‘The Beaver’ comes to American Region A locked Blu-ray with a very good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio. As you’d expect, the colour palette matches the tone of the subject matter and isn’t really full of cheerful colours. All the same, it has a more realistic look than we’re used to from Hollywood studios - and skin tones, while more healthy than we’re used to seeing in the UK, still have that brownish, tanned appearance. The image is sharp with just a hint of film grain that never intrudes. As you’d also expect from such a recent production, the transfer comes from a very clean source so there’s no dirt or damage to spoil the Blu-ray picture. Contrast is very good throughout and we get nice, solid blacks in the night shots.
Nothing bad to report here.
The audio on ‘The Beaver’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround flavour which thankfully does not go out to truly immerse us in surround effects. It’s a lot more subtle, providing us with good clear dialogue from the centre channel and gentle ambient sound from the rear speakers. The main stereo pair come alive with the ‘French comedy’ score that help the movie avoid becoming a chore to experience and raise the spirits of the audience to a level that will ensure they will get the comedy elements. It’s a good, workmanlike mix that does not set out to deliver the blockbuster movie experience that would have ruined the whole movie.
Audio Commentary - Director Jodie Foster flies solo here as she explains the background to Walter’s character and how the beaver is different. There are many periods of silence but it’s an intelligent commentary that gives us the chance to understand the problems of making this kind of film from a director’s point of view.
Deleted Scenes (SD, 5 mins) - A couple of deleted scenes that just seem like extensions of ones used in the final film, but the one where Walter asks his assistant to pull the puppet off his arm is quite funny. Jodie Foster provides an optional commentary.
Everything is Going to be OK (HD, 12 mins) - Jodie Foster describes what she liked about the script and Mel Gibson tells us of his admiration for his director. In fact, there’s quite a bit of backslapping in this promo that uses interviews intercut with ‘on set’ footage and final movie clips.
The very recent Mel Gibson vehicle ‘The Beaver’ comes to American Region A locked Blu-ray with a very good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Taken from such a modern source, the image is clean with no print damage. Sharpness, colour and contrast can’t be faulted either although it’s not really a wise choice for demo material due to the somewhat gloomy colour palette.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio delivers crisp, clear dialogue from the front centre with gentle use of the surrounds for ambient effects while the main stereo pair perks up with the French comedy style music score.
The extras comprise a Director’s commentary from Jodie Foster, a production featurette and a couple of deleted scenes.
As a movie, it’s a very sensitively handled examination of how depression affects different people with some wry humour mixed in to keep it palatable for the audience. Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and the rest of the cast turn in very credible performances in a film that doesn’t totally suspend your belief about a depressed man finding salvation in a glove puppet. However, that doesn’t prevent it from being a very bold, brave film from director Jodie Foster.
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