Will Ferrell stars in a completely different kind of comedy than "STEP BROTHERS," in the "special edition" version of "STRANGER THAN FICTION," being released on blu-ray. Ferrell plays a IRS man finding out, along with the audience that he's actually part of a novelist's new work. His otherwise mundane life is thrown into histrionics, drama, comedy and ultimately powerful epiphanies for himself and "hopefully" the viewer. It's a complicated juggling act that director Marc Forster and writer Zach Helm, ultimately succeed with. While it's easy to compare the kind of idea to something akin to "THE TRUMAN SHOW" and "ADAPTATION," it's arguably better than those two, and more accessible. Ferrell actually demonstrates breadth to his acting abilities here, and the whole cast, including Dustin Hoffman, is great. Forster achieves a comfortable pacing and poignancy totally missing in some of his other work, and the film succeeds so much in some simples truths that are never-the-less thought provoking, it's easy to recommend this film.
SONY has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-2 blu-ray. Colors are typically subdued, although never approaching dull. Contrast is impressive, with fine detail in darker scenes. While nothing about the image makes it stand out as reference quality in comparison to many superior SONY blu-ray releases, at least the image never falls flat. It's a good looking blu-ray, but not great.
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix this time, replacing the PCM 5.1 mix of the previous blu-ray release. The mix is typically subdued, with most of it center channel focused for all important, perfectly audible dialogue. Some separation effects pop up sporadically, with a slightly immersive atmosphere during key sequences, but it's a pretty reserved mix. There is no discernible difference in fidelity between the TrueHD mix and the PCM mix of the previous version.
SONY has included various extras for this "special edition." All of the extras from the previous version(including so-so(dull)commentaries, are here, as well as 7(rather than the previous 2)more deleted scenes. Most are in high-def, but the few that are in standard resolution, look pretty bad. Trailers for upcoming releases are offered in FULL HD. If one already owns the previous blu-ray, the extras offered aren't enough to recommend, double-dipping. However, if one doesn't own the previous version, it's a great film, and this one would be preferred.