It’s hard to believe Anderson was a mere 26 years old during the shooting of Boogie Nights. It’s an early career masterpiece for an auteur who’s gone on to carve out quite a filmography for himself.
The Blu-ray Disc
Boogie Nights is presented in 1080p high definition with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Anderson’s textured photography looks positively breathtaking here, with a presentation that is deep, rich, and vivid. Anderson’s excellent ’70s set pieces — check out the neon-fueled nightclub or Horner’s massive outdoor pool parties for some great examples — seethe with color. Even the 16mm interludes in the film are impressive, with a heavy grain structure and deep color palette that evokes the era perfectly. Skin tones are consistent throughout, and sharpness and clarity never wavers. With the source material Anderson provided, anything less than a superb Blu-ray transition would disappoint. It doesn’t disappoint.
The audio is presented in Dolby 5.1 TrueHD, and the nearly wall-to-wall soundtrack of ’70s hits ensures it gets plenty of opportunity to prove its mettle. Dialogue, which occasionally overlaps a la Robert Altman (an obvious Anderson touchstone), remains clear and distinct even with multiple voices at the same time. The great sound design work present in the film is presented here wonderfully courtesy of frequent and crisp ambient sound.
All the extras are ported over from the previous DVD release, and while it’s not too impressive of a roster, they do offer some nice additional glimpses. Two commentary tracks are included — one with Anderson and one with cast members, including Cheadle, Graham, Guzmán, Macy, Moore, Reilly, Wahlberg, and Walters.
The disc’s chief extras consist of deleted and extended scenes. Several are included in a feature titled “The John C. Reilly Files,” which provide an opportunity to see the actor’s love for improvisation, but are unfortunately of terrible picture quality. Other deleted scenes — about 30 minutes worth — are much clearer and include optional commentary by Anderson. A music video by Michael Penn with Anderson commentary and the theatrical trailer are also included. All extras are in standard def.
The Bottom Line
P.T. Anderson is a treasure in modern American cinema, and he was already such after his first two films. With its beautiful Blu-ray presentation, Boogie Nights is an easy recommendation.