Baby Driver – Blu-ray Review

“All you need is one killer track…”


When was the last time you walked in to a theater not expecting to get your foot tapping while watching the film? And please, don’t say La La Land. There aren’t many films that can pull the wool over most people’s eyes, and bring the unexpected: a non-musical film that actually happens to be musically driven. Many moviegoers who go into a high-charged heist film aren’t even close to expecting that strong vein of rhythm to be a part of their experience. That’s what happens with Baby Driver.

With Edgar Wright at the helm, the film is an excellent example of weaving a strong story narrative with an equally strong musical backbone. Baby Driver was an outstanding film that received critical praise all around, starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Lily James, Jamie Foxx and Eiza González.

Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.

This was a film that never missed a beat, giving a consistent rhythm that never seemed to stop. From the very beginning to its final seconds, Baby Driver has you encapsulated in the scene, while bobbing your head to the music. Wright, most notable for his Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, creates an entirely secondary character to each scene with his soundtrack, making his music as much a part of the plot drive as any. Along with a stellar cast, and freakishly awesome practical work with their car stunts, this film draws you in for one wild ride!

Movie Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Video

Baby Driver was filmed using a mixture of 35mm film stock and digital Arri Alexa cameras, and then the film wraps up with a 2K digital intermediate for home video. Unfortunately, some of the more abnormal color grading robs significant contrast from the image. Some of the black levels bleed into blues, browns, or grays. A clear example of this occurs during the dinner scene. Few scenes involve true black, thankfully.

The film has a slight soft look to it, as this was a decision by Wright, stylistically, resulting in a strong use primary colors. This is conveyed well in the Blu-ray, but not without its flaws. The use of strong color, in this format, results in equally strong noise. The video encoding can only do so much. When it works, the ratio between battling chroma noise while delivering rich saturation favors clean color. When it’s off, noise piles on to a point of obstructing detail.

Overall, Baby Driver does a decent job maintaining itself. The resolution given is consistent and high, giving us close-ups that showcase tight, sharp detail. The contrast is well balanced, and the style of the theatrical format of the film shines through. Unfortunately, it makes for a mediocre home experience.

Video Rating: 3/5 atoms

Audio

One of audiences biggest alluring and pleasurable factors of the film’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix is the supreme use of the music woven in with the action and dramatic elements of the movie. Paired with an active DTS-HD track, the array of screeching tires and throbbing engines work overtime to pan through the soundfield. Baby Driver understands its space, and uses it expertly in dispersing appropriate sound when intertwining dialogue and music. The film doesn’t become overly aggressive with its audio, but rather creates unique balance between all onscreen visuals, from cars to actors.

Instead of having a score, Baby Driver is loaded with a incredible mix of genre songs that rivals that of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The soundtrack revolves around every era of music, from Queen to T. Rex, James Brown to Egyptian reggae. The music flows effortlessly between each and every scene, as well as all 6 speakers with ease, and the LFE channel is given a workout with the films usage of mid bass. Each track smoothly plays when at full focus, giving that backbone that we talked about earlier a solid voice.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Special Features

Baby Driver‘s Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • Extended/Deleted Scenes
  • Mozart In A Go-Kart: Ansel Drives
  • I Need A Killer Track: The Music
  • That’s My Baby: Edgar Wright
  • Meet Your New Crew: Doc’s Gang
  • Find Something Funky On There: The Choreography
  • Devil Behind The Wheel: The Car Chases
  • Animatics
  • Ansel Elgort Audition
  • Annotated Coffee Run Rehearsal
  • Hair, Make Up & Costume Tests
  • Mint Royale – “Blue Song” Music Video
  • Complete Storyboard Gallery
  • Director Commentary
  • Filmmaker Commentary (Edgar Wright and Director of Photography Bill Pope)

Sometimes when you check out a Blu-ray and it has this many special features, they usually end up being duds and time fillers. Not in this case, however. Edgar Wright provides his solo thoughts and pairs with cinematographer Bill Pope later to make up two separate commentary tracks.

There are eleven deleted/extended scenes that last up to 20-minutes, followed by six featurettes, forming a 45-minute making-of. Some pre-production pieces and rehearsal footage come up next, with music videos, a slew of promotional material, detailed animatics, and outstanding storyboards.

Special Features Rating: 4.5/5 atoms


Overall, Baby Driver is an outstanding feature of music and movement captured on camera. Combined with the phenomenal cast and the out-of-this-world selection of music, Wright has found lightning in a bottle with this film. Unfortunately, the film’s visuals lack the presentation and perfection set by the soundtrack and special features. With the unique synergy of a dynamic story paired with an exquisite choice in music, it’s regrettable that this film is missing that third piece of the trifecta. The film is still an incredible work, and should still be experienced. Just don’t expect much from the visual presentation of the Blu-ray.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

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Eddie Villanueva Jr.
Eddie Villanueva Jr. 241 posts

A movie connoisseur of only the finest films, and an Encyclopod of geek and nerd knowledge. And if you know what an Encyclopod is, you're cool too!