippets; the usual empty spots dominate, and we don’t get much useful information about the pieces.
Similar footage shows up in the PBN TV Broadcast of the Concert. This 22-minute and 45-second section presents all six songs seen in the film. Interestingly, this presents them as videotaped and doesn’t just show unaltered clips from the movie. Actually, most of them offer takes different from those in the finished movie, which makes the show even more useful. Oddly, it cuts out all of Jonathan’s introductions. It’s a cool extra that lets us see the performances in their entirety.
Yup, we get more commentary from Guest and Levy here. This track is probably the most compelling of the ones that go along with extras. The pair let us know the ins and outs of this special shoot and educate us about the differences.
The Bands adds some text material. This area includes short “biographies” of the Folksmen, the New Main Street Singers, and Mitch & Mickey. The movie already presents most of this information, but it’s not a bad place to locate it concisely.
A few minor extras show up next. We get the movie’s theatrical trailer as well as a Cast & Crew area. As with most WB DVDs, the latter just lists names and includes no actual information about the participants. The soundtrack spot offers a 35-second TV ad for the movie’s album.
A surprisingly robust collection of Easter eggs rounds out the disc. If you highlight “commentary” and click to the right, you’ll light up a guitar string. Hit “enter” and you’ll gain access to a few hidden bits. “Crew Pounds Hotel Wall” lasts 35 seconds as it shows how they shook up Mitch’s room. “Practice Shoot with Editors” runs 45 seconds and presents the crew as the do a dry run of a scene to synch it up later. Both are fun to see, and they even come with commentary from Guest and Levy who briefly explain them.
Finally, the Easter egg area gives us two “Newspaper Articles”. We briefly see shots of “Folk Musician Pummeled” and “Wha’ Happened Dumped” during the movie, but here we can actually read the text. It’s very cool to get this.
A gentle skewering of the folk music scene, A Mighty Wind doesn’t quite fire on all cylinders. The movie seems generally likable and amusing, but it falls short of the heights achieved by those involved in their previous movies. The DVD presents decent but unexceptional picture and sound along with a pretty good package of extras. I like Wind enough to recommend this DVD, but it remains a moderately disappointing flick.