White House Down appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not the best image I’ve seen, the presentation looked pretty good.
Sharpness remained positive. A few shots looked a tidbit soft, but not to a substantial degree, as the majority of the movie displayed appropriate delineation. I witnessed no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws also failed to materialize, as the film always seemed clean.
Here’s the most predictable part of the review where I tell you that the movie’s palette focused heavily on teal and orange. As tired as I am of those choices, I can’t criticize their reproduction here; within those constraints, the colors seemed accurate. Blacks also seemed more than acceptable, and low-light shots showed good definition. Overall, this was a very good transfer.
I felt more impressed by the strong DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Down, as the soundfield took advantage of its many opportunities to shine. The action sequences opened up the mix to a broad and satisfying degree. They used the surrounds well and formed a fine sense of activity. The handful of quieter sequences created a nice feeling of ambience, and music offered nice stereo imaging.
Audio quality was solid. Speech always sounded natural and concise, and I noticed no signs of edginess or other problems. Music was bright and dynamic, and effects worked well. Those elements seemed clean and accurate, and they presented very nice bass response. This was a fine track that merited a “A“.
Almost all the set’s extras revolve around its 13 featurettes. We find:
A Dynamic Duo (4:09)
The Beast (5:15)
Men of Action (3:43)
The Full Arsenal (4:47)
VFX Boundaries Down (3:33)
The Inside Story (2:53)
Presidential Treatment (4:28)
Lights, Camera, Heart-Pumping Action (3:24)
Roland Emmerich – Upping the Ante (5:08)
Crashing the Oval Office (3:49)
Drowning The Beast (3:25)
Recreating the White House (9:23)
Meet the Insiders (5:13)
Across these, we hear from director Roland Emmerich, producer/composer Harald Kloser, producers Larry Franco and Bradley J. Fischer, action vehicle supervisor Graham Kelly, Reel Industries owner/president Cyril O’Neil, production designer Kirk M. Petrucelli, producer/writer James Vanderbilt, technical consultant Josh Young, stunt coordinator John Stoneham, Jr., co-producer/visual effects supervisor Volker Engel, on-set armorer Paul Barrett, special effects supervisor Cameron Waldbauer, co-producer/visual effects supervisor/2nd unit director Marc Weigert, executive producer Reid Carolin, director of photography Anna J. Foerster, and actors Jamie Foxx, Channing Tatum, James Woods, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Joey King, Nicolas Wright and Jason Clarke.
In the featurettes, we learn about cast and performances, stunts and action, various effects, vehicles and weapons, sets and locations, story/script areas, cinematographer, and what Emmerich brings to the production. Even with about an hour at their disposal, the featurettes don’t give us a great look at the film. Oh, we do learn a reasonable amount along the way, and we get some good shots from the sets. However, the tone remains fluffy and we don’t get a ton of substance. The featurettes are worth a look but they’re not as strong as they should be.
A Gag Reel runs six minutes, four seconds. Does it show anything other than the usual goofs and giggles? Not really, so it’s a predictable collection.
The disc opens with ads for After Earth, Elysium, Grown Ups 2 and This Is The End. Previews also tosses in promos for The Mortal Instruments and Last Vegas. No trailer for Down appears here.
A second disc boasts a DVD Copy of Down. It includes four of the Blu-ray’s 13 featurettes as well as some previews.
No one will mistake White House Down for great cinema, but it doesn’t aspire to be anything more than what it is: a big, loud, fun popcorn movie. Down gives us a consistently breezy, exciting adventure despite its intellectual failings. The Blu-ray presents very good picture and terrific audio but lacks especially interesting bonus materials. Accept Down for what it attempts to be and you should enjoy it.