Blu-ray Review: TRAFFIC

John Mulhern

by: John Mulhern
April 26th, 2010

Blu-ray Rating: 2.5/5

Since this is an older film and most people probably already have their opinions on it, I will not be reviewing the actual film itself and instead review the Blu-ray set as a whole.

If anyone remembers the 2000 Academy Awards, they might remember a little film by Steven Soderbergh called TRAFFIC that took the ceremony by storm. Although the film didn't end up winning Best Picture (neither did Soderbergh's other film of 2000, ERIN BROCKOVICH), it did end up winning Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Benicio Del Toro, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay. But can a film that brought magic in 2000 do the same ten years later on its Blu-ray release?

Well, my answer to that question is pretty mixed. One of the disappointing things about this Blu-ray is that there was a feature- packed Criterion Collection release on DVD, yet the Blu-ray version has very few special features. I'm not what their reasoning behind this is (hopefully it isn't some sort of double-dip), but there are some nice touches that make it worth checking out for fans.

For those who don't know too much about TRAFFIC, one thing you should know is that the first cut of the film was over three hours long and was later edited into the slightly more friendly two-and-a-half hours. This leads me right into the Deleted Scenes section. There are 24 deleted scenes on this disc that come in at about 28 minutes; so it seems as though they included all the extra material that was cut out of the first version of the film. It's really good way to get a look at what the full version of the film was meant to be.

Also on the disc is Inside Traffic, a Showtime feature chronicling the making of the film. I've always liked it when HBO and Showtime make these inside looks because of their high production value and extremely informative nature. The feature Inside Traffic definitely exhibits those qualities and gives a good look as to what production was like on the film. Also, there are interviews with the actors and crew where they talk about what it's like working for Soderbergh; just as Soderbergh gives his own insight on why he was interested in the film, turning out to be a really solid feature for the disc.

The downside to both of these features is that neither were remastered to high-definition. Although this is a common phenomenon on home video releases, it's always disappointing to see. The premium price we pay for the film in HD should transfer to its special features too.

They did have a few tricks up their sleeve when producing this set though. Not only do you get the Blu-ray version of the film, but the DVD version is also included. Just like a Digital Copy, it is something that sets don't necessarily need but it is always appreciated. For anyone just getting into Blu-ray, this could be a major bonus because you can watch the film on any of your players.

With all this said, TRAFFIC on Blu-ray isn't perfect and some might want to wait and see if the Criterion version is ever converted to Blu. For any hardcore TRAFFIC fans out there who have been anxiously awaiting the film to hit Blu-ray, it's here... and it's pretty.

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