Oldboy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Nothing notably problematic materialized here.
Sharpness looked mostly solid. Some softness appeared in wide shots, a factor exacerbated by a lot of stylistic grain; that left the image less clear than usual. Those were cinematographic choices, though, so I found it hard to fault the transfer. Jaggies and shimmering stayed absent, while edge enhancement failed to appear. Source flaws were a non-factor, as the movie stayed clean.
Like most modern thrillers, Oldboy often favored a teal tint, though some scenes veered toward an amber overtone. Within their parameters, the hues appeared well-developed. Blacks seemed deep and tight, while shadows were decent; they could be slightly dense, but they remained positive for the most part. In the end, the transfer proved to be fine for the material.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Oldboy, it was also good but unexceptional. Even with a mix of action scenes, the soundscape never really impressed. Oh, fights and other set pieces added decent involvement and pizzazz, but I simply thought the mix lacked the level of activity expected from a flick in this one’s genre. The surrounds gave us positive reinforcement, but they didn’t really stand out in a memorable way.
Audio quality seemed fine. Speech was crisp and distinctive, with no edginess or other concerns. Music was full and rich, while effects came across as lively and accurate. The track boasted good low-end when appropriate. The somewhat restricted soundfield made this a “B” mix.
When we shift to the set’s extras, we open with The Making of Oldboy. In this 16-minute, 52-second piece, we hear from director Spike Lee, makeup department head Christien Tinsley, production designer Sharon Seymour, fight coordinator JJ Perry, Chapman/Leonard Ultra Maverick driver Dan Pilmaier, Chapman/Leonard Hydrascope/G3 technician Craig Rice, producer Doug Davison, and actors Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Michael Imperioli and Samuel L. Jackson. The show covers character/makeup and set design, stunts/fights, cast and performances, Lee’s impact on the production, and a few other areas. “Making” works better than most programs of its sort; while it comes with some fluff, it includes more details than usual.
Talking Heads goes for two minutes, 40 seconds as it involves Lee, Brolin, Imperioli, Olsen, Jackson, Copley, and writer/co-producer Mark Protosevich. They discuss a few story/character areas in this glorified trailer. Skip it.
Next comes the two-minute, 11-second Transformation. It provides thoughts from Brolin, Lee, Protosevich, Imperioli, and Copley. This one focuses on Brolin’s physical changes for the film. It’s pretty inessential, though it has a couple of minor insights.
For the final featurette, we go to Workout Video. This runs 49 seconds and simply shows a montage of movie snippets. It’s pretty worthless.
Four Extended and Alternate Scenes occupy a total of 11 minutes, 46 seconds. These include “The Tape – Alternate”, “Ramp Fight – Extended”, “Adrian Watched from the Penthouse – Extended”, and “Haeng-Bok in Bed – Extended”. Arguably the only good part of the movie, the longer “Ramp Fight” is interesting but the others don’t add much.
The disc opens with ads for American Hustle, Pompeii and Inside Llewyn Davis. These also appear under Previews along with clips for Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher and Cold Comes the Night. No trailer for Oldboy shows up here.
With an interesting premise, a good cast and a talented director behind it, the American adaptation of Oldboy should’ve been a winner. Instead, it never quite finds its footing, as a mix of poor choices and narrative issues leave it as a muddled mess. The Blu-ray presents generally positive picture and audio along with a handful of bonus materials. Not much about Oldboy succeeds.