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Wall Street

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • 'Wall Street' critiques 80s greed with strong performances; Blu-ray's extras outshine its quality.

    Wall Street Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • 'Wall Street' Blu-ray offers a technically sound but visually unimpressive transfer, with a dim, flat, and dreary image bereft of vibrant colors or fine details.

  • Audio
  • Wall Street's DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack fails to deliver an immersive experience, with a narrow soundstage, poor side and back channel use, and overall bland audio presentation that lacks depth and clarity.

  • Extra
  • Fox enriches 'Wall Street' Blu-ray with insightful extras including Oliver Stone's commentary, documentaries exploring the film's making and legacy, intriguing deleted scenes, and HD trailers, maintaining a technical and emotional depth.

  • Movie
  • Oliver Stone's 'Wall Street' skillfully critiques '80s greed and the moral dilemmas of ambition through top-notch performances and a classic tale of excess.

    Video: 59

    The Blu-ray presentation of "Wall Street" leaves a lot to be desired, with its 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode offering little in the way of high-definition refinement. From the outset, viewers will be greeted with a picture quality that does not instill much confidence in its presentation capabilities. The opening title sequence is marred by a dim, smeary, and drab appearance with flesh tones that are noticeably off, skewing towards an unnatural red/orange hue. Despite being sourced from the same master used for a previously released 20th-anniversary DVD, the high-definition transfer does not mark a significant improvement, essentially feeling akin to watching a slightly enhanced standard-definition DVD.

    Technical aspects of the video presentation reveal a consistently clean source marred only by minor blemishes. The film grain present is managed in a manner that retains a cinematic texture without becoming intrusive. However, the colors presented throughout the film lack vibrancy, rendering the overall palette washed out and unexciting. Blacks and contrast levels are maintained with consistency but fail to deliver depth, resulting in an image that appears flat and two-dimensional. Details, especially in darker scenes, tend to blend into the shadows, leaving much to be desired in terms of clarity and texture definition.

    Despite being technically sound with no significant encode issues such as artifacts or major picture defects, "Wall Street's" Blu-ray video presentation can hardly be considered a standout among high-definition releases. It embodies a visually unappealing experience with its lack of depth, vibrancy, and detailed textures, making it one of Fox's less impressive catalog offerings on the format. Fine details and general objects maintain a basic level of clarity but don't expect the visuals to impress or offer more than what would be expected from an upscale of a good quality DVD.

    Audio: 57

    The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack featured on the "Wall Street" Blu-ray leaves much to be desired, presenting a peculiarly flat and uninspired audio experience that significantly fails to complement the film's dynamic narrative and bustling settings. The soundtrack struggles with creating a cohesive and immersive soundstage; spatial differentiation is minimal, with most audio elements being anchored to the center channel, resulting in a condensed and constricted auditory presentation. Notably, the bustling energy of Fox's office, a setting ripe for immersive background audio, is regrettably underexploited. Attempts at ambient sounds in scenes outside this primary locale, such as a restaurant scene, manage to incorporate some back channel usage; however, these are implemented clumsily, adding little to the overall sense of environment or depth. The sporadic musical cues that extend into the rear channels lack potency and fidelity, rendering them ineffective at enhancing the film's atmosphere.

    In terms of specificity, while the dialogue maintains clarity making it discernible without major issues, it often comes across as harsh, lacking the nuance one might expect from a premium audio track. The use of surround channels is disappointingly sparse; discrete sound effects from the rear are virtually non-existent, leading to an experience that barely transcends what one would expect from a basic stereo setup. Any ambient presence is faint and contributes minimally to creating an engaging auditory landscape. Additionally, the audio mix appears to prioritize the front channels almost exclusively; stereo separation within this limited scope is adequate, but this does little to salvage the overall lackluster sonic execution. The dynamic range of the track is merely passable with a notable absence of depth in both the lower and upper registers, failing to deliver the auditory impact or richness that could have elevated key moments in the film.

    The soundtrack’s execution on this Blu-ray release is essentially tantamount to auditory blandness. The minimalistic approach to surround sound, combined with an over-reliance on the center and front channels, undermines any potential for a richly layered or engaging audio presentation. Despite the technical capability of the DTS-HD MA 5.1 setup, the track operates with a stark absence of auditory flair or complexity, rendering it remarkably nondescript. The general mix lacks a distinctive clarity or vibrancy in music and ambient sound effects, which should have been leveraged to immerse the viewer more fully into the cinematic world of “Wall Street.” Consequently, what remains is an audio experience that, while not deficient in intelligibility, is marked by its inability to elevate or complement the visual storytelling with any significant atmospheric depth or texture.

