Director Steve Zaillian's scripts have always been hit or miss. He's written two, arguably "great" films, "Schindler's List", and "Falcon and the Snowman". Almost any director will agree everything depends on the script. So, it's little surprise that "ALL THE KING'S MEN" fails greatly to an awful, sluggish script. But, there are so many other contributing factors as well. The music is so "over-the-top" that it makes scenes already filled with self-importance, sink under its bombastic weight. The cinematography is self-indulgent, calling so much attention to itself, that it's laughable. The acting is over-the-top and inconsistent in scene after scene after scene after scene. Yes, it's too damned long!
There was no reason to remake the original "over-praised" film, unless it could be made better, and it certainly hasn't. Based on the Robert Penn Warren novel, it "loosely" depicts the rise and assassination of populist Huey Long.
SONY has provided a 1080p/MPEG-2 transfer with 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It's a clean looking transfer. Colors appear intentionally subdued with tints veering towards golden and orange. The contrast is turned up so much that depth is limited, preventing the image from having a jump-off-the-screen effect. In comparison to the dvd, detail is much sharper. This doesn't mean the dvd isn't stellar. It is. However, the blu-ray offers better overall detail in virtually every scene. The color quality is on par with one another, but whereas detail is sharper on BLU-RAY, it's disappointing to not have more depth, as has been found on many superior BLU-RAY releases. The blacks on both dvd and Blu-Ray are extremely deep.
SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for dvd and Blu-ray as well as a PCM 5.1 mix as an option on BLU-RAY. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix appears to be the same on both formats. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix offers some separation for the front soundstage, however surrounds are rarely utilized. The over-the-top score kicks in through all speakers, overshadowing dialogue at times. Fidelity is fine, however it was necessary for this reviewer to use subtitles on a couple of occasions to comprehend what Penn was saying over the music. The PCM 5.1 mix is preferred with better clarity and better utilization of bass.
SONY has chosen to provide some plenty of extras on the dvd "Special Edition", made up of several featurettes. While most are promotional with "behind-the-scenes" interviews and footage, "THE LEGEND AND LORE" OF HUEY LONG" is a great segment, offering more intriguing background than the film ever comes close to achieving.
SONY has chosen not to carry over "any" of these extras from the dvd for the BLU-RAY.