“Dave,” Director Ivan Reitman’s winning political fairy tale, debuts on Blu-ray just in time for the election year. The high definition presentation shows some room for improvement, as does its special features package, though DVD owners should find the Blu-ray a satisfactory upgrade given its inevitable bargain bin pricing. Dave Release Date: September 25, 2012 Studio: Warner Home Video Packaging/Materials: Blu-ray EcoBox Year: 1993 Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1:49:53 MSRP: $19.98 THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES Video AVC: 1080p high definition 1.85:1 Standard definition Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 2.0 / Dolby Digital: German 2.0, Castellano 2.0, Spanish 2.0, Portuguese 2.0 Stereo Subtitles English SDH, French, German SDH, Castellano, Spanish, Portuguese Various The Feature: 4/5 Temp agency owner and sometime POTUS impersonator Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) lands the ultimate gig when the White House hires him to double for President Bill Mitchell (also Kevin Kline) while he’s busy with one of his secretaries (a fresh faced Laura Linney). When Mitchell suffers a debilitating stroke from his extra-curricular activity, Dave is called on by Chief of Staff Bob Alexander (Frank Langella) and Press Secretary Alan Reed (Kevin Dunn) to continue the illusion for a little while longer. They excuse their deceit by citing national security interests, but it’s really Alexander’s megalomania and appetite for power that drives the conspiracy. Though Dave is a willing participant at first, his inherent goodness and idealism eventually put him at odds with the venomous Alexander, and the Presidency begins to show a strength and vitality most thought impossible. The fundamental change in both the man and the office also draws the attention of Mitchell’s long estranged First Lady, Ellen (Sigourney Weaver), who not only sees through the ruse but eventually is touched by the man playing the part. Once the truth comes out, the two will join forces to bring trust and integrity back to the Office of the Presidency, and, in the process, their own personal lives. With its Blu-ray debut coinciding with the election year, director Ivan Reitman’s “Dave” is American political fantasy at its most charismatic, providing a dose of idealism to counteract the cynicism that tends to dominate politics in general. Telling a sort of “Prince and the Pauper” tale (but largely minus the prince), the film features charming performances from both Kline and Weaver, with Langella turning in an understated but no less chilling performance as the requisite evil politician, eventually undone by goodness. The film’s narrative arc offers few surprises, but then fairy tales seldom do; drawing inspiration from the genre, “Dave” ultimately appeals to the hope in our hearts more than the reason in our heads. Though part of us may scoff at the film’s unapologetic political idealism, no doubt we’d readily embrace it if we came face-to-face with such promise in the real world. Video Quality: 3.5/5 Presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer approximates the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 by filling the entire 16:9 frame. The image features strong color and inky black levels, though flesh tones can often look pink or over warm. Contrast can also look a touch compressed, giving some scenes an unwelcome “thickness.” Low key background areas also exhibit swaths of noise at times, with sometimes heavy grain generating a bit of a stew. Though there’s no excessive use of noise reduction measures, resolution can be lacking in wider shots, and close-ups, while sufficiently detailed, can have a noticeable digital quality. Overall, it’s a satisfactory transfer, though one that could stand to be more film-like. Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Dialogue in the 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently clear, detailed and intelligible. Surround activity and LFE are non-existent in the dialogue-driven feature, though the track exhibits strong channel separation and dynamic range throughout. Upper frequencies in particular have great detail, the orchestral score sounding silky smooth and crystal clear. Special Features: 1/5 Making of Dave (6:36, SD): The vintage electronic press kit includes the requisite plot synopsis, on-set interviews, and footage from behind-the-scenes. Original Theatrical Trailer (2:10, SD) Recap The Film: 4/5 Video Quality: 3.5/5 Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Special Features: 1/5 Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5 Warner Home Video delivers a satisfactory high definition presentation of Ivan Reitman’s entertaining – and practically inspiring – political fantasy, “Dave.” The bonus material is limited to just a couple archival pieces, though the release makes for a decent upgrade from DVD given the right (i.e. bargain bin) price point.