    Extra: 65

    The Blu-ray release of "Wall Street" presents a comprehensive compilation of extras, catering especially to fans of Oliver Stone and the film's piercing examination of 1980s financial ethos. The centerpiece is an audio commentary by Stone, who combines personal anecdotes, notably about his father's influence, with insights into the filmmaking process, Michael Douglas's pivotal role, and the technical challenges of shooting in actual NYSE environments, despite occasional silences and narrative retellings. Complementing the commentary are two documentaries, "Greed is Good" and "Money Never Sleeps: The Making of 'Wall Street'," both featuring overlapping insights from Stone but enriched by diverse cast, crew perspectives, and intriguing reflections from real Wall Street figures, offering a deeper dive into the film's societal impact and realism. Additionally, a collection of deleted scenes with optional Stone commentary and high-definition trailers for other movies round out the package, notably missing subtitles and higher resolution options for some content, reflecting a mix of comprehensive archival efforts with minor presentation oversights.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary with Director Oliver Stone: Stone shares his filmmaking process and personal connections to the story.
    • Greed is Good: A documentary featuring cast and real Wall Street executives discussing the film's impact.
    • Money Never Sleeps: The Making of 'Wall Street': Looks at the making of the film with input from cast and crew.
    • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Oliver Stone: Offers additional context and extended versions of key scenes.
    • Theatrical Trailers: High-definition trailers for "The Devil Wears Prada," "Kingdom of Heaven," and "Phone Booth"; excludes "Wall Street" trailers.

    Movie: 69

    Oliver Stone’s "Wall Street" remains a potent emblem of the '80s, intertwining greed, ambition, and moral quandaries against the backdrop of New York's financial district. The film doesn't shy away from depicting the era's excesses, from oversized egos to big hair, all through the lens of Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), an aspiring stockbroker caught in the whirlwind of wealth and corruption. Sheen’s portrayal of Fox, a man torn between the ethical teachings of his father (Martin Sheen) and the ruthless business tactics of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), highlights the film's central theme: the battle for a man's soul in the midst of unparalleled greed. Douglas's Oscar-winning performance as Gekko is riveting, solidifying his character as the quintessential ‘80s antagonist with his mantra, "Greed is good." Despite certain characters feeling underdeveloped, the ensemble cast excels, bringing vibrancy to this critique of capitalist excess.

    Stone's direction and storytelling capture the zeitgeist of an era marked by financial speculation and moral bankruptcy. While "Wall Street" could occasionally feel preachy or overly simplistic in its moral dichotomies, it compensates with sharp dialogue, a compelling narrative, and a keen insight into the machinations of the stock market. The film’s technical aspects augment its thematic concerns, painting a glossy yet critical portrait of financial operations and their human cost. Its indictment of the era's ethics, combined with high-stake corporate raiding scenes, offers not just entertainment but a reflection on the personal and societal consequences of unrestrained capitalism.

    The movie’s climax, aiming for redemption amidst the chaos of ambition and betrayal, may tread into familiar narrative territory, but it does so in a way that reaffirms Stone's ability to balance didactic storytelling with mainstream appeal. While "Wall Street" caters to the dramatic and thematic expectations of its time, its enduring relevance lies in its exploration of timeless themes: ambition, integrity, and the complex interplay between personal and professional morality. Stone crafts a narrative that's as much about individual choice as it is about systemic failure, ensuring "Wall Street" remains a significant cultural and cinematic reference point long after its release.

    Total: 62

    Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" remains a poignant critique of the excessive greed characteristic of the 1980s, encapsulated perfectly by Michael Douglas's iconic portrayal of Gordon Gekko. The film delves into not just the mechanics of Wall Street but focuses on the moral and ethical corruptions of its characters, offering a nuanced exploration rather than a blanket condemnation of the financial sector. The Blu-ray release by 20th Century Fox, while noted for its comprehensive set of extras, leaves something to be desired in terms of the technical upgrade from DVD. The 1080p video transfer and lossless audio track, though faithful to the original source, may disappoint audiophiles and cinephiles seeking a significant improvement over previous formats.

    The performances from not just Douglas but also Charlie and Martin Sheen stand out, imbuing the film with emotional depth and complexity that transcends its era to remain relevant in contemporary discussions about corporate culture and economic morality. Despite its thematic endurance and stellar cast, the Blu-ray presentation's technical aspects—particularly the video and audio quality—do not mark a notable enhancement from the DVD version. The special features package is, however, a redeeming factor, offering added value for newcomers to the film or those without a prior DVD version.

    In conclusion, while "Wall Street" itself is an indispensable analysis of greed and compromise, the Blu-ray release may not satisfy those expecting a significant visual or auditory improvement. It is, however, worth acquiring for its rich array of extras and for those yet to own it in any format, especially considering its value at a potentially lower price point. For collectors and fans of the film looking for supreme quality in their home media experience, the Blu-ray might feel like a missed opportunity to truly elevate one of Oliver Stone's defining works.