Review: Traffic Blu-ray

Traffic Blu-ray/DVD combo boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Steven Soderbergh | CAST: Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benecio Del Toro
RELEASE DATE: 4/27/2010 | PRICE: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $26.98
BONUSES: featurette, deleted scenes
SPECS: R | 148 min. | thriller | 1.85:1 | DTS-HD on Blu-ray side, Dolby Digital 5.1 on DVD | English, Spanish, French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Extras | Overall

Traffic movie scene with Michael Douglas and Erika ChristensenUniversal Studios Home Entertainment released three Blu-ray/DVD combo packs — Out of Africa: 25th Anniversary Edition, The Jackal and Traffic — but instead of containing the usual Blu-ray disc and separate DVD disc, the box contains one disc, playable as Blu-ray on one side and DVD on the other. Universal released movies with the same dual-format discs on HD DVD before Blu-ray pushed that format out of existence, but these were the first “flipper” discs for Blu-ray.

We tried Traffic in our PlayStation 3 on the DVD side first and found a nice simple menu and decent picture. Nothing fancy, but perfectly serviceable. At least it played.

We flipped the disc and tried the Blu-ray and found no problems. It played flawlessly, and the picture and sound were up to Blu-ray’s usual standard.

For Traffic, the sound is what’s most impressive. The picture looks good, sharp in the right places and nice color saturation, but director Steven Soderbergh’s grainy look for the drama film seemed less atmospheric and more like dots on the screen, at least on our 118-inch screen. A smaller screen might dilute that somewhat.

But with the sound, each gun shot makes you wince, and the deep grind of rubber on gravel crawls out of the speakers and up your skin. It accelerates the enjoyment of this tense drug-trafficking film.

We also tried the DVD side on our HD DVD player, the only non-Blu-ray DVD player we currently have hooked up, and it again played with no problems.

Traffic comes with the “Inside Traffic” promotional featurette produced for Showtime, which also was on previous DVD versions of the movie as well as an HD DVD version released in 2007.

But this Blu-ray/DVD flipper disc also has 26-minutes of fully edited deleted scenes, which were released before on the Criterion Collection version of Traffic, out in 2006.

Blu-ray’s BD-Live Internet access also is on the Blu-ray side, as well as the Universal’s My Scenes scene bookmark option and D-Box Motion Control for buyers who have D-Box-equipped seats.

The Out of Africa flipper has the making-of documentary “A Song of Africa,” commentary with director Sydney Pollack and, on Blu-ray only, BD-Live and My Scenes.

And The Jackal features a making-of and commentary director Michael Caton-Jones.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.