Mr. Turner appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfying presentation.
Sharpness tended to be positive. A few shots showed a smidgen of softness, usually during interiors, where a lack of light led to a mild lack of definition. Overall, though, detail seemed good. I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.
Many period pieces opt for subdued palettes, and that was true here. The colors tended toward amber tones, though we saw other tones like yellows, greens and blues. These appeared fine within the film’s stylistic choices. Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. I found this to be worth a “B+”.
A character drama wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a dynamic soundtrack, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Turner fell into expected realms. We got some directional speech, and a few scenes – on the sea, in the streets, etc. – used the various channels well. Those instances remained the exception to the rule, though, so expect a subdued mix the vast majority of the time.
Audio quality satisfied. Although didn’t get much score, the music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed positive for the material at hand.
As we shift to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Mike Leigh. He provides a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, facts/history and liberties taken, cinematography and visual design, costumes and period details, sets and locations, music, editing and related topics.
With nary a lull along the way, Leigh provides a fine commentary. He discusses a nice array of subjects and does so in a lively, charming manner. He makes sure that we learn a lot about the movie and its subject in this informative piece.
Two featurettes follow. The Cinematic Palette: The Cinematography of Mr. Turner goes for 16 minutes, 45 seconds and includes notes from Leigh, director of photography Dick Pope, costume designer Jacqueline Durran, production designer Suzie Davies and actor Timothy Spall. They discuss visual aspects of the project such as photography, costumes and production design. We also get some thoughts about Leigh’s style on the set. “Palette” turns into an informative and enjoyable program.
The Many Colors of Mr. Turner runs 31 minutes, 50 seconds and offers comments from Leigh, Pope, Spall, Davies, producer Georgina Lowe, consultant art historian Jacqueline Riding, painting tutor Tim Wright, painter Charlie Cobb, art department assistant Jane Brodie and actors Paul Jesson, Marion Bailey, Dorothy Atkinson, Clive Francis, Fred Pearson, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Tom Edden, Jamie Thomas King, Mark Stanley, and Martin Savage. We get thoughts about Turner and his work, other characters, cast and performances, sets and design areas, historical elements, and additional production components. “Colors” complements “Palette” and delivers another satisfying view of the subject matter.
Called “Billiards”, a Deleted Scene lasts one minute, 10 seconds. It shows Turner as he sketches and interacts with art patrons. It seems fairly forgettable.
The disc opens with ads for Whiplash, Still Alice, Wild Tales, The Salt of the Earth, Saint Laurent and Leviathan. We also find the trailer for Mr. Turner.
With slow, deliberate pacing and a lack of much overt drama, Mr. Turner will likely leave many cold. However, I think it offers a fairly involving character piece that approaches the material from an unusual but satisfying angle. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture, acceptable audio and a few informative bonus materials. Turner ends up as a winning period biography.