Bombshell – Blu-ray Review
Film Title: Bombshell
Release Date: 2019
Runtime: 109 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Audio Formats: Dolby Digital 5.1
Aspect Ratio(s): 2.39:1
Version Reviewed: Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Release Date: 3/10/20
Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Liv Hewson, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Allison Janney, Rob Delaney, Mark Duplass, Stephen Root, Robin Weigert, Richard Kind, Malcolm McDowell
Jump to Sections:
Movie | Video | Audio | Bonus | Closing | Screenshots
Full Blu-ray Tech Specs at bottom
“Bombshell” was a 2019 film, based on a true story/scandal that took place at the TV network FOX News. The film was directed by Jay Roach, best known for directing a blend of both comedic & dramatic films like “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997), “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” (1999), “Mystery, Alaska” (1999), “Meet The Parents” (2000), “Austin Powers in Goldmember” (2002), “Meet the Fockers” (2004), TV movie “Recount” (2008), “Dinner for Schmucks” (2010), TV movie “Game Change” (2012), “The Campaign” (2012), and “Trumbo” (2015). The screenplay to the film here was written by Charles Randolph, best known for writing films such as “The Life of David Gale” (2003), “The Interpreter” (2005), “Love & Other Drugs” (2010), and “The Big Short” (2015).
The story was based on a true scandal, as mentioned above, which unfolded in court cases filed against the former Chairman and CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes (portrayed here in the film by John Lithgow, pictured below). These court cases stemmed from a long history of sexual harassment by Ailes of his female co-workers, specifically staff, at the Fox News network. Here in the film, you’ll be narrated through things by a version of the former news anchor Megyn Kelly (portrayed by Charlize Theron), as she tells how things work, well past tense, worked, at the Fox News network. You will also see this story from the perspectives of two other female staff members, former news anchor Gretchen Carlson (portrayed by Nicole Kidman), and a fictional show staff member named “Kayla Pospisil” (played by Margot Robbie).
The film also includes some other fictional and real-life people that make up the staff there at Fox News, as well as their family, and lawyers. These include a fictional staff member named “Jess Carr” (Kate McKinnon), Megyn Kelly’s staff members “Lily Balin” (Liv Hewson), “Julia Clarke” (Brigette Lundy-Paine), “Gil Norman” (Rob Delaney), as well as Megen Kelly’s husband Doug Brunt (Mark Duplass), Roger Ailes’ wife Beth Ailes (Connie Britton), as well as lawyers Neil Mullen (Stephen Root), Nancy Smith (Robin Weigert), Susan Estrich (Allison Janney), Rudy Giuliani (Richard Kind), and last – but far from least – Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch (portrayed by Malcolm McDowell).
Movie Rating: 4 (out of 5)
“Bombshell” on its debut to Blu-ray is presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, just as it was shown during its theatrical run. This comes on a BD-50 (50 gigabytes dual-layered) Blu-ray Disc. To get rather a bit technical for a moment here, the film itself is using 29.3 gigabytes itself out of the 45.1GB total used entirely on the disc.
This movie was shot digitally in 2.8K resolution using the Arri Alexa Mini cameras and it then received a 2K digital intermediate master. You can tell here this was shot digitally, without me even telling you that, most likely, as it feels very much like a really, really well put together reality series or such. That comes much thanks to the amazing cinematography done by the DP (director of photography) Barry Ackroyd as well as the second unit DP (for New York) Chris W. Johnson.
The black level here is solid, very much so, and the color palette is as vibrant as the colors of the news network’s logo with wardrobe warn primarily by the leading female cast making things really pop in terms of the vibrance. Flesh tones here appear to be very accurate, even behind all of that amazing make-up, as you will see in contrast between actors in make-up and those not.
There’s a lot of detail to be found here, despite just being shot on 2.8K resolution and getting a 2K master, and you’ll see that all throughout in the film’s unique type of close-ups. All and all, this visual presentation in HD is impressive and worthy of a 4.5 rating for video.
Video Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
Audio here, on the Blu-ray of Bombshell, is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound – yes, I actually typed that correctly. And, yes, it’s 2020 and a new Blu-ray title has been released here by Lionsgate (for an Oscar-nominated film) that has audio in a lossy audio format like the AC3 (Dolby Digital) codec, a format first utilized in theaters back in 1992 and later on home video with Laserdisc in 1995. So, do the math, and realize that Dolby Digital, in general, is well over 25 years old and extremely outdated in comparison to the lossless audio formats of today.
