It may be a somewhat difficult position to take to suggest that the film is overly sweet yet the music is fantastic, but every time I watch the film that is the sense I get. Save perhaps "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," I easily and freely sing along with every song (without even needing the sing-along subtitles the Blu-ray contains turned on), but once the songs finish, I find myself shuddering slightly at Maria's upbeat naïveté and her ability to teach the children everything they may need to know perfectly right out of the gate despite her initial horrific fear and professed lack of knowledge about being a governess. The children's incredibly rapid turnaround from hating her to needing her desperately is also made with nothing more than a few tears at dinner and a song in the night. It is almost as though Maria is somehow imbued with Mary Poppins' magical abilities simply because she is played by the same actress.
Still, due to the music, Robert Wise's direction, gorgeous cinematography by Ted McCord (there are moments which appear almost as a travelogue), and Julie Andrews' presence, more often than not, The Sound of Music manages to bring a smile to the face of anyone in the audience. If only the songs continued without pause, I would find my feelings about it far less mixed than I do.
The new Blu-ray release of the movie, as with the film itself, is something of a mixed bag. While scenes that are well lit feature excellent definition, anything in the dark or when people are clothed in black lose nearly all of that definition. It is not that the textures aren't there, during one transition they are particularly noticeable, it is just that they don't show up. There are also some patterns on clothes worn by characters which cause the picture a great deal of trouble – they result in the same sort of visual fluttering as when one wears certain tie patterns on television. The visuals are free of defects, but there are simply too many dark shadows in which no details can be made out for it to be considered a superb transfer. The sound is a far better affair. With a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, every Rodgers and Hammerstein song rings through quite clearly and in an immersive fashion, virtually making one's home alive with, well, the sound of music.
The Blu-ray release is a three-disc set (one a DVD version of the film which also contains a featurette on a Sound of Music bus tour) is loaded with special features. The Blu-ray disc with the main feature also contains a commentary by Andrews, Plummer, Carr, Dee Dee Wood, and Johaness von Trapp; a commentary with Wise; the ability to skip to just the songs and to watch the film with picture-in-picture trivia/behind the scenes information; and two BD-Live pieces, one on the restoring of the film and one with Laura Benanti (Maria in the revival) talking about the movie. The second disc contains much of the standard special feature fare, including some previously released material about the film and Rodgers and Hammerstein. There is a virtual map showing filming locations, screen tests, interviews, and photo galleries. The highlight of this disc is something titled an "interactive 'backlot tour.'" This places the viewer within a virtual von Trapp family home with various clickable elements which provide all the normal featurettes (more interviews, behind the scenes moments, information about Rodgers and Hammerstein, etc.) one would expect to see. It is a cute way of offering the information and far more entertaining than the usual list format. However, it can also be very difficult to find the various featurettes within the tour if one wants to go back to them. Even so, the sheer quantity of information will please fans of the film to no end, although those truly in love with the movie may rather purchase the also newly available "Limited Collector's Set" which contains the three-disc Blu-ray set and a whole lot more.