Bullitt—Warner Brothers (HD DVD)
What’s amazing about watching this movie now is how trite it seems. From the car chase through San Francisco to Steve McQueen’s effortlessly cool lead as an insubordinate cop, it has all been done countless times. But what many people have forgotten is that this was the first time any of that had been done in any real way. The plot is almost inconsequential. This movie is about watching McQueen be the badass that he was—and one of the greatest car chases ever put on film.
Although the box says the picture is 2.40:1, it is in fact 1.78:1 (not even the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1). Regardless, the picture quality is terribly poor. It has a bit more detail than the DVD versions, but not much. It’s one of the softest HD DVDs I’ve seen. It’s also very noisy. The audio is Dolby Digital Plus, but in 2.0 guise. It’s not great, but I’ve heard worse. Most likely, it is as it was. Extras are what make this disc interesting. There are two long documentaries, one on the coolness of McQueen, the other on the history of editing. This is more interesting than it sounds, and it’s in 1080p. There is also a commentary track by the director and a featurette made at the time of the movie.
If you have the DVD and you don’t care about the extras, skip this disc. If you’ve never seen this movie, buy it.