The Bucket List—Warner Bros. (Blu-ray)
This film didn't seem to get much buzz at the box office despite the popularity of the leads. I didn't have high hopes going in because of this but really ended up enjoying this one. The chemistry between Freeman and Nicholson was great and this one had my wife and I laughing out loud quite a bit. The first half of the film is great and sets up the characters perfectly but I didn't think some of the journeys they took were as involving. But the director brings it back together by the end and tugs on the heart strings. Overall this is a heartwarming film ended up being a really fun ride.
Warner delivers a solid HD presentation that only falls a bit short at times. My only real complaint is the rather obvious and poorly rendered special effects that don't get any favors from this detailed presentation. The heavy use of CGI to put the actors in foreign hotspots is quite obvious and a bit of a distraction at times. Otherwise there is a lot to like here. Close ups reveal lots of fine detail and I was really impressed with the dimensionality of the brighter images. Colors are very natural with no signs of stylization or noise and contrast levels are never exaggerated.
Warner is now officially the only studio not supporting lossless audio on all titles going forward. For a studio that has always wanted to stay on the cutting edge of features for HD it is disappointing to see their hit or miss support of a feature that should be a standard for the format. Instead we're treated with a 640kbps Dolby Digital mix. The standard Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is still good but I just don't understand why we aren't seeing lossless across the board at this point, especially with Warner favoring lower bitrate video transfers. This film has some limited dynamics but the storyline doesn't favor a lot of sound design. Ambiance is handled nicely in the surround channels but the mix is a bit front heavy. Dialogue sounds natural in timbre and the track does a great job with imaging across the main channels and balances the voice work with the rest of the soundtrack. While I don't think the soundtrack suffered from the lack of lossless audio, studios should be delivering a next generation experience for BOTH the video and audio.
Warner has included a pop-up trivia track that can be turned on during the movie. There are also interviews with the cast, a look at the screenplay, a John Mayer music video and a feature on making the music video.
Rob Reiner had delivered a great emotional comedy here and I'm disappointed I didn't see this one in theaters. Both of the leads are great here and their back and forth's proved to be well worth watching. Recommended.