This Dolby Digital 5.1 lossy mix is very lacking in terms of oomph. I found that I had to slightly balance the volume here (on my AV receiver) to make the dialogue, sound effects, and music all blend together, leveled out. The dialogue here is obviously delivered from primarily the center channel, and once you get your volume adjustments done it should sound pretty decent.
One thing that plays in benefit for this film is that it does heavily rely on dialogue and only features a minimal amount of unique music – sometimes just the sounds of female voices used to make a song (as heard in the trailer with the elevator scene).
This mix does as much as an outdated audio codec like Dolby Digital will allow it to here. It makes decent use of the rear canners, as well as a tad bit with the subwoofer here in its 5.1 mix configuration. All and all, it’s somewhat decent in terms of sounds – despite the AC3 format used – enough much to earn it a generous 3.5 rating for audio.
Audio Quality Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)
Bonus materials on this release, are all presented in HD video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
A DVD of the film in standard definition with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is included.
A Digital Copy of the film is included which is redeemable via Movies Anywhere, so you’ll be able to get it on a service such as iTunes, Vudu, and such.
The bonus materials on the Blu-ray Disc include:
- “No Easy Truths: The Making of Bombshell” 7-Part Documentary (1:34:08 – HD) includes a “play all” function and it is comprised of behind-the-scenes footage on set, as well as interviews with Charles Randolph, p.g.a. (writer/producer), Charlize Theron (“Megyn Kelly”/producer), Jay Roach, p.g.a. (director/producer), Margot Robbie (“Kayla Pospisil”), John Lithgow (“Roger Ailes”), Nicole Kidman (“Gretchen Carlson”), Robert Graf (producer), Connie Britton (“Beth Ailes”), Allison Janney (“Susan Estrich”), Amy Landecker (“Diane Brandy”), Kate McKinnon (“Jess Carr”), Liv Hewson (“Lily Balin”), Brigette Lundy-Paine (“Julia Clarke”), Rob Delaney (“Gil Norman”), Mark Duplass (“Douglas Brunt“), Nazanin Boniadi (“Rudi Bakhtiar”), Malcolm McDowell (“Rupert Murdoch”), Barry Ackroyd, BSC (director of photography), Mark Ricker (production designer), Ellen Brill (set decorator), Kazu Hiro (prosthetic make-up designer), Vivian Baker (make-up department head), Anne Morgan (hair designer), and Colleen Atwood (costume designer). The seven different parts of this comprehensive documentary are titled, like chapters, as follows:
- “Convergence: Genesis of the Film”
- “Quid Pro Quo: Charlize, Nicole, Margot, John”
- “Human Dynamics: The Ensemble Cast”
- “Breaking the Fourth Wall: Visual Design”
- “Layer by Layer: Makeup, Hair & Clothing”
- “A Unique Skill Set: Jay Roach”
- “Catalyst for Change: Parting Thoughts”
- Theatrical Trailer (2:20 – HD)
Overall, you get a 7-part documentary that serves as an extensive “making of” and totals up to a runtime of just two minutes over an hour and a half – almost the actual length of the film itself.
Bonus Materials Rating: 4 (out of 5)
“Bombshell“ was a very informative look into the whole scandal that took place at Fox News with Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment of females. It offers up some excellent performances from the leading ladies Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie, as well as John Lithgow – portraying Ailes. Jay Roach gives this film great direction and it manages to keep you watching, even if you know what did happen, it’s a look into it – as mentioned.
In terms of the video quality here on the Blu-ray, you get a movie that was shot digitally in 2.8K resolution and then mastered at 2K, and here presented in just a slightly lower resolution of 1080p HD (standard Hi-Def). It looks pretty crisp all throughout the film, and it has pop in terms of color, as well as a very impressive amount of detail to be found in almost every shot. This helps to really show off, not hurt, how this make-up looks used on a majority of the cast members.
Sadly, in terms of audio, this gets a lossy Dolby Digital (AC3) 5.1 mix that can handle the dialogue and all pretty well but seems to really struggle to do much with the occasional music. It’s nothing extremely disappointing but it’s just enough to do the film somewhat justice here in terms of audio.
Finally, you get some good bonus materials here that can either be played individually in seven different parts or all together, which totals up to near the runtime of the film itself – at just a little over an hour and a half in length. I have to say this is a Fairly Good Film but it has some Unbalanced Audio.
In terms of Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.5 (out of 5) for video quality
3.5 (out of 5) for audio quality
4 (out of 5) for bonus materials
Fairly Good Film / Unbalanced Audio
Blu-ray Disc Screenshots: