Baby Driver (Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 1-Nov-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Audio Commentary-Writer / director Edgar Wright
Audio Commentary-Writer / director Edgar Wright and DP Bill Pope
Deleted Scenes-Extended & Deleted Scenes x 11 (20:28)
Featurette-That’s My Baby: Edgar Wright (9:18)
Featurette-Mozart in a Go-Kart: Ansel Drives (5:52)
Featurette-I Need a Killer Track: The Music (6:14)
Episode Introductions-Meet Your New Crew: Doc’s Gang (10:55)
Featurette-Find Something Funky on There: The Choreography (6:08)
Featurette-Devil Behind the Wheel: The Car Chases (6:46)
Storyboards-Selected Scene Animatics (35:42)
Featurette-Rehearsals & Pre-Production (17:03)
Music Video-"Blue Song" by Mint Royale (4:15)
Storyboards-Complete Storyboard Gallery
Theatrical Trailer-Promos and More; 18 trailers and TV spots (21:10)
Trailer-x 2 for other films
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 112:39
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,4 Directed By Edgar Wright
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Ansel Elgort
Lily James
Kevin Spacey
Jon Hamm
Jamie Foxx
Jon Bernthal
Michael “Flea” Balzary
Eiza Gonzalez
Lanny Joon

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Steven Price


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovenian
Spanish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Baby (Ansel Elgort) suffers from tinnitus as a result of the car crash that killed his parents when he was young and so constantly plays music from his iPod to drown out the ringing in his ears. Baby is also a superlative driver, driving get-away cars in robberies organised by crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey); Baby is in debt to Doc, although now the debt is almost fully paid.

     Baby lives with his surrogate father, the deaf / mute Joseph (CJ Jones), and puts together music tapes partly composed of snatches of conversations he has recorded. His life changes for the better when he meets and falls in love with Debora (Lily James), a waitress in a diner he frequents, and Baby dreams of escaping his life of crime and going on the road with her. It seems that may be possible; Debora returns Baby’s love and Baby, with a successful job, repays his debt to Doc. But Doc has no intention of letting his prized driving asset go and Baby is forced into another job to order to protect those he loves. Yet, with a robbery team consisting of the psychopath Bats (Jamie Foxx) and lovebirds Buddy (Jon Hamm) and the much younger Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), Baby’s chances of a participating in a successful robbery and then escaping with Debora look extremely unlikely.

     Baby Driver is a film by writer / director Edgar Wright whose credits include Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). Baby Driver is not a comedy as such but it does feature irreverent humour, some fabulous stunt driving, dark glasses and a killer soundtrack. Indeed, more than other movies of recent release, even Guardians of the Galaxy, the music in Baby Driver is an extra character, and an essential part of the plot. The film is mostly told from Baby’s POV, and the audio in the film is such that the music he plays on his iPod through his earbuds drowns out the dialogue and effects; we hear what Baby is hearing. Thus in the pre-credit robbery and get-away, the song Bellbottoms by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the song Baby is listening to, dominates the audio with the screeching tyres, police sirens, engines and impacts muted in the background. This sets the tone for the rest of the film where, among others, songs by Queen, Barry White, Blur, Sam & Dave, T-Rex, The Beach Boys, The Dave Brubeck Quartet feature prominently while Simon & Garfunkel’s Baby Driver gives the film its name.

     The soundtrack is not the only thing Baby Driver has going for it. The car stunts, done almost entirely for real without greenscreen, are exhilarating, showing just what good stunt drivers can do with cars. There are no fake looking crashes, with cars flipping in the air like in some recent action films; instead the impacts are bone-crunching, and cars skid and power drift around corners. The gun battles are also loud and chaotic, a couple of them choreographed to the music playing in Baby’s iPod. The cast is great; Ansel Elgort and Lily James are a sweet, likeable and believable young couple, Jamie Foxx is suitably batty, Jon Hamm and Jon Bernthal (as another criminal) are compelling to watch while Kevin Spacey, whatever one might think of him as a person, can do deadpan evil with the best of them. Baby Driver is also very funny; the gag with the Mike Myers masks is a hoot.

     Currently on rottentomatoes.com Baby Driver rates a critics’ score of 93% and an audience score of 86%. On this occasion, the scores do not lie. Baby Driver is a treat, exhilarating, funny, very entertaining and very cool!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Baby Driver is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Shot by cinematographer Bill Pope (The Matrix (1999)), on 35 mm film, the depth of the frame is stunning. Detail is clean and strong throughout, in close-ups and during the fast moving driving sequences. Colours are bright and glossy, the red cars standing out, and can be luminous in interiors, such as the green in Baby’s flat, the primary colours in the laundromat or the stunning reds and blues of the climax in the parking garage. Some sequences are overbright, such as the flashbacks to Baby’s childhood; other times scenes are saturated in yellow light while others display lens flare. Blacks and shadow detail are excellent, skin tones natural, contrast consistent. Marks and artefacts were absent.

     English subtitles and English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available plus a huge range of European languages and Arabic.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio choices are English and Spanish DTS-HA MA 5.1, Czech, Hungarian and Polish Dolby Digital 5.1, English descriptive audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 using a female voice) and two English commentary tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0).

     As noted, music is a vital component of the audio track as, in essence, we hear what Baby is hearing through his earbuds. Thus the music is often loud and enveloping but other times, when the earbuds are partially taken out by Baby or someone else, the music becomes muted. When there is no music, and no effects, we do hear a slight ringing in the audio, reflecting Baby’s tinnitus. When the score is not dominating, the audio track is replete with engines, squealing tyres, vehicle crashes, reverberating gunshots and impacts. Dialogue is always clear and occasionally comes from the surrounds as a person speaks off camera and there are other panning effects as cars whizz by. The subwoofer was active adding depth to the music, shots and vehicle action. At the 2018 Academy Awards Baby Driver was nominated for best sound mixing and best sound editing (as well as best film editing). It did not win in any of these categories, but the nominations are an indication of just how good these aspects of the film are.

     The original score is credited to Steven Price but the soundtrack is really about the songs by a wide range of artists including The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Commodores, Carla Thomas, Martha & The Vandellas, Queen, Barry White, Blur, Sam & Dave, T-Rex, The Beach Boys, The Dave Brubeck Quartet and Simon & Garfunkel. Phew.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Start-up Trailers (4:42)

     On start-up trailers for Spider-man Homecoming (2:11) and Life (1:55) play. These two trailers can also be selected from the menu at the “Previews” tab.

Director Audio Commentary

     Writer / director Edgar Wright is an engaging speaker. He talks non-stop during the film, mentioning his inspirations and research, writing the script, the music, cast, his intentions in certain scenes, the locations, reshoots, sets and shooting in Atlanta. He adds some stories in what is an interesting, non-technical commentary.

Audio Commentary

     Writer / director Edgar Wright returns, this time joined by DP Bill Pope. This was recorded after the other commentary as Wright refers to it quite a few times, and is a bit more technical, but not overly so. Wright and Pope have made a number of films together and they have an easy, humorous rapport as they provide anecdotes about the shoot and the cast, talk about shutting down streets in Atlanta, locations, stunts, pick-ups, shooting using 35 mm film and anamorphic lenses, lighting set-ups and which bits of scenes were shot digitally or where green-screen was used (they state that 90% of the driving stunts were done for real). This is a decent commentary and is certainly worth a listen.

Extended & Deleted Scenes (20:28)

     There are eleven deleted / extended scenes that can be selected individually or there is a play all option. In keeping with how important music is to the film, after each scene a text screen gives details of the song that played during that scene. The scenes are:

.

Behind the Scenes (45:15)

     This consists of six sections; they can be selected individually or there is a play all option. Taken together, this is a decent making of; the sections consist of film clips, lots of on set and behind the scenes footage and comments by writer / director Edgar Wright, cast Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Michael “Flea” Balzary, Eiza Gonzalez and Lanny Joon, DP Bill Pope, choreographer Ryan Heffington, stunt driver Jeremy Fry, the production designer, location manager, costume designer, the stunt coordinator, 2nd unit director and special effects coordinator. The sections are:

     That’s My Baby: Edgar Wright (9:18): A general overview of the project, including how the film came about, the early storyboards, the music and the working methods of Wright.

     Mozart in a Go-Kart: Ansel Drives (5:52): Footage of Elgort learning stunt driving and honing his techniques.

     I Need a Killer Track: The Music (6:14): How music was the motivating factor and principal storytelling tool, and synchronising the action with the beats of the music, not the other way around.

     Meet Your New Crew: Doc’s Gang (10:55): An overview of each of the gang, their characters and personalities; Doc, Bats, Buddy, Darling, Eddie, JD and Griff.

     Find Something Funky on There: The Choreography (6:08): How the action beats, including gun shots, were choreographed to fit with the music.

     Devil Behind the Wheel: The Car Chases (6:46): A closer look at some of the vehicle chases and stunts, including the various rigs used to photograph the action, showing that most of the stunts were done for real.

Selected Scene Animatics (35:42)

     Animatics, live action and storyboard sections which can be selected individually or there is a play all option. They have some effects and the music. The sections are:

Rehearsals & Pre-Production (17:03)

     Includes Ansel Algort’s audition, the coffee run on-set walk-through and hair, make-up and costume tests.

Music Video (4:15)

     In 2003 Edgar Wright directed a music video Blue Song by Mint Royale that has a similar premise to the first heist in Baby Driver. This is it.

Complete Storyboard Gallery

     Hundreds of storyboards divided into Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. They are silent and do not advance automatically – the remote must be used.

Promos and More (21:10)

     Eighteen different trailers and TV Spots for the film. They can be individually selected or there is a play all option.

Previews

     The “Start-up” Trailers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Except for language and subtitle options releases of Baby Driver worldwide are the same. Buy local.

Summary

     Baby Driver sounds simple, and it is. It also tries to be cool, and succeeds wonderfully. Baby Driver is a delight; the music and action are spot on, the cast engaging, it is exuberant and funny resulting in one of the most entertaining action films of the year.

     The video and audio are excellent, the extras extensive and worthwhile, resulting in a superb Blu-ray package. Prepare to be entertained!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, April 09, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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