With the exception of "THE IDOLMAKER", this reviewer has never really enjoyed a Taylor Hackford film. Hating to rely on cliche' , but succumbing, he's always been somewhat of an overrated "hack". With that said, this reviewer was pleasantly surprised to find "RAY" was actually every bit as good as the mass of critics exclaimed it was! Jamie Foxx truly "lives" and breathes his character here. There's not one minute during its (still too long)running time, that feels false.
The direction, script, acting and cinematography all blend together in making this one of the best "music-themed" autobiographical films of all time! Of course, the music is incredible and Hackford manages to include plenty of it, without ever leaving the impression it has been caricatured, even with Jamie Foxx taking on the actual reigns of pianist.
UNIVERSAL has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this release. The detail found in every instance is so superior to the impressive dvd, that this ranks up there with the best HD-DVD releases thus far! Colors are perfectly rendered and stable no matter what the design of the scene. Contrast is incredible, offering staggering definition of blacks and grays, no matter how dark the scene is.
UNIVERSAL has provided a DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS 5.1 mix, and as good as the standard dvd was, this one blows it away! While surrounds aren't aggressive, save for atmospheric moments(eg. concert hall sequences) the front stage is filled with separation effects. The music sounds wonderful and draws one back to musical sequences again and again! Dialogue is perfectly balanced and the fidelity is amazing.
All of the extras from the standard dvd have been carried over here. Although there's no way to watch the deleted scenes "re-inserted" as was possible on the dvd, they're here to be viewed separately. Two extended musical sequences are also included. The audio commentary with Hackford is included as well as short featurettes and the film's trailer.