This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.
From award-winning director Ben Affleck, AIR reveals the unbelievable game-changing partnership between a then-rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division which revolutionized the world of sports and contemporary culture with the Air Jordan brand. This moving story follows the career-defining gamble of an unconventional team with everything on the line, the uncompromising vision of a mother who knows the worth of her son’s immense talent, and the basketball phenom who would become the greatest of all time.
For in-depth thoughts on Air, please see my colleague Payton Coelho’s review from its original theatrical release here.
Air comes to Blu-Ray with a sterling 1080p transfer which really captures the film perfectly. The color palette is natural throughout most of the film which captures the ‘80s aesthetic without being garish. There are significant pops of color in elements of the clothing, production design and environment. Black levels hold up favorably with no major instances of black crush present. Digital noise and banding present as only a very minor issue with this release. The amount of distinct clarity and detail present on this Blu-Ray makes for a rich viewing experience. Subtle details on faces are amazingly clear and fine texture such as facial hair holds up surprisingly well both in close-ups and long shots. This is a great presentation for a very visually nuanced film.
This disc comes equipped with an incredibly effective Dolby Atmos presentation that allows this world to feel completely three dimensional. There are elements in this track that are truly enveloping even though this story is far from an action-packed one. Sounds are appropriately rendered with precise directionality from the more bustling scenes to the calm dialogue-driven scenes filled with subtle inflections. Dialogue is presented perfectly clear without ever being overshadowed by any of the competing sonic elements.
The sound design of this film is not the most intense, but the implementation of environmental sounds are executed very effectively. You may not expect much from the height channels, but they complement with some overheard detail that makes the film feel that much more immersive. The mix brings this film to life with nice engagement of all the channels. The terrific soundtrack brings the right atmosphere to this film which comes through with nice fidelity. The low end is utilized well with certain sequences standing apart. Warner Bros. has done a first rate job with this one. There are optional English SDH subtitles provided.
There are no special features provided on this disc.
Air allows Ben Affleck to return to the director’s chair with an effort that is rock solid and rousing for a general audience. The narrative beats are familiar to anyone who has witnessed an underdog tale (or simply knows how the story plays out in a historical sense), but familiarity works when it is elevated with ambitious filmmaking. Affleck makes relatively mundane moments sing with the intensity of a thrilling action sequence, and it is clear the filmmaker is always getting the most out of his ensemble. The film may seem a bit more impressive since we just don’t get as many solid movies like this one from the studio system, but it has the goods to back up some level of praise. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released a Blu-Ray featuring a terrific A/V presentation but nothing in the way of special features. This is one of the better films from the first half of the year. Recommended
Air is